Splitsider

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The Depressive's Guide to Comedy: Laughing to Keep From Crying

Patton Oswalt


"A month with no Prozac: my depression was like a happy puppy running through my body… 'PUT ON YOUR BATHROBE FOR 8 DAYS STRAIGHT!' Ok, depression. I know I haven't done this in a while. Does this feel better? 'WATCH THE PRINCESS BRIDE 11 TIMES IN A ROW'… Oh, depression. This is the best day you've ever had."

Though many have tried in the last year or so, it's impossible to successfully crib Patton Oswalt's material — and not because it's all so intensely personal no one could pass it as their own. (Patton would just as soon riff on Paas Easter Egg Dye and KFC Famous Bowls as he would his love life and depression.) It's because when he's talking about something as mundane as Stella D'oro Breakfast Treats, he delivers the bit with the passion and conviction of a liberation edict. But Patton's not preachy and to diminish the quality of his writing would be criminal.

In the clip above, we're made to understand just how eagerly Oswalt's mind regresses to a depressive state while he's off his meds because he of his perfectly analogous comparison to a dog anticipating a walk by interpreting the physical cues his owner. To a lesser comic, the dog material would have been the entire bit. In an anecdote about a rat in his backyard, Patton could very well have let the story stand on its own, but instead, he elevates the tale, illuminating its improbability and absurdity by positing that only a small god could have been responsible for the event. "Beans and grapes! What jokes and japes! I'll play!" Extrapolate those examples and you'll understand the level of commitment Patton Oswalt invests in his work. As a fellow depressive type, I wish I could muster up that kind of dedication to ANYTHING. And everything Patton says is hilarious.


You: "Why me?" The Universe: "And you are…?"less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Carmen Lynch


“I went to therapy for 2 weeks and now I feel like I can't stop or I'll go backwards. The therapists says you can't go backwards. You can't put the egg back into the chicken… And that's all I want to do now. I'm going to find a chicken and shove an egg into its chicken hole and take it to my therapists and say ‘You're right about everything except for this. Can I have my money back?’”

Carmen Lynch has in common with the venerable Maria Bamford a facetious attitude toward therapy and the importance of leaving the house –- and uses escalating absurdity to show how high a priority she considers anyone’s expectations but her own. Things society and her family consider sacrosanct for a woman her age –- having children for example -– Lynch dismisses as little more than annoyances. “My mom’s like ‘When are you gonna have a kid?’ and I’m like, ‘What about what’s her face in Bolivia? I have to pay $28 a month!’”

Carmen says: “When people approach me and ask if I’m the comedian with scoliosis or with the Bolivian child, it feels good, like they know me a little.”

Full interview with Carmen Lynch HERE.


I like windows. I don't have to go outside to see shit, and I like that.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Ali Waller

Because there aren’t many clips of her stand up online, you’ll just have to trust me on this one: Ali Waller is hilarious. Besides working as a stand up comic, she writes for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and that’s got to be endorsement enough. Though her job requires her to adopt the comic persona of her energetic, earnest employer, Waller’s personal style is markedly more sardonic. I don’t think anyone could imagine Jimmy Fallon uttering these words, spoken by Ali Waller during an appearance at Big Terrific, a comedy showcase in Brooklyn: “I don't burn bridges. I just fuck bridges and make them awkward to cross.”


75% of the time I pee it's out of boredom or to avoid socializing.less than a minute ago via web



I can't stand the subway in NY but I also can't stand the traffic in LA. Bottom line: maybe I just don't like leaving the house.less than a minute ago via web

Joselyn Hughes

Joselyn Hughes plays the role of the resigned slacker very well, but this stand up comic and Tosh.0 staffer may have just pulled the wool over our eyes. From her material, one could infer that Hughes thinks herself an irresponsible, undateable, alcoholic with bad credit –- but the truth reveals Joselyn to be an insightful observer. Her admitted exaggeration allows her to be the Greek Chorus in the tragedy that is the life of an urban 20-something.

Full interview with Joselyn Hughes HERE.

Joselyn says: “I second guess everything; I'm neurotic. Sometimes I sound lonelier or more pathetic than I mean to. I have a great life and great family and friends, but talking about how happy you are isn't that funny.”


Sometimes I don't blame my dog for avoiding eye contact with me.less than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter



sadly, i'm still hanging onto that "win the lottery and tell everyone to fuck off" plan.less than a minute ago via web

  • Phil Davidson

    Great read. Wasn't aware of a lot of these comics. Thanks.

  • http://mobfd.blogspot.com/ Chris Trash

    Beautiful read. In my badly informed opinion comedy is not always about being happy, but sometimes it's about seeing things with a new perspective.

  • mallory.elis@gmail.com

    What, no Simon Amstell?

  • Megh Wright

    Wow, this rocks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melissa-Ragsly/100001684347741 Melissa Ragsly

    What a great article, with perfectly suited clips to boot. The only comic I had heard of was Rob Delaney, but somehow had missed ever seeing his actual stand-up.

    And I must add, when I heard the WTF with Judd Apatow and he said that thing about the punch, I too had a moment of not feeling alone. So we both felt unalone together. Isn't that great?

  • Kokapelye

    “…The equivalent of a bad haircut [in] mental health”?! Been there, done that, and it’s not just the graduate student therapists, my previous shrink being a case in point.

    “So doctor, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. On the off chance that I’m getting too much caffeine, what’s the medically recommended daily limit?”
    “One cup.”
    ”Is that like one measuring cup cup, or one coffee mug cup?”
    ”One cup.”

    Once we arrived at the dosage of Prozac that helped me, I had to avoid saying anything that would prompt him to adjust my dosage or try the latest antidepressant the rep brought in. My new shrink is soooo much better. And I’m sleeping better.

  • http://comedyconjectures.blogspot.com Brett Johnson

    Molandes is the *balls*. Thanks for the heads-up!