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Mitch Hedberg 1968 – 2005

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The first time I ever heard Mitch Hedberg, he was talking about how he “wished he could play Little League right now because he’d kick some f**cking ass.” I continued to listen and he was convinced that “if carrots got you drunk, then surely rabbits would be f**cked up.” Mitch had a unique style of comedy that you either got or it just flew right over your head. Mitch was a regular on Comedy Central and David Letterman and will be missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to hear his routines.

It is unknown how Mitch passed away, as reports of his untimely end are just beginning to surface.

It sounded like Mitch had a lot of things going for him. He recently was on tour with Steven Lynch, which I was fortunate to see live at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Also, he just completed a pilot for a reality show on MTV.

Even though I didn’t know him, I felt a connection with his sense of humor and his overall skewed outlook on life. I can’t recall ever being this upset about the passing of a celebrity. It’s Mitch’s style that made him special and unique and for that he will be missed.

“If I had a friend who was a tight rope walker and one day while walking down the street he tripped, I’d find that completely unacceptable.”

“Alright.”

Goodbye Mitch, we’re gonna miss you.

THE LATEST: Mitch apparently died of a heart attack while staying at a New Jersey hotel. The cause of the attack has yet to be disclosed.

Mitch Hedberg’s Official Site

More on Hedberg here, here, and here.

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About Jeff Bakalar

  • Jenny

    are we sure mitch has died? it seems to me the only people reporting this was howard stern this morning. tomorrow IS april fools day. i’m suspicious.

  • http://asmallvictory.net michele

    Do you have any sources for this? This rumor has been going around since about 6am this morning and so far the only “source” of information has been Howard Stern.

    Not one source on Google News has the story. In fact, the only thing that comes up in the past few days on Mitch is this Blogcritics post, and his official website still has him playing in Baltimore tonight.

  • http://blog.robbygrossman.com Robby

    shitty

  • http://blog.robbygrossman.com Robby

    Not that my word means shit guys, but I can personally swear that this is true.

  • Bob

    Is this true? Or a rumor? Or an April Fool’s joke?

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Jeff%20Bakalar Jeff Bakalar

    I too was skeptical when I first heard. However the Comedy Central website (the first link on my post) has something about Mitch.

  • Jp

    ya still no news, whats the deal?

  • devon
  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Jeff%20Bakalar Jeff Bakalar

    I’d love to find out that its untrue but unfortunately it doesn’t look good.

  • red

    What are the chances of it being an April Fool’s joke? I googled it in news and aside from this site, Comedy Central and Stern no one has reported it as such. Maybe I’m just holding out hope.

  • Jp

    I am talkin yahoo news or msnbc, this would totally suck.

  • Monika

    it’d probably be the most unfunny april fool’s joke if it was…

  • Vern Morrison

    His official site says to contact Josh Lieberman at 310-888-2144 for booking information. I called that number and a man answered the phone saying “This is Josh.” I asked if it was true about Mitch and he said “yeah, it is.” I told him I was sorry to hear it and he said thanks. He sounded very grave to me. If it’s a hoax, then Lieberman is either not in on it, or is very unprofessional.

  • Greg

    Mitch’s website was updated as of today…don’t you think his own website would’ve mentioned it?

  • Timmy

    Fake..

  • Jp

    That call to Josh may have done me in, i guess the mourning begins, dear mitchell, good bye, ps. this is what the alphabet…. nevermind

  • JC

    Comedy Central is reporting this is true.

  • Bob

    “Comedy Central is reporting”

    Heh…

  • http://none Chris

    listened to sirius radio all afternoon. they are doing a tribute to mitch’s life and death. if it’s a fake, then they’re snowed, too.

  • http://www.morecowbell.net solace

    from joshsneed.com:

    My Friend Mitch

    Forgive me if there is bad grammar or typos in this post, but I’m writing with a heavy heart. It’s a sad, sad day in the world of comedy. Mitch Hedberg, arguably the greatest comic of our generation, has died. He leaves behind a loving wife, thousands upon thousands of fans, and a group of comedy peers who will never forget the impact he had on our business, and our lives.

