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Death Is Hilarious

Behind The Show

Tawny’s Story

I married George – my soulmate, best friend, and the love of my life – in August 2016. We then started an audio production and entertainment company together. He was the editor and I was the voice-over talent.

We released the Dirty Bits Podcast in 2017 and were transitioning into producing the show full-time by the following year.

But George was terminally ill. He was born with a congenital heart condition (he had a single ventricle anatomy similar to hypoplastic left heart syndrome). This came with multiple comorbid conditions, one of which eventually led George to contract a respiratory disease similar to tuberculosis (mycobacterium avium complex) when he was just 29. He passed away due to related complications on November 8, 2019.

In the six months leading up to his death, George was mostly homebound, on 5 liters of oxygen, and I was practicing social distancing. But we were together. It didn’t matter that I only left the house to do the grocery shopping and walk our little dog. I was with George and we were in comedy together. If he had been healthy, it would have been a pretty perfect life.

When he abruptly died in our home, I was overwhelmed by the grief and the isolation that comes with mourning the loss of your soulmate.

The only thing that’s been able to give me any relief has been comedy.

George and I shared a dark sense of humor. It’s what we used to cope with our often dark reality. Because if you can laugh at death, trauma, and tragedy you can take away much of its power.

So I started using our comedy podcast in order to cope. I began interviewing other podcasters and creatives on how they were using dark humor to get through their grief, loss, and trauma. These episodes were the beginning of what is now Death Is Hilarious.

I wasn’t able to take the time to plan out the transition of this podcast from the Dirty Bits to Death is Hilarious like I wanted to. It’s been largely experimental and my listeners have been witness to what seems like a behind the scenes look into how I navigate my grief using various art forms like writing, stand-up comedy, podcasting, and performing.

It’s taken a few months and a few different formats to find my footing. And while I’ve had many different creative partners on this journey with me, one of the most consistent partners has been my dear friend, Sam.

We went to high school together and have worked on many artistic projects together since around 2007. Sam was also the mutual friend who set up George and me!

George’s death has been really hard for Sam too and we began coping by channeling our grief into comedy… specifically by writing each other funny letters about how we’re dealing with not only death and loss, but other traumas in our lives. Those letters are something I’d like to share with you on this show, Death is Hilarious, in addition to interviews with our special guests from your favorite podcasts, YouTube channels, and more.

I hope you too can find some healing and relief in our version of radical acceptance – with stories, friendship, and lots of jokes.

Tawny Platis
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“Alien” and “Wid-hoe’d:” With Tawny and Sam

Note: This was recorded a few days before Tawny was admitted to the hospital with what she thought was a kidney issue. She’s home now, doing well, and will give a happy update on next week’s episode! Thank you so much for your kind understanding. 

In this episode:

“I laid out the whole being independent thing and how I’m not resistant if I hit it off with someone in my life but I’m also not looking. And I shit you not, my therapist,  this little Russian woman, goes, “Ah, you stopped thinking with your dick. Good. ” – Tawny

“Look, I don’t know how to say this nicely, but my mom doesn’t suck. And I get that most moms suck because their moms suck. And my grandma doesn’t suck either. I don’t know who was the last matriarch in my family to suck, but somewhere down the line, someone broke the cycle.” – Sam

“I’m not here for the small talk, folks. I’m here to discuss life’s big, nihilistic-leaning questions.” – Tawny

“A wise person on tiktok once told me, “Anxiety is just conspiracy theories about yourself.” – Sam

“Like… do you know there’s a name for what I did after my husband died? It’s called Wid-hoe’d.” – Tawny

“A few of my friends were in on the alien thing too, and we had secret hand signs and a whole shared mythology and magical rituals and oh my god I was a cult leader.” – Sam

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letters

“America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!”

