Mitch Hedberg would’ve been 44 today, but his friends, family and the comedy world lost him at the age of 37. In honor of his birthday, Austin writer Steve Birmingham just posted an interview he conducted with Hedberg in October of 2001, which originally appeared in the print-only INsite magazine. In the intro, Birmingham sets the the tone:
This “interview” was really a conversation, and a lovely one at that. Mitch generously chatted for over forty-five minutes— well past the point for me to hit my allotted word count and above and beyond any measure for him to have fulfilled a PR obligation. Much of what we talked about was wonderfully digressive from being potential magazine copy fodder but he was just an uncommonly affable, upbeat, tuned in, earnest, inquisitive, polite, and thoughtful person.
Throughout the interview, posted on Comedy Moontower, Hedberg talks about (among many other things) what he was like in high school, why he was so popular in Texas and he even answers a question about why he rarely looks at the audience while he’s performing. And Hedberg’s answer to whether he believes stand-up comedy is a proper art form is great:
Stand-up is an art but since it’s humor and it’s funny— a lot of guys that don’t think it’s art are probably coming from the angle that they don’t want to take it so seriously. I was working in Canada once with this kid who said that we’re nothing but salted peanuts, insinuating that we’re something to go with the drinks, y’know, of the people at the bar. I thought that was complete bullshit. I was always in this thing to express what I thought, whether it’s good or bad but I thought of it as an outlet, which more or less is an art form. I’ve always looked at it as an art but I don’t look at it as a pretentious art. I understand it has to be taken lightly because it is just comedy in the end, but the good stand-up comics are someone with something to say. Anyone I like, to me, is practicing an art form.
But there’s a lot more to the interview, and we highly suggest you check it out here.