From the stacks: Comedian Mitch Hedberg died two weeks after performing on the campus

Student fans of comedian Mitch Hedberg likely know many of his jokes by heart — “I do not know my AA-BB-CC’s. God God dammit dammit” — but one fact is less well-known: Hedberg performed on this campus just two weeks before he died.

In this week’s edition of From The Stacks, where Campus Drive takes you back to some of the most absurd and hilarious articles printed in The Diamondback over the last 102 years, former staff writers Michael Barnett and Megan Watzin talk to students about Hedberg’s second-to-last performance in March 2005.

Comedian Mitch Hedberg, who performed at the university about two weeks ago, died Wednesday in a New Jersey motel.

His performance to a sold-out crowd of 1,000 in the Grand Ballroom was the second-to-last venue he performed at before failing to appear multiple times at a comedy club in Richmond, Va. He was scheduled to perform through this weekend at the Baltimore Improv.

Media outlets across the country reported that he suffered a heart attack Wednesday night, but the cause of the heart attack was unknown.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that his rushed performance at the university, where he read from notes and wrote jokes down on note cards, was indicative of a larger problem concerning his erratic touring schedule, though some students argue that it was part of his routine.

Others noticed something seemed off.

“I thought he was faster than normal with his delivery,” said Brian Klenk, a freshman education major. “He was my favorite comic — he brought something very different to the stage.”

Linah Lubin, a spokeswoman for Student Entertainment Events, which arranged for Hedberg to come, recalls meeting Hedberg after his show on the campus.

“We had a meet and greet after the show,” said Lubin. “ I had actually met him at a show before several years ago, and I think the way that he talks while he is on stage delivering his jokes and the way he acts in person are very similar.”

Hedberg was known for his quick one-liners and observational humor. He had appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman 10 times, frequently on The Howard Stern Show and was labeled the “next Seinfeld” by Time magazine.

He was open about drug use in his acts, saying “I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too.”

Hedberg is survived by his wife, comedienne Lynn Shawcroft.

Check Campus Drive next Sunday for another post From The Stacks.

–Lauren Redding


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