In this episode:

  • ” We got a question that got some attention in one of our discussion groups. Katie M., asked, “Why do white people think they deserve peace after all we have done to people of color?” – Tawny
  • “I’ve been learning about a little something called the theory of constructed emotion in the book “how emotions are made” by Dr. Lisa Feldmen Barrett. I’m going to do my best to make summarizing neuroscience entertaining, but if I fail, you can find her Ted Talk.” – Sam
  • “While I can’t give you the answer to this question in its entirety, I can let you know what the history and research says about how those of us who are white progressives can talk to our not so progressive family and friends about racism. So this is my dirty bit of history on civil unrest and white entitlement in the United States.” – Tawny
  • “And now, for some comic relief, I invite you to laugh at the tragicomedy that is my life. The rest of this letter has a three act structure.  ACT ONE: (ANXIETY IS HILARIOUS)  So, one way to get a COVID test is to schedule a surgery. Oh yes, I got my surgery. I am super, super grateful that I got my surgery to remove my fallopian tubes and affirm my identity as someone who never wants to get pregnant. But this wouldn’t be my life if I didn’t have to go through a fucking ordeal over it. “ – Sam
  • “So that’s why a bunch of Bostonians were like, “Nope, throw that shit in the river.” But when they do this, England goes, “I’m taking away all of your privileges. Self government? Gone. Boston Commerce? Gone. Nintendo Switch? Gone.” And how did the good people of the 13 colonies respond? They went, “The actions are intolerable! They are Intolerable Acts!” and then, oh hey, they started protesting. Like, they burned down a whole damn ship that was carrying tea in Annapolis.” – Tawny
  • “I knew if I woke up convinced that I died, I probably didn’t die. I mean, I’d probably know that anyway, because I don’t believe in an afterlife, but they were going to be giving me pretty strong drugs so anything was possible.” – Sam
  • “Like, straight up, Samuel Adams said in response to the Boston Tea Party, and I quote, “Hells yes! Brew that tea in the river and serve it! This is a protest and there’s no other option when it comes to defending our constitutional rights! Suck my dick, FUCK the police!” – Tawny
  • “ACT TWO: PAINMAGGEDON – I woke up feeling great one morning, and hadn’t even taken my pain medicine yet. I thought, I’ll make myself some breakfast while my partner sleeps in. He deserved it after fetching me water, cookies, and more cookies for the last 36 hours.” – Sam
  • “So a bunch of angry white guys storm the dissecting room and see a ton of bodies in various stages of mutilation, which makes them even angrier, so they pick up these various body pieces and start holding them up to the windows to the rest of the 2000 person mob outside, like, “Look at this fucked up shit they’re doing!” – Tawny
  • “The oatmeal sat in the microwave for about 20 seconds while I finished my imaginary conversation between my anxiety and my sassy coping mechanisms. Then, I got hit with a massive cramp. I abandoned my oatmeal to crawl into bed.” – Sam
  • “Posting snarky memes and berating someone doesn’t endear that person to your message. I would know because it’s my go-to move and it’s zero percent effective.” – Tawny
  • “One, I am eating raspberry chocolate oatmeal. It’s red like blood and truly a poor choice when you’re trying not to worry about bleeding out and dying. Two, watching my partner clean up after me, I think, wow, he would make a great dad. And he’ll never be one. That’s hilarious.” – Sam
  • “This is an area enmeshed with conservative evangelical christian leaning values – which means, you can eat bacon and watch rated R movies but grandma can’t come over anymore if she has a girlfriend, and terminating a pregnancy is the equivalent to using an infant as target practice at the beloved shooting range.” – Tawny
  • “Gotta jump on that sweet sweet surgery train before it leaves the station. And because who knows what the fuck is going to happen to my Healthcare as the evil oompa loompa and his terrifying cronies continue to trample on our rights.” – Sam

More Episodes

"Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam Death Is Hilarious

  1. "Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam
  2. " Widow Brain" and "Bird Bird:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. Part 2 – “America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!” With Tawny and Sam
Categories
Resources

Black Lives Matter

We’d like to take this opportunity to use our platform in order to encourage you to listen to and support Black voices. If you need references, we’ve made this list of resources with the kind help of Masha from the podcast, Bold Adulting.

Pride Flags

  • Pride Flag SD: Queer owned and run! All flags are made with sustainably sourced American materials by hand by a team of 7. Located in our hometown of San Diego. Follow them on Instagram too, where you can follow their progress as they donate to different queer BIPOC organizations @PrideFlagSD
  • DCHomos: Inclusive Pride Flags (The popularity and reach online has given DCHomos the ability to fundraise for many local non-profits and organizations as well as become involved in sponsoring and hosting events such as the Ask Rayceen Show, events for The DC Center, H.I.P.S., and Trans Latinx DMV, Casa Ruby, SMYAL, Whitman Walker, Time Out Youth (NC) and many more. DCHomos has made a commitment to continue to uplift and amplify marginalized voices in the DC community and beyond. DCHomos really tries to keep their prices low because visibility and accessibility is important. And they’re wonderfully helpful and responsive!)

