Bad NewsTwitter seems to be the place to hear awful news lately – at least about stand-up comedians. Just a few weeks ago that’s how I heard about Robert Schimmel. And yesterday, Louis CK tweeted the news of Greg Giraldo’s death. It’s odd to hear such sad news from someone so funny, via a medium so ephemeral.
Giraldo was known best for the Comedy Central roasts where he far outshone the other comics. He also graduated from Columbia University and attended Harvard Law School before becoming a comic. Everyone who knew him says he was a sweet, kind mensch. One thing’s for sure: he struggled for years with the addiction that killed him.
What’s really ironic is that earlier in the day he OD’d, he was supposed to perform at The New York Recovery Rally, a show for people recovering from substance abuse. It seemed, from his last DVD, that he had turned a corner and was really getting better. Of course, it's impossible to judge from his comedy what was really going on.
Self-deprecation is the mainstay of the stand-up comic, and anyone who's been in therapy will tell you that it's a thin line between that and self-loathing. The first creates jokes; the second makes it impossible to joke about anything. Giraldo mined his own failures and frustrations to create comedy gold. It's crazy to me that even at his level of success, he still felt insecure. But it's a kind of crazy that's all too familiar.
Giraldo was going to perform a four-night stand-up stint in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at The Stress Factory. He threw a party in his hotel room, which a witness described as “a zoo,” and at some point during the night someone realized he was unresponsive. An ambulance came, he went to Robert Wood Johnson hospital, and yesterday, he died.
He had three kids and a wife who might have been becoming his ex-wife – but that doesn’t matter. He had everything to live for, as do we all, no matter what's going on. And he was a hilarious, talented performer gone too soon.
Please – no more bad news, Twitter.
Image via Twitter