- Brian Donaldson
- 13 September 2011
The comedian tells us about his comedy hero Mitch Hedberg
Picking one comedy hero is much harder than it sounds, especially for me as I don’t seem to have had the standard path to becoming a stand-up myself. Comedians tend to talk about how they grew up listening to Richard Pryor albums but I actually watched very little stand-up before I became one. I have a few childhood memories that may have planted the comedy seed in my head (watching my brother’s copy of Eddie Murphy’s Delirious when I was 11 or rolling around laughing at Dave Allen’s show without even knowing what half of the jokes were about!) but until I first went to live comedy at the age of 20, I didn’t have a massive interest in stand-up let alone have a comedy hero!
Once I started out on the open mic circuit, that all changed. I went back and listened to the greats. I fell in love with Pryor, Hicks, Carlin etc but in late 2004 I stumbled across Mitch Hedberg’s first album and everything fell into place. I was still looking for my own comedy voice and was trying to be edgy and slick onstage as I thought that was what you were meant to be; but hearing Mitch made me realise that there were no hard and fast rules.
He had an incredibly silly world view and a totally honest, almost slapdash approach to comedy (while still writing incredible jokes). Overnight, it changed how I viewed stand-up and gave me the inspiration to be honest and silly and, more importantly, myself. When Mitch died in March 2005, I was genuinely devastated. Despite having never seen him live or meeting him, he is the person that had the most influence on my comedy.
The Stand, Glasgow, Thu 13–Sat 15 Oct.