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


From the Stacks: Nuking Baltimore

From page 3 of The Diamondback, Sept. 30, 1955:

H-Bomb Would Devastate City,
Cause Million Casualties

The mushroom cloud from a 1954 nuclear test at Bikini Atoll . Not part of original article. (courtesy U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Detonation of a single modern hydrogen bomb over the City of Baltimore would cause one million deaths or casualties, as well as virtually complete destruction of the city and port, according to the results of a research project published last Monday by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research of the University.

Titled “Baltimore and the H-Bomb,” the study attempts to provide objective information on the full dimensions of the atomic threat, in the hope that full information will lead to adequate preparation and prevention. Continue reading

From The Stacks: The most ’70s article we could find

From the front page of The Diamondback, Sept. 16, 1971:


Barber shops’ business cut sharply; girlfriends dictate long hair on men

By George Meurer

Long hair styles have cut into the barbering business in College Park.

Long hair and women are the reason.

“It stinks,” says Pete Wynnyk, a local barber, of barbering business in College Park.

“It’s the girls — they tell the boys not to get a haircut,” adds one of his assistants.

Wynnyk’s campus barber shop on Lehigh Road is in trouble. His assistant pleads, “Just please get a trim — we won’t cut it all off.” Continue reading

From The Stacks: Frat rash and some lubed up armpits

From the front page of the Oct. 29, 1963 edition of The Diamondback, directly under the 1963 Homecoming queen finalists:

By Ronnie Oberman

A rare disease called rhinosporeadosis, a few dozen jars of petroleum jelly and three clever fraternity members combined last week in one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled at the University.  Continue reading