Mitch Hedberg has been compared to legends such as Steven Wright and Jerry Seinfeld. Since his first appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” his fanbase has steadily grown.
Hedberg won the Seattle Comedy Competition and went on to perform in his very own Comedy Central special. The special led to Hedberg joining the Comedy Central Live tour headlined by Lewis Black and Dave Attell. Eventually, Comedy Central sent Hedberg out on a co-headlining tour with musical comedian Stephen Lynch. It was on this tour that Mitch’s substance abuse problems came out in the open.
When Hedberg and Lynch reached Phoenix, all hell broke loose. Lynch performed first, and promised to be a tough act to follow. Unfortunately, Hedberg didn’t even try. Already inebriated as he stumbled onto the stage, Hedberg set his two drinks on the stool waiting for him, and rambled through a few of his classic bits.
Only a few minutes into his routine, Hedberg fell to the stage, mumbling into the microphone. At one point, he asked for someone to throw prescription pills to him, and someone obliged. Hedberg gobbled up the pill as though he were starving. He washed it down with one of the many cups of vodka that his wife, fellow comedien Lynn Shawcroft, brought to him. By the end of the show, Hedberg had to be rescued by opening comic Al Madrigal.
Hedberg later posted an apology on his website, and offered to do a free show for Phoenix fans. Unfortunately, Mitch was gone before the show ever took place.
Hedberg was found dead in a hotel room on March 30, 2005. His mother stated that Mitch was born with a heart defect, and expected that this was a factor in his death. She also admitted to being aware of his drug habit, and didn’t know if that had anything to do with his death.
Hedberg’s passing may remind many of the deaths of other popular comedians John Belushi and Chris Farley. Both were also known drug users, and both were gone before their time.
Hedberg left behind two nuggets of his genious. his CDs, “Mitch All Together” and “Strategic Grill Locations” will provide his fans with laughter for years to come.