Another Gift Mitch Hedberg Gave Us

Earlier this week, I did a Mitch Hedberg cover stand-up comedy performance. As I said in my previous post, I watched him early on in my journey of doing stand-up comedy nine years ago. A friend told me I sounded like him. I checked him out. Around that time a different friend told me I’d be good at stand-up after I hosted her for a Shabbat meal Friday night (Perhaps it was that combination of my being a welcoming hostess who also made jokes and self-deprecating remarks under her breath.)

In any case, here we are, nine years later, and I got to delve back into Mitch Hedberg and cover his stand-up comedy for the first time.

What a blessing.

My heart bleeds for the loss of Mitch Hedberg. And for other people I know where the darkness in their life overshadowed the light, and they were taken far, far, too soon.

There is so much to say. But I find that if I wait to say it all, it’s left unsaid.

So for now…

What Mitch Hedberg taught us:

Mitch Hedberg showed us that we can excel in our craft, while still carrying around a lot of self-loathing. I do not know the internals of what went on in his life, but I do know that he was one of the only comedians to so frankly put his own jokes down during a performance. To me, that shows a window into how brutally honest he was. And how observant he was of all that he did. And, let’s face it, it can be really hard to look at ourselves with such a microscope.

There are so many talented individuals who were overcome by internal struggles. Again, I don’t know if Mitch Hedberg’s keen awareness of his inner critic was connected with his drug use, but I don’t know that it wasn’t.

All I know is I relate to his ability to be so frank about his foibles. To see himself so brutally honestly. And to share it with others.

That brutal honesty is hard to come by. But combine that with a lack of desire to hide it away in oneself and simply be upfront about it with others? That lack of self-protection? Of just baring one’s soul to the public like that? Not everyone can do that.

For myself, as I’ve learned that I don’t owe others the behind-the-scenes of my shit, I’ve become a much more whole, happier person. I thank dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for that, and my DBT therapist (the book is really big, I can’t imagine tackling it/putting it into practice without a therapist! And she is a great one to boot!).

When Mitch Hedberg showed us his inner critic, he gave us a gift. The gift of knowing that we are not the only one with an inner critic. If you let it, this realization can release you from having shame for having an inner critic (in other words, having shame about shame, ahhh, mind-F!).

Mitch Hedberg not only showed us that an inner critic is normal and natural, even if others keep it inside, he also showed us that people with great talent can have one. He showed us that we can kick ass in life, as he did—succeeding with his touring on the road for so many years—and still have an inner critic.

You see, an inner critic does not mean we are weak. It means we are human.

It’s not a matter of it disappearing, rather taming it, managing it, putting it in its place. Letting it know it doesn’t run the show.

And then putting on the show that is our lives.

The world is your oyster. Go get it!

Things often don’t turn out how or when you want it, but trust in the process, and take every step with self-compassion.

And one day,

Who knows?

For the Mitch Hedberg stand-up comedy cover I did, click here.

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