EVERY comedian on the planet needs to visit MitchHedberg.net after its re-launch on May 17th. This is one of the greatest resources for a comedian to understand the craft of one of our late-but-great stage legends. The site will contain rare videos, set lists, excerpts from notebooks, and remembrances from contemporaries. I’ve seen some of the material and it’s an amazing collection.
I had a chance to sit down with Lynn Shawcroft, Hedberg’s widow, acting as the curator of the new site. Shawcroft and Hedberg met in Toronto and became almost inseparable overnight. Lynn would later open for Hedberg on the road, and after a whirlwind romance they would marry and settle in a cabin near Big Bear. During that time of course Hedberg was becoming well known, and soon after became a national name.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, HERE is a little taste of the magic he bought:
Oh and Mitch Hedberg is so good he’s one of the few comedians who’s jokes are still pretty funny when you read them. Here’s an example:
When you buy a box of Ritz crackers, on the back of the box, they have all these suggestions as to what to put on top of the Ritz. "Try it with turkey and cheese. Try it with peanut butter." But I like crackers man, that's why I bought it, 'cause I like crackers! I don't see a suggestion to put a Ritz on top of a Ritz. I didn't buy them because they're little edible plates! You've got no faith in the product itself. – Mitch Hedburg
Mitch was writing all the time, and compiling a huge amount of notebooks containing ideas, thoughts, jokes, proto-jokes, and sketches (both types). How much of this material ever hit the stage or was recorded is not clear; but all these notebooks survive till this day. After his untimely passing, these notebooks were left to Shawcroft. Lynn also collected many of his old set lists, and nearly everything that went into his creative process.
All that is going to be put on THIS new website:
These materials are the bulk of the redesign of Mitchhedberg.net as well as the aforementioned rare videos, show posters, and more. The site is being transformed from basically a merchandise page to an archive of a comedian’s creative process. It’s a piece of comedy history online, and well worth a gander after the launch on the 17th. It feels like a museum, or a living documentary, and as a comedian myself, who holds Hedberg as a hero, it’s pretty intense.
Here’s a tidbit now:
PS: When I was interviewing Shawcroft she handed me the tattered notebook from which this page was scanned. It was pretty amazing to hold in my hands the set list from Hedberg’s’ first Letterman show. It felt like a holy relic, easily one of my coolest moments in a long time.
PPS: If you look close you can see a joke called “Anderson Party of 2”… yep, before it was Dufresne, it was Anderson. Hey lets watch a cheesy animation of that joke ->
In the end this website is about Mitch, and his work. It’s an exploration of a comedian from inside his own mind. It’s an amazing resource. But what should you take away from everything here? Lynn has one suggestion:
“He Really Loved Stand-Up” she says.
It’s all you need to take away from this. We miss you Mitch. You really did love stand-up, and its so cool to see how much you loved it.
Oh and if you’re in the Los Angeles and you’d like to go to a party to support this new web launch… here are the details about the event:
The evening will include never-before-seen video, artwork, and news about upcoming projects, as well as readings, remembrances, stories and live comedy performances. Confirmed talent includes Karen Kilgariff, Nick Thune, Marie Colette and Garfunkel & Oates.
All attendees will receive a limited-edition sticker and reproduction of an original Hedberg setlist.
The Steve Allen Theater
Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door (if available).
All proceeds benefit The Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. http://www.innocenceproject.org
Here’s the link for advanced tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/172253
You might catch a certain CraveOnline.com Comedy editor at the show… so come on down!