Comedian Chris Gethard finds a way to laugh at unpleasant subjects.
He has held the spotlight for the last couple of years for his unique comedy, which deals with depression and suicide. Gethard hosts The Chris Gethard Show, his own stand-up comedy show on HBO “Career Suicide”and has starred in the movie “Don’t Think Twice.”
His podcast tour and his cult hit show, which will begin airing on TruTV in August, made Gethard onto the Rolling Stones “50 Funniest People Right Now” list.
As comedian for 17 years, he said he has earned more opportunities to spread his comedy.
“For me that involved 15 years of banging my head against the wall trying to make that happen… I’ve certainly put in my work and I’ve certainly put my time in the trenches to get ready for it,” Gethard said.
His work and comedy is reflective of his dealing with depression and suicide for most of his life. He said his comedy is meant to make the issues more socially acceptable. The risks of depression and suicide are too grave to ignore, he said, and comedy is the best way to bring light to the issue.
He jokes about his personal experiences and struggles because he knows people can relate to his comedy.
“I feel like if can make jokes about this stuff and I can laugh, then maybe it just becomes a little bit easier for me to talk about,” he said. “And maybe somebody can watch me joke about that and it becomes easier for them to talk about.
He wants to be honest about his comedy, even if it places him in uncomfortable situations.
“Maybe I can tap into the fact that I’m emotional and pretty thoughtful, and I’m willing to put it all out there in a way and let the crowd see me sweat,” Gethard said.
He said he suffered depression in his early years at Rutgers University, where he attended college. The advice he gives to college students dealing with depression is that they are not alone.
Gethard said, “When you’re feeling depressed—when you feel your mental health is not 100 percent where it should be—it feels like a very isolated thing, a very lonely thing, like you have to deal with it behind closed door. I think more and more you do not have to.”
Gethard will be performing live at The Magic Bag in Ferndale for his Beautiful/Anonymous tour, on June 7th.
The comedic podcast will include no script, just improvised jokes and thousands of callers asking any questions they want.
“It’s a lot like playing the lottery for me and the audience there that night, we don’t know what we’re going to get,” Gethard said.
Gethard wanted to do the podcast for more than its comedic relief, but for a “weird experiment.”
“It’s become this thing where people would call up and sometimes they’ll be really funny, and sometimes they’ll want to talk serious. But it’s pretty addictive to connect to another human being for an hour,” Gethard said.