    The first time I saw Mitch, I was sitting in the office of Go Bananas Comedy Club, my home club in Cincinnati. John Chung, the General Manager at the time showed me a tape of Mitch on Louie Anderson’s Comic Strip show. He said he was considering bringing Mitch to the club. That few minutes of watching Mitch changed my life. By the end of the set he had become my favorite comedian, and nothing has changed that to this day.

    When John decided to book Mitch, I begged and pleaded to let me be the emcee that week. And as luck would have it, I was also booked to work with him in Dayton the very next week. Two weeks back-to-back with my favorite comedian…it was surreal. That was April of 1999. Later that year, Go Bananas booked Mitch to come headline on New Year’s Eve, the biggest comedy night of the year, and I got to host again. That night, Mitch asked me if I wanted to come open for him in Grand Forks, ND for a special Valentine’s Day show. Of course I wanted to, but was skeptical if it would work out. A lot of headliners make a lot of promises, but Mitch was one of the rare ones who actually followed through.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    How… oh, damn, I hate this. I loved Mitch Hedberg. I’ve been stalking his site, waiting for a show even close to nearby. A neighboring state would have been alright.

    sad day. :(

  • http://www.dalecruse.com Dale Cruse

    Any word on whether he was killed riding in a car with Boston Mayor Tom Menino?

  • http://www.morecowbell.net solace
  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    don’t do the long links

  • steve w

    I don’t want to believe it either. Not yet convinced. But I’m still waiting for Andy Kaufman to make his surprise reappearance too…..saw them both perform.

  • devon

    here’s another site

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Jeff, very sad, it’s true, starting to pop up all over – our guys were just ahead of the curve

  • http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/11278099.htm chris

    confirmed by the minneapolis pineer press.

    Comedian Mitch Hedberg dead at 37

    BY MATT PEIKEN

    Pioneer Press

    Even family and close friends had a hard time understanding Mitch Hedberg, a St. Paul native who ran away from home and, despite living a scattershot life, became a runaway success as a standup comic.

    Hedberg, whose space-case persona was as much part of his soul as it was his act, died early Wednesday morning in a New Jersey hotel room. He was 37. A medical examiner hasn’t issued findings, but Hedberg’s family is told he suffered a heart attack. His wife was with him.

  • Rie

    Unfortunately, too many reliable sources are coming forward. Friends, etc. His wife, Lynn, and manager, Joel Pace, have confirmed, as have many comedians on the aspecialthing.com boards, under Mr. Comedy. Wikipedia is already listing it, as is Shecky.com. Apparently, the webmaster of his site is in LA and is not a close friend, so I guess they didn’t have the info when they updated this morning. I’m not really a fan, but know friends of his, and I feel deep sorrow for all involved. I know my friends would ask, “Why are you crying for someone you didn’t know?” I know people who loved him, cared about him…and it’s a tragedy, and an immense loss…

  • Katie

    I am skeptical also but other news sites are popping up and confirming his death. They seem credible but I know he is a joker.
    Article here found off yahoo.com

  • Pete

    I had tickets to the show at the improv. I called and they confirmed Mitch had passed away…..

  • Eric Olsen

    hey Jeff, great job, might be super to update with additional info, etc. This is very big news and you and Tom were there first.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    super?

  • http://www.sheckymagazine.com Brian McKim

    We had it up and confirmed at 9:35 EST.

    There are comments up there now.

    We expect a statement from a publicist and will upload it when it becomes available.

    Unfortunately, it is not a hoax.

  • Eric Olsen

    “super” in a purely self-involved sense. I’ve had a VERY tough week

  • Zombo

    Truly a great loss. I always enjoyed Mitch’s take on life…he will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    Jeff and I must have been posting this news at the same time. I checked hoping to see someone had spread the unfortunate news, but nothing had appeared at the time. No harm done – in fact, it’s nice to see so many people responding with kind thoughts. Mitch was a brilliant comedian, if apparently and unfortunately a slave to something that must have quickly gotten out of control. I’m sad that my only time seeing Mitch live was such a poor representation of his skills.

