Mitch Hedberg’s first posthumously released album is being released on September 9th 2008. It’s called Do You Believe in Gosh? and will feature all new material.

For those who aren’t familiar with Hedberg: if Jean Genet and Monty Python were to invent a Frankenstein One-Liner Comedian, the result would be Mitch Hedberg.

He stands out as one of the few comedians whose work is not smutty, offensive, political or “edgy”, and whose subject matter is, as he once put it in an interview “about like Bananas and shit”, but who simultaneously is face-disruptingly hilarious.

Unfortunately he is also dead.

It is perhaps the singular irony of my history of appreciating Mitch Hedberg’s comedy that I only discovered his existence through the announcement on another comic’s site that he had passed away.

Curious about this special mention (and the many others that followed on other comics’ sites soon after the soul-destroying news set in) I went to Limewire and downloaded two large files that turned out to be Mitch’s only two commercial albums. Immediately it dawned on me what me and most of the world outside American college comedy tours had missed in this remarkable comedian. And suddenly I was sad this so recently unknown person had died.

Since his death in March 2005 the power of the internet (particularly in the form of http://www.hedburgh.com) has furnished me with more underground recordings and video clips than should rightly be available for such an underrated and unknown comedian.

And since his two albums were all he had commercially available, it meant rifling through poor quality bootlegs actually yielded unknown jokes and routines. It also let you hear just how many of the audience had committed to memory his incredible one-liners as they yell them out in a comedic frenzy.

And when you hear the jokes, it becomes obvious why he had this effect.

– I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.

– I got an ant farm…them fellas didn’t grow shit.

– I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

– I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.

– I wrote a script and gave it to a guy that reads scripts. And he read it and said he really likes it, but he thinks I need to rewrite it. I said, “Fuck that, I’ll just make a copy.”

– I did a movie with Peter Frampton. He’s a musical genius, but I don’t listen to his stuff. So I had to continuously try to draw attention away from the fact. Hey Frampton! Do you like toast too!? As do I. It is warm and crispy and the perfect place for jelly to lay. Now stay away from me Frampton, I ain’t got shit to say to you!

In fact his appearance in the movie he mentions above was Almost Famous. Depressingly, he doesn’t utter a word. That movie would have torn my face off with awesomeness had they given him a role.

As with all good comedians, Bill Hicks, George Carlin (so recently deceased at the time of writing) it always seems too soon when they did (even for Carlin, who was a less than sprightly 71.)

With Mitch it is worse, because the nature of his material meant it was so short. To make matters worse, (or better?) Hedberg penned and directed an all-comedian star movie called “Los Enchiladas” featuring the wonderfully acerbic Dave Attell and the other top one-line machine Todd Barry (whom I accidentally saw live in new York in 2004 before I knew what I was witnessing.)

What’s so heartbreaking is that it is commercially unreleased, with only a few teaser clips online. We can only hope, pray and quietly will it that the world will hopefully latch onto this guy, and that we will all become 13% more happy.

After his death the following show aired on the E! Channel in 2006.

And thanks again to the persistence of Mitch’s fans and the internet, the new cd has finally been greenlighted and features unreleased live material from January 2005, a few months before this wonderful soul’s demise. The release will be from Comedy Central Records. And it will rock.

Til then, you’ll find me listening to the bootlegs, and reminiscing about times I don’t even remember.

Do yourself a favour and buy these albums.

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