Monday, December 20th, 2010

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

Jena Friedman

“My mom supports my comedy by sending me articles of other comedians… who've killed themselves.”

Though her bile isn't as inwardly directed as some of the comics on this list, Jena Friedman judges herself as harshly as she does the subjects of her jokes. With a not-so-convincingly contrite shrug, Friedman excuses herself from jokes about abortion, cancer, and suicide without ever giving the impression that her bluer material exists solely for shock value.

Full interview with Jena Friedman HERE.

sorry, I don't have $2 to give you for your bus ticket, but it's nice to know you think I look like I wouldless than a minute ago via mobile web

check out that sad girl roaming the frozen food aisle at the 24 hr bodega wondering what tastes like happiness and pretending she's not meless than a minute ago via web

Chelsea Peretti

There are more representative clips of Chelsea Peretti’s stand up available online, but none that more accurately reflect the ups and downs of depressive episodes (watch the whole clip!). The energetic (feigned?) apathy that exists at the core of Peretti’s material makes her enthusiastic critiques of her appearance, elaborate tales of dating woes, and insistence that she’s a something of slacker (her appearances on Louie and The Sarah Silverman Program and the fact that she writes for Parks and Recreation suggest otherwise) easier to swallow.

Depression: I just heard the faucet drip and was like "I know"less than a minute ago via web

I mention "my ex" a lot to make it clear someone was able to love me.less than a minute ago via web

Josh Comers

“This will make me sound really insecure, but sometimes I feel like everyone in Al Qaeda hates me.”

Josh Comers makes Eeyore seem like The Tazmanian Devil –- and I say that as a compliment. Though he insisted during an interview on the We’re All Friends Here podcast that he’s not depressed, Comers admits that in his 20s, he “spent a lot of weekends in bed.” Even his employer, Conan “Please-Don’t-Be-Cynical” O’Brien, picked up on his mopey demeanor, as Comers revealed in the same episode: “[Conan would say] ‘When Comers walks by, flowers wilt, birds fall out of the sky dead.’” Still, Josh somehow manages to crank out topical and pop culture jokes for his boss (and for a while on his blog, Jokes That Won’t Matter Tomorrow) like a machine. One would think that the dramatic differences between his job and his personal style would have, by now, caused enough cognitive dissonance to make the average man explode -– but Josh Comers clearly contains multitudes.

I’m like the Don Draper of nothing.less than a minute ago via web

Met a guy with a better inferiority complex than me.less than a minute ago via web

Mike Drucker

“I would be a jellyfish because when you don't have a nervous system you can't be sad.”

Splitsider and Professional Comedy's own Mike Drucker is not exactly a habitually dark comic, — his style tends to mix the personal with the observational — but he dabbles in enough lighthearted self-deprecation to whet my dark appetite. Drucker's manner often matches the matter of his bits with self-referential — occasionally amusedly harsh — appraisals of material he's just completed. With a shrug and a chuckle, Mike submits, "That tag will never work". It works, Mike. It works.

Today's realization: Working out doesn't make me less depressed, it just makes me too tired to hate.less than a minute ago via web

Almost bought a giant foam twenty-sided die until I realized it was a bit of a lateral move solution to this depression problem.less than a minute ago via web

*Rebecca O'Neal doesn't want you to worry. Thanks to Obamacare, she'll be insured as of January 2011.

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  • 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!