  • http://www.mitchhedberg.net Chris

    I thought it was fake myself, but its true. it sucks. saw mitch twice he was cool as hell and the funniest stand up i ever seen. sad hes gone.

  • shannon

    Mitch is one of my all time favorites. I am heartbroken

  • shannon

    His sites down now too

  • Rick

    Hmmm.. I wonder why his webpage says the account was suspended?

  • http://livejournal.com/~midnightglobe jmgz

    you were at the borgata show too?

    its been a piss-poor month for my heros… hunter thompson, robert creeley, now mitch…

    i cant wait to get to hell to finally meet these guys.

  • Shane

    I recently saw Mitch in concert. There wasnt a time in my life where i laughed so hard. Im not saying that just because im sad. I am saying that because it is true. The first time I saw Mitch on Comedy Central i fell in love with his humor. Mitch will truely be missed. R.I.P Mitch.

  • Ty

    Ditto. I’ve never been this bummed out about a celebrity dying either. MH was by far the funniest stand-up comedian I’ve ever heard. Deep sympathies go out to family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know him.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.blogspot.com Lono

    Rick,

    His site is probably suspended because of his bandwidth getting nuked by thousands of folks looking for details.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Jeff%20Bakalar Jeff Bakalar

    “you were at the borgata show too?

    its been a piss-poor month for my heros… hunter thompson, robert creeley, now mitch…

    i cant wait to get to hell to finally meet these guys.”

    It’s such a shame to see these people go. Unfortunately we cannot rule out drug use as a contributing factor to Mitch’s death.

    What upsets me the most is not being able know what he would have come up with next.

  • jenna king

    first, i just have to say that i have been extremely upset since 8am this morning when my boyfriend told me the tragic news he had heard on howard stern. it was strangely ironic considering that last night i had discussed seeing mitch this weekend at the baltimore improv with the author of this article. i googled mitch’s name all morning and when nothing came up, i was optimistic that it was a horrible rumor. however, after numerous articles have finally started surfacing through the internet, my saddness has been confirmed. mitch hedberg was one of my favorite comedians, and i had the honor of seeing him and stephen lynch perform at the borgata with a bunch of friends, jeff included. i really admired how he made you feel like you were actually having a stoned conversation with one of your friends, talking about the comedic irony of everyday life. it is too bad that mitch’s popularity never reached the height it could have, but i think that’s what made his fans so unique and devoted to him. jeff, i would like to end my lengthy comment by thanking you for introducing mitch to me during that long car ride back to school a couple of years ago…”i think pringles original plan was to make tennis balls…” that line will always put a smile on my face.
    *r.i.p. mitch hedberg*
    jeff i still can’t believe you are the author of this article, and i initially had no idea! good job buddy :)

  • caverat311

    Just another brick in the wall, here, but damn, I must say.. “Mitch will be missed” is simply an understatement. Many people I know and consider best friends share a common bond for the likes of 1 Mitch Hedberg, where the random delivery of the word “Alright” is sufficient enough to generate smiles across the room and even gather a few chuckles. That simple. That effective. That Mitch. RIP.

  • scott c.

    My girlfriend and I were scheduled to see mitch in richmond on friday… only 2 days after he died. I cannot beleive that this happened. I know it’s not a joke because fake deaths aren’t really that funny. I’ve never seen anyone pull it off anyways.

    Anyways, Mitch was a great inspiration to us. His comedy was smooth like good medicine. No political junk, no complaining, just him talking about nothing in particular, with an easy bass walk in the background. What he did was good for people’s health. It was brilliant. I am so sorry this happened. God Bless you and your family Mitch, and thank you for what you’ve done.

