Mitch Hedberg - Do You Believe in Gosh?
Label: Comedy Central
By: abadinfluence
Oct 10 08

The one thing Mitch Hedberg might be most memorable for, other than being able to twist the English language into knee-slapping humor, was his penchant for trying to hide from his audience.

Usually, Hedberg would be found on stage wearing dark sunglasses, or wearing his hair shaggy, so that it would fall over his eyes. On rare occasions, he even performed sets with his eyes squeezed tightly shut. No matter what avenue he took to make it happen, Hedberg just didn’t want to see his audience.

Instead, Hedberg was simply a victim of immense stage fright.

Of course, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to interact with them, as he frequently did. Instead, Hedberg was simply a victim of immense stage fright. But despite his fears, Hedberg always found a way to employ his unique sense of humor to bring down the house.

When word started to leak in early 2005 that Hedberg had passed away, some initially thought that it was a set up; an escape for Hedberg from his fame. Sadly, it wasn’t true – Hedberg actually had succumbed to an apparent drug overdose, diffusing his personal flame and igniting a new flame that would become a legacy.

Do You Believe In Gosh?, the third full length, and first posthumous album from Mitch Hedberg, serves as an excellent first introduction to anyone unfamiliar with his work. Above and beyond that, it’s a perfect “gift” to fans that have been mourning his loss and optimistically yearning for the chance to hear something else from the comic genius.

Hedberg converses about various topics including getting paid to eat cantaloupe, filtering Evian water, movies inspired by true stories and chewable vitamins.

On Do You Believe In Gosh?, Hedberg converses about various topics including getting paid to eat cantaloupe, filtering Evian water, movies inspired by true stories and chewable vitamins. Across the board, no matter what he speaks of, he finds a way to relate to his audience and bring them in, making them laugh freely. As a bonus, his humor is in such a style that you don’t have to be there to enjoy it – while his set was obviously for the audience in front of him, those who weren’t fortunate enough to see him live can still listen in and feel as if they are in the same room.

I personally judge comedians based on how balanced their set is. I never expect someone to “own” the stage and be funny 100% of the time. In fact, I actually enjoy hearing a comedian’s joke tank, just to see how well they can recover. And that, right there, was one of Hedberg’s biggest abilities – no matter how bad a joke was received, he was always the first to laugh. Whether he told the audience that the joke was better than they acted or simply uttered a resigned, “alllll riiight”, Hedberg was professional enough to let it slide and throw straight to his next bit.

One of Hedberg’s strongest acts was his Comedy Central one-hour special. The version that aired on television was drastically cut and pasted together from the actual set that went close to two hours and is widely available via internet download. The actual set started off very slowly and was more miss than hit. But Hedberg made himself at peace with the audience by talking with them instead of at them. He became one of them and the audience was more forgiving, more at ease, and as a result, much more prone to laugh.

In contrast, this album’s biggest disappointment comes from its choppiness. It’s almost reminiscent of the heavily edited final shiny version of the Comedy Central special in that the choppiness takes away from the realness and overall atmosphere of the set. While the sound quality of the recording is fine, the synch wasn’t quite up to par when parts of the set were edited out. The album comes across as a mangled mish-mash of humorous moments from a much longer show, all packed into an album that runs less than forty minutes. The actual run time of the show compared to the album is moot really – what is important is this; the editing detracts from the overall quality of the album itself.

If one were to judge this album on merits based around posthumously showcasing Hedberg’s traditional style, the above noted choppiness would greatly detract from its value. However, as a comedy album on the whole, Do You Believe In Gosh? is packed full of innuendo, witty wordplay and stylish mutterings from one of the quirkiest, completely under-rated and very deeply missed comedians ever to set foot in front of the microphone.

Leila  -  Model
Worcester, MA
36 / F - Attached
Posted: 10/15/08 at 02:23 PM 
Thanks for reviewing this, I had no idea they were even releasing more of his work.
Martinez, CA
41 / M - Other
Posted: 10/18/08 at 08:29 PM 

Deeply missed he is, & one of the best there was!

Scarborough, ON
42 / M - Attached
Posted: 10/22/08 at 08:50 PM 
I had no clue either actually and when I found out, I was stoked. I'm hoping it is the first of a few posthumous releases.
Bellaire, OH
36 / F - Attached
Posted: 11/14/08 at 01:29 PM 
I love love love Mitch Hedberg!
Hopkins, MN
56 / M - Married
Posted: 12/27/08 at 11:56 AM 
One of the greats. I had no idea this was out, thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Hopkins, MN
56 / M - Married
Posted: 01/28/09 at 05:01 PM 
Finally listened to this.

Seattle, WA
48 / M - Married
Posted: 02/14/09 at 10:17 PM 
mitch was the man. my favorite comedian of all time. it's just too bad his demons caught up with him.
Metro  -  Model
Winnipeg, MB
32 / F - Attached
Posted: 05/01/09 at 11:59 AM 
he is one of my favorite comedians by far
i didnt know this was out
Belleville, NJ
45 / F - Attached
Posted: 05/18/09 at 05:34 PM 
funny funny man, so sad he had to go sooo soon
as big of a loss to comedy as was bill hicks.
JohnDoe  -  Photographer
Fayetteville, NC
M - Married
Posted: 08/14/09 at 05:30 PM 
Jane Doe and I are Big Fans of his.  We got to see him live in Nashville TN just before he died.

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