Resources

Categories
letters

“Rats” and “Seven Year Anniversary”

In this episode:

  • “Glue traps are fucked up. Never in my childhood had my anti-pesticide, anti-poison, clean the house with vinegar, hippies-that-take-showers kind of parents ever used glue traps. The battle against the rodents must have taken a desperate turn for them to resort to this kind of weapon.” – Sam
  • “So anyway, the point is really that  my husband would be the kind of guy to have faked his own death…. and I did wonder for a couple of weeks if he was going to send me some encrypted message from Costa Rica with instructions on how to join him with Babbs.” – Tawny
  • “Now, crickets must die because they disturb my slumber, but I hate hate hate squishing them. And for some reason, killing ants is not a big deal. But I’ve never had to put down a mammal, even to end its own misery. ” – Sam
  • “I find comfort in thinking, “Well, at least, this is great material,” as I continue to observe all the chaos and drama around me. That’s not to say my life is purely dead husbands and PTSD induced flashbacks of his body on our kitchen floor…. ” – Tawny
  • “I instinctively knew that pretending to be a stand up comedian was going to keep me from having PTSD flashbacks about this.” – Sam
  • “Now, like many others who were quarantined whilst living alone, COVID has worsened my already existing case of “deprived and thirsty bitch syndrome.” So when I heard a dude’s voice go, “Hey,” you can bet your sweet socially distanced ass that I stopped to see who was talking to me.” – Tawny
  • “A bokken is a wooden practice sword. Duct tape a hammer to it, and this device of destruction is probably a remnant of my little brother, who like most little brothers, likes to make weapons.” – Sam

More Episodes

"Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam Death Is Hilarious

  1. "Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam
  2. " Widow Brain" and "Bird Bird:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. Part 2 – “America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!” With Tawny and Sam
Categories
letters

“My Frodo Baggins” and “The Little Mermaid”

In this episode:

  • “Or maybe I was just corrupted by the Satanic Bible on that fateful night and that’s why Laura Ingraham started to sound like an idiot to my awakening teenage brain.” – Tawny
  • “Our theme is coping with grief and trauma using humor, and, well, a lot of the trauma I have to joke about, isn’t what people want to hear. I even texted you that the rest of my trauma isn’t funny. I texted YOU, the widow. Like, your husband dying isn’t funny. What was I thinking? “ – Sam
  • “Today marks the six month anniversary of George’s death. It also marks the three years since George and I debuted the Dirty Bits Podcast, which was the show originally found on this podcast feed. We produced the show together after I used to crack him up by summarizing whatever history book or other nerd article I was reading at the time in my best southern Californian take.” – Tawny
  • “People don’t want to joke about death either! You’ve noticed that – the ways they try to tell you that you’re grieving wrong. But there are plenty of batman is an orphan jokes and far fewer touching on the fact that, you know, the Joker abused Harley. Birds of Prey was fun, by the way. But I’m slightly biased because I really like birds. Also, I was disappointed there were no birds.” – Sam
  • “I soon fell into a deep fangirl obsession with all things Peter Jackson and Tolkien but I directed a large amount of my attention to Elijah Wood’s depiction of Frodo, who was the Timothy Chalamet and Adam Driver of 2003. And by that I mean, these are the men you’re attracted to when you don’t quite yet realize you’re attracted to lesbians.” – Tawny
  • “It was the natural place to be after my Christian phase. Which was a solid move, by the way. Like, I didn’t want to keep having sex with my dickhead boyfriend, so I became Christian. Genius! Christians aren’t allowed to have sex! I just took everything my parents taught me about skepticism and progressive thought and threw it into the baptism pool so I could be a born again incel. “ – Sam

More Episodes

"Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam Death Is Hilarious

  1. "Alien" and "Wid-hoe'd:" With Tawny and Sam
  2. " Widow Brain" and "Bird Bird:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. Part 2 – “America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!” With Tawny and Sam