  • Maria

    I too have been depressed all day. My car broke down this morning on my way to court (of course not for drugs… not a mitch hedberg fan – ever!) so I was already having a bad day when my friend heard it on the radio. She didn’t know whether to tell me or not. I cried… I’m reassured to see so many people here express “I’ve never felt this way over a celebrity death” because I’ve been saying it all day long… but I think it’s because Mitch Hedberg wasn’t really a ‘celebrity’ in the Brad Pitt sense of the word. Mitch seemed like one of our friends.. I introduced him to all my friends who subsequently did the same, until we had our own mini-mitch-cult. He’s been my favorite comedian from the first time I heard “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to too.” and will always be my favorite.

    PS This is what part of the alphabet would look like if q and r were eliminated.

  • Mitchell Eisner

    its really sad, Mitch Hedberg was the funniest stand up comedian I’ve ever seen. He will be truly missed.
    It’s really sad and I wish it werent true.
    MITCH HEDBARG WILL BE MISSED!!!

  • Judith

    I have been crying all afternoon. All morning I was hoping it was a misunderstanding…or a joke. Why him? Why someone so brilliant and original and very truly FUNNY?!?! Its so random and senseless and stupid. Who is safe?!?! Thank you Mitch for making us think. I hope to see you again someday. Goodbye.

  • http://www.yumfactory.com Attaboy

    You were and are great Mitch.
    your honesty and accesability and brilliance wont ever go away.

  • Davin

    So sad, he would have made so many more people happy. RIP Mitch.

  • Steve

    If there is one thing I can count on in my life, it’s that once we’re plastered my friend is going to pull out a Mitch DVD or CD no matter where we’re partying.

    I still can’t believe I never got tickets to any of the shows he’s done out here- probably because I’m usually too busy getting drunk and watching his standup.

  • Grizzle

    Entertainers strive to achieve a certain connection with their fans. I’m sure doing so makes their job much easier. I’d say few entertainers fully get that connection, but Mitch Hedberg did. That must be why it feels like a friend has died, not just another celebrity.

    R.I.P. Mitch Hedberg 1968-2005

    – “If you are flammable and have legs, then you are never blocking a fire exit. You can write that down and put a dash in front of it, and put my name at the bottom.”
    Mitch Hedberg

  • Randy A.

    This is definatley the saddest news I’ve heard in a great while. I have never been really affected by the death of famous people. I imagine that will change as more stars of my generation start passing away. But I felt a real connection with Mitch. He talked about things that all of us have thought about at least once or twice, stoned or otherwise. He was a normal man’s comedian. He didn’t use fancy language and he didn’t try to make a bunch of ‘smart jokes’. He talked directly to everyone who listened. He was a comedic genious who’s talent went unrecognized by the right people. His humor will live on forever with his fans.

    “Please try again. An inspirational message from Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom and hope on top.”

  • Lisa

    Husband calls me and tells me Mitch died. I only know of one Mitch. Why? It saddens me. He was so talented. He was the only comedian who could make me laugh at EVERY joke. Mitch, rest in peace, alright?
    Love ya!

  • Ty

    “As a comedian you have to start the show strong and you have to end the show strong, those are the two key elements. You can’t be like pancakes – all exciting at first, but by the end you’re sick of ‘em.”

    You definitely weren’t a pancake, Mitch. R.I.P.

  • http://garagelandpix@yahoo.com Dan

    Off the Record…it wasn’t a heart attack.

  • http://www.davidterrenoire.com cosmic grappler

    There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of entertainers who could catch that last bus out of town and I wouldn’t feel much of anything, maye a little twinge of sympathy for their families. But Mitch Hedberg had something that, as another poster said, made a connection.

    Goddam, this is sad.

  • Eric

    Being a manager at a comedy club in ND, one in which Mitch was a frequent guest of, I had the honor of getting to know Mitch and his wife Lynn. Above being a great comic, he was a great person. His personality was electric both on and off the stage, and his heart was one of gold. My heart and prayers go out to him, his wife, and his family. Mitch, you will be missed by all, but the laughter you brought us all will live forever in our hearts. Thank you for all the good times.

  • http://masterson.freeservers.com Jeff Masterson

    I did my first paid road trip with Mitch. We split featured so that was 15 minutes each. We drove from Seattle to Eugene and we had to share the same motel room. We did alot of open mikes together up in Seattle. Mitch and his buddy Chard Hogan, me and my buddy Kermit Holiday. No matter how the audience reacted I always told Mitch he was great and I never knew what to say to Chard. One time I was emceeing at the comedy underground and Mitch told me not to get the audience to clap for him because he was mad, that was an awkward moment. Well, too bad he didn’t die on the stage, he would have liked that. But at least people can wonder “is this an April fools joke?”
    So Mitch, even your death was a joke, sort of, good timing my brother.

  • Mike

    Another young life taken by DRUGS

  • Diana

    Awwwww Mitch , I’m gonna miss you like crazy. I wish you had stuck around longer. You will never know how much all
    the laughter and smiles you put on all of our faces meant. I’m gonna go put on a turtleneck and walk around with a backpack in your honor. That was one of my favorite bits. You were awesome.

  • Chris D’

    I remember the first time i saw Mitch’s comedy central special and immediatly thinking this is the funniest human i ever seen. He instantly became my favorite comedian and one of my favorite people and i was privledged enough to see him perform a couple of times over the years. After the news I sat and listened to Strategic Grill Locations and Mitch All Together then watched his old Comedy Central specials. He was a comic genius and he will be missed. I guess we are all on this page for a reason, to mourn his death, celebrate his life, and talk about how we had the chance to see the funniest mother F-er of our time.

    “I’d probably be living in Costa Rica, eating oranges on the beach, if I wasn’t doing comedy,” – MH

    I hope your on that beach and the oranges are plentiful….Godspeed buddy.

  • http://lickmyjesus.com Zane

    This is absolutely devastating. Mitch Hedberg was an amazing comedian who felt like your friend, and I’m positive he’ll be more famous in a decade than he is today, living or dead. But I gotta admit I’m still skeptical. A New Jersey hotel room? Uncertain date? Right before April first? His website mentioning nothing but still listing future shows? And on one story his publicist said something to the effect of “call back next week.” If this is a joke, it’s definitely boosted him in search engines, but is cruel as hell.

  • Johnny Drako

    Few were closer with Mitch than Randy Kagan, who Mitch has been touring with “at the time”. Randy is the “go to” guy for a true understanding of who Mitch was.

  • Becky

    I just saw Mitch in Feb. he was amazing, and we will all miss him so much he was one of if not THE most talented comedians.
    I love you Mitch. My condolences to the rest of his fans and family.

  • Sean

    I’m gonna miss Mitch for mostly selfish reasons: There will be no more new comedy cd’s or performances. What a fucking loss. I’m still in shock. He was my favorite.

    …are you happy now? You fucking letter “X”!

  • Courtney

    Honestly, I wouldn’t care if it were really a joke. My grandfather told me Thursday, but I didn’t think he was serious. I’ve been a fan of Mitch for years; I saw him when he toured with Stephen Lynch. He was so nice. Just a happy guy. I’ve been making my friends sad by screaming about how I want to send his family some cinnamon incense.

    I tried to go into Target, but I missed.

  • Sean

    That Target joke is a great one too. The first of his jokes that really had me on the floor busting my gut was: DuFresne, party of three?

    I never got the chance to see him. :'(

  • Ty

    Yeah, there was something about him that was so human that set him apart from other stand-up comics and celebrities, not to mention his pure comic genius. Very self-effacing and vulnerable. It’s truly a great loss.
    Mitch, you will be missed “all-encompassingly”!

  • Awareone

    boy… if it does turn out to be a fake… they’d sure have fooled a lot of people… Not that I’d ever wish other wise… but I wish he was faking just to have pulled one over on everyone. Media included.

    Mitch… I dunno where you are… but you rocked the fooking world. RIP or LIP I dunno… but you’ll always be a cool mofo.

    Jim Bruer said that Mitches toe was about to fall off from Heroin injections. Thats not good.

  • http://wp.blogcritics.org Sean

    On Comedy Central’s website it sais that they will be showing his standup at 9pm, bet it will get the best ratings comedy centeral has ever seen. A kid told me in school and I thought it was an april fools joke. When it wasn’t I was shocked for the rest of the day. I am glad I got to see him in Portland but wish I could see him again. I plan on buying all of his CD’s, DVD’s, and see if I can find some of his t-shirts. This sucks.

    RIP MITCH

    “On a traffic light green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. But on a bananna it’s the complete opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead, and red means where the fuck did you get that bannana at?”

  • Jerry

    Here is one he would have liked.
    Why do the hearses get to go through all the stop lights on the way to the cemetary. Man take your time I am not in a hurry to get there!

    Mitch I am going to miss your humor and your style. Rest in peace and give god a few laughs

  • Sheri

    Ah, Mitch! I will miss his humor so much! What a loss. I had the good fortune of seeing Mitch four times.
    I remember being worried for days after the first time I saw him. It was so obvious he was a talented comedian (the best in my book) and he seemed to be a bit “out of it” which is always a bad combination. I hope he didn’t go out like that.
    R.i.p, Mitch, and thank you for the laughs.

  • Steve

    Mitch, I bought a donut today and asked for a receipt.

    I saw you laugh at me.

  • squid_monster

    Mitch’s next performance will be in Nirvana – if indeed there is such a place.

    Mitch and I spent our “worst Christmas ever” watching JFK and Bugsy at a theater in Bellevue, Washington — 1991. Our Christmas dinner ended up being 7-11 hot dogs. Uggh! I also witnessed a “bump” from a scheduled Letterman appearance when Pierce Brosnan went an extra segment — NY, Dec 1997. My prayers are for your wife, family and your closest friends, Mitch. Keep them laughing on the other side.

  • http://all-encompassingly.com/ doug

    A real sad time…

    My friend and I started a blog a couple years ago with Mitch Hedberg as our inspiration.

  • michael

    Have they ever ruled the cause of death for Mitch?

    Such a huge loss for all of his family, friends and fans!

  • http://chardhogan.com Chard Hogan

    Mitch was one of my best friends, he was my roommate for a few years and we started doing stand-up together. He will be greatly missed. We both started working as full time Comics after a van trip we took around the country in 1992. I still have all of our video footage from that trip. It’s really funny. We had a great time and worked with a lot of great comics along with a lot of not so great comics which always made Mitch laugh harder than the funny ones. I noticed Jeff Masterson has written in. It is too bad that he was never able to do stand-up full time. We never knew what to say to guys like that. Like he mentioned, it was hard to know what to say to Jeff either. His show was always so intense the audience would not know if they were supposed to laugh or not. They rarely did but that never stopped him. So, my hat is off to Jeff and others like him who persevere in comedy and take the opportunity to serve backhanded compliments to the peers of the person they are attempting to memorialize, all while trying to show their connection to someone who was so talented. He was my friend. Thank you for respecting that.

  • Not a fan

    I’m a big fan of comedy and comedians and I’ve been seeing Mitch on comedy shows and in clubs for years, and truthfully I think all this is totally overblown. Mitch was funny from time to time, but no genius. I think somehow the comedy world has just latched onto him as the latest posterboy for tragedy. If they’d really loved him this much he would have been a lot bigger or at least a lot more popular before he died.

  • ComedyJay

    Acme Comedy Company & RCM Entertainment are producing a benefit show on April 9th, 2006 in memory of Mitch Hedberg. The lineup is going to be great, as the best of comics and friends of Mitch take the stage to keep the laughter alive. More info to come in the upcoming months.

  • misty

    brilliant and missed