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Interview with JC Coccoli: A Comedian in Grief

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In this episode, I sat down with comedian JC Coccoli, who you may recognize from shows like “A Comedian in Grief,” “Why” with Hannibal Buress, “Key and Peele,” “Chelsea Lately,” and “Last Comic Standing” to talk about

  • losing her sister to an accidental fentanyl overdose at 34 years old while she was on tour and how difficult it was to write jokes
  • how this was her first real brush with mortality and delving into meditation and sci-fi
  • suffering from poor health during grief and how much luck has to do with survival
  • what led her to create the special “A Comedian in Grief”
  • why the stigma around comedians being unwell isn’t necessarily true and how comedians are philosophers in their own right
  • how comedy helps us process the pain and the anger that comes along with grief
  • taking opposite action
  • the abandonment and secondary losses we experience from those who can’t handle our grief
  • loving addicts without judgement
  • driving around with Dan Levy (creator of Schitt’s Creek), listening to Sia and how he was there for her
  • finding comfort in spirituality, living in the moment, and why we don’t talk about loss and grief.

JC will be performing at Kingfly in Pittsburgh PA at 8:00 pm June 11

To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. The best way you can support the podcast is by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media and by subscribing on your favorite app. And of course we’d also love it if you joined us at Patreon.com/deathishilarious.

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interview

Widow Shame + Not Over Yet: With Tawny & Sam

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First, Tawny drunk posts on her IG stories, why she has ten hoodies that say mutherfckr on them, wanking while depressed, what it means to be experienced “adjacent” when you marry a troublemaker, how widows are shamed regardless of what they do or don’t do, comedy is performative and hyperbolic, dating men who are way out of her league, figuring out that 30 is old, and why going through perimenopause so young is a good thing.

After the commercial, we chat about this week’s Traumology forecast featuring Tammy the Taurus, the Virgo Mary, and Lauren the Taurus

Then, Sam talks about meeting up with friends again, how they cracked the code to get their domestic chickens to be cuddly, pinata parties, acquaintance fairs, 6 post-isolation observations, what it’s like getting crushes at 30+, and why their dog says you can’t hang out with them.

Sam is part of a virtual art show pop up event with a dj and cocktail and mocktail tutorials on June 6th. Tickets are just $10 and automatically enter you to win prizes like coffee, jewelry, Sam’s art, a psychic reading, and more! Find them on IG @pixelpopup

To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. The best way you can support the podcast is by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media and by subscribing on your favorite app. And of course we’d also love it if you joined us at Patreon.com/deathishilarious.

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interview

Snapshots After Loss: Interview with Gracelyn Bateman

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In this episode, I spoke with Gracelyn Bateman, one half of Luna Peak, a foundation focused on creating books and products that elevate the stories of survivors in the grief and cancer communities, celebrate life, and give back.

Gracelyn can also be seen on the foundation’s Instagram account, Snapshots of Life After Loss, which showcases authentic and often humorous grief perspectives.

We chatted about the 5 year anniversary of when Gracelyn suddenly lost her dad, how she’s using her masters degree in sociology from Columbia to study the grief process, her professional opinion on using dark humor to cope, Luna Peak’s “The Grief Workbook” (a silly way to unpack your grief, reflective prompts funeral week bingo, loss word puzzle, and word search for condolences), how nerve wracking it was to step into the grief space, what it was like posting funny memes about grief on Instagram, the importance of representation and multiculturalism in grieving spaces, why we need to share our grief to open the door to broader conversations about coping mechanisms, how often grievers are silenced for laughing, surrounding yourself with people who understand, and the awkwardness of telling the cashier at REI your dad is dead.


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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One Year Anniversary Special

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*If you’re new to the show, this is a great place to start! *

I’ve been creating the podcast Death Is Hilarious for a year now. If you’re new to the podcast,  It’s a show that explores how we as comedians and creatives use comedy and dark humor to cope with grief through storytelling and jokes.

All together, I’ve produced over 100 podcast episodes to date. So in honor of all of this and many other milestones I mention in the show,  I’d like to share with you some of my favorite moments from the past 35 episodes that have given me hope, perspective, and laughter.

This episode features

Michael Drane

(professor at Antioch University and host of Unpopular Culture Podcast)

Glen Tickle

(stand-up comedian, “Good Grief”)

Rich Kiamco

(stand-up comedian, Bravo’s “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,” Netflix/Buzzfeed’s “Follow This,” and the Broadway Comedy Club)

Reagan J. Pasternak

(Actress seen in HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, Syfy’s “Wynonna Earp,” Netflix/HULU/HBO’s “Being Erica”, BET’s “Ms. Pat,” and author of “Griffin’s Heart: Mourning Your Pet With No Apologies – A Memoir, Healing Journal, and Keepsake”)

Shyni

(Lipstick Laundry Podcast)

Lisa Keefauver

(MSW and host of the podcast “Grief is a Sneaky B!tch”).


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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Where’s the Grief? Interview With Comedian Jordon Ferber

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In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jordon Ferber, stand-up comedian from New York who has performed at Carolines, the Gotham Comedy club, Madison Square Garden, and on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He’s also the creator of the podcast “Where’s The Grief?” where he interviews other comedians and creatives about the tragic losses they’ve experienced. Jordon and I talked about how he coped as a comedian when his brother passed away in a car accident at the age of 21, his work facilitating a siblings group with the Manhattan chapter of Compassionate Friends, what kind of cake his brother would have wanted at his funeral, and the kind of people who make jokes when grieving. 


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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Grief in Comedy: Interview With Stand-Up Comedian Chris Calogero

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Today my guest is Chris Calogero, a standup comedian from New Jersey who lives in Brooklyn and has been featured in the “NY Times,” “Funny or Die,” “Paste Magazine,” and “Good Morning America Day.” Chris is also the host of the podcast “Mourning Coffee,” where he interviews other comedians about their experiences with grief—how it affects their personal lives as well as their comedy.

We talk about Chris’ initial reaction of “I don’t know if I can ever do comedy again,” to doing a set with dark and heavy punchlines and discovering that stand-up just might be the way he is able to make his way through the grief, how comedians aren’t well, how the impulse to do comedy seems hard to break unless you decide to become embittered and entitled by it, needing the audience to know that you’re ok and won’t break down on stage, why we share about our grief publicly, how lonely grief makes you feel, toxic positivity, how getting laughs on stage is validating where relatability is concerned, then conversely when relatability doesn’t matter when it comes to quality, how we’re watching many of our fellow millennials turn into angry old boomers who hate the younger generation, how comedians dig in their heels when it comes to change, how 28 might as well be as old as 70, the intoxicating feeling of superiority, our favorite grief jokes, and how people think you aren’t allowed to experience joy while grieving.


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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Good Grief: Interview With Stand-Up Comedian Glen Tickle

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In this episode, I had the absolute privilege of speaking with Glen Tickle, standup comedian, writer, husband, father, and the creator of one of my favorite specials of all time, “Good Grief.”  

We talked about what it’s like being in comedy while faced with loss, writing jokes about grief because it’s the only thing you want to talk about, learning how to play to the audience, Buckaroo Banzai, how 100 people can be in a room and if 99 are having a good time but 1 person isn’t, that’s the person a performer will focus on, how being unable to stop making jokes about uncomfortable topics isn’t new, when making jokes about tragedies doesn’t go over well (like Gilbert Gottfried), how comedians can make jokes about their personal tragedies but not other people’s tragedies (like Tig Notaro), the incredibly dumb things people say to those in grief, how you should only say “let me know if you need anything at all” if you really mean it, how your kids prepare you for hecklers, how surprised Glen was to find others who used humor to cope, and how therapy is just a place to have your material reviewed.

And be sure to upvote Good Grief to be added to Hulu here – If it gets 100 votes Hulu reviews the request!


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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Widowed By Covid: Interview With Comedian Rich Kiamco

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Today my guest is stand-up comedian Rich Kiamco who you may recognize from Bravo’s Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Netflix in the Buzzfeed’s “Follow This,” and the Broadway Comedy Club, just to name a few things from his impressive resume. Rich’s partner Sandy Gunar was diagnosed with covid on February 7th 2021 and passed away on March 16th, just 19 days ago from when we chatted.
We chatted about being afraid to fall in love with someone who might die in the future, being codependent with your partner, dating as a gay man before grindr on Edwina (“I’m ancient!”), having enough self-love and self-loathing to eat well, Dolph Lundgren (the Soviet boxer from Rocky), how Rich met Sandy (several times!) before they finally got together, how rebounding is like being on the Titanic, how past traumas prime you for widowhood, blaming yourself for your partner’s death, being descended from trauma survivors (Rich’s parents lived in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation during World War II), PTSD infused gratitude, incorporating grief into your comedy, using wit for self-preservation (particularly as a gay kid in high school), and doing comedy on zoom during covid.


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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The Neck Up : With Lisa Keefauver MSW & Host of Grief is a Sneaky B!tch

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Grief is a Sneaky Bitch podcast creator, host, and fellow widow Lisa Keefauver MSW (reimagininggrief.com) joins me to chat about what inspired the title of her show, what it means to “live from the neck up,” how the lonely and puritanical- Judeo-Christian-capitalist-suck it up-pull yourself up by your bootstraps way of grieving in the United States does everyone a severe disservice, way “good vibes only” is bs, welcoming in uncomfortable emotions, taking comedy seriously (we see the irony), creating tension by simply being the widow in the room, feeling pressured to not bring everyone down with your mood during grief, making sure you don’t stay locked into coping strategies, staying up all night watching comedy in order to deal with grief, our mutual love for John Stewart, the shitty things people say to try to “fix” your grief, getting hit on at my husband’s funeral, and “widow rules.”


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.

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Death, Comedy, and Art: Interview With Artist Stormy Gail

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Stormy Gail is an artist who creates big mood and dark humor pieces of art like comics and pins that focus on skeletons, death, depression, and trauma