Oct 202004
 
Authors: Eric Klamper

He may act like he just swallowed an entire pharmacy, but give

Mitch Hedberg a chance and he just might make you squeal with

delight.

After a breakthrough performance on the “Late Show with David

Letterman” in 1996, Hedberg’s career and fan following has grown

every year. His DVD/CD “Mitch All Together” has sold more than

70,000 copies and is becoming a frequently quoted album among

college communities across the country.

Hedberg’s success comes in part from his public persona as a

laid-back, stoner who jokes about maintaining his drug supply

through an unwitting FedEx deliveryman.

The Collegian caught up with Hedberg during his 28-city tour,

which stops Saturday in Denver at the Fillmore Auditorium, and he

spoke about his rise to fame, his plans for the future and dealing

with his stalker, Queen Latifah.

The Collegian: You’ve come a long way since your comedy

beginning back in Seattle. What do you attribute your success

to?

Mitch Hedberg: Awww man … I don’t want to be cocky but …

being funny. (Mitch laughs at himself). Na, what it really comes

down to is a half-hour special on Comedy Central that they played

the s**t out of. That helped me more than anything else. I’ve been

on the David Letterman show 10 times, I’ve been on Conan twice and

I’ve been on Jimmy Kimmel but nobody mentions any of these shows as

much as that Comedy Central thing. It pretty much made my career.

Also, I’d have to thank the Internet because a lot of people

downloaded stuff and that helps out.

C: Now that you’re a celebrity and things are going so well,

what’s changed most about your life? I mean, I like to think that

you’ve gone from eating stale Doritos to eating cr�me

brule.

MH: The biggest change (pause) I guess things are just easier.

I’d like to come up with some crazy and decadent answer but for the

most part, it’s gotten kind of lucrative so things are a bit easier

for me. I can fulfill dreams that I’ve had for a long time so I’m

fortunate because that means I end up doing a bunch of s**t that an

8-year-old could be doing. I think the biggest change is that I do

things like give my little sister $100 just like my uncle used to

slip me $5 when I was a kid. Just financial freedom. Now,

celebrity-wise, I’m not too big but I get just the right amount of

recognition, like, occasionally I have to worry about things like

something stuck between my teeth.

C: Do you ever miss playing shows for more intimate crowds?

MH: You know, I don’t want to jinx myself and say yeah, but I’d

have to say yeah. I used to play clubs where the Sunday show would

be really mellow with 30 to 50 people compared to the weekends

where it would be pretty full with like 250 or 300 people and it

was always really chill. I could just lay back and not worry so

much. But now you go on Sunday and it’s pretty much sold out and

there’s all this pressure to do good. The nice thing about a

smaller crowd is you can just relax for them and I miss that a

bit.

C: Are you planning on expanding your career further into the

film industry (Hedberg produced, wrote and directed “Los

Enchiladas!” which premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film

Festival)?

MH: Yeah man, I’m planning on it big time. I got a little burned

on my first foray into the film. I spent a lot of money on the film

and it kind of got a luke-warm reception. It was a comedy you know,

and as a comedian I’m used to going on stage and if people don’t

laugh I can fix s**t. But I couldn’t fix that film. It’s kinda

tough to ask a crowd, “Wait while I edit this.” Do you know what I

would really love, is if some big director saw me and wanted to

work with me, because that hasn’t happened yet. I always hope that

some director is going to say, “That’s the guy,” but it hasn’t yet

so right now people look at me and say, “Hey, he might be one of

the guys.”

C: When you’re out on the town with your friends, would you

consider yourself a good wingman?

MH: Yeah. Real good actually. Just the other night this girl

called up to my hotel room and she was like, “I really like you and

my friend really likes Randy.” Randy was the other act on the show

that night but unfortunately Randy had left town so I called him

and told him, “Randy, you really f**ked up tonight cause I was

gonna be your wingman.” But I’m a great wingman. Back when I was

single and I was on the road, me and another comedian would go out

and hook up with a couple girls and bring them back to the condo

and it was amazing, man.

C: So what do you look for in women?

MH: I think someone who just listens to you basically. If I’m at

a bar, that’s always been a hard place for me to meet women. I’m

not real good with the initial conversation, you know? So I look

for women who look for me. It’d be like a hunter who only hunts

dogs because they let him pet them. I also love, on the more

superficial side, I guess I just like (pause) women who are

hot.

C: I see that your national tour culminates in December. What

are planning to do once that happens?

MH: Ah man, well first of all, I gotta finish my community

service. Na, I just got to start getting ready for the next tour.

The tour never really ends for me cause I want to get back to the

clubs. My last tour was with Dave Attell and Lewis Black, this

one’s with Steven Lynch, so maybe the next time I can go off solo

and just have an opening act that’s a friend of mine or something.

I also want to try to nail an HBO special and maybe try to get

Queen Latifah to stop making calls to my house.

C: I have the same problem, man.

MH: I knew someone else did.

C: It’s the thin white man – she loves it I guess.

(Mitch laughs)

C: OK, based strictly off of my voice, do you think you could

out-drink me?

MH: No. You sound like a man who can be pretty aggressive when

it comes to the liquor. Plus you’ve got the advantage of being in

college so you’re in training right now. I mean, you’re constantly

training. It’s like you’re always practicing, man. See, I only

practice when I’m working so right now with this tour I only work

three nights a week at the max. The last tour went from Tuesday to

Sunday so the only day you could probably out-drink me would be

Monday.

C: I know you have a show down in Denver on Saturday but I

understand you have to leave Vegas to come here.

MH: I know, doesn’t that suck? I wanted to spend more time in

Vegas. I mean, I love Denver too, but let’s face it man, there

isn’t any f**king gambling. Is there?

C: No, you won’t be able to gamble, that’s true.

MH: But you know what? My road manager is from Denver so he’s

gonna be exited about … Hey, that was sexy. (Mitch is apparently

interrupted by his wife at this point) My wife came up to me

topless. It was awesome. (Resuming his response) But Vegas is great

man. Do you like it there?

C: Yeah, but I always get into trouble out there.

MH: Me too, man.

C: And I’m not rich like you so I can’t afford it.

MH: I’m not rich man. Don’t get me wrong. That comment about the

money was by no means me saying, “Hey I’m a rich f**ker.”

C: I’m just busting your balls, Mitch.

MH: (laughter) You know what I’m saying.

C: I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Fillmore. I’ll throw

my bra on stage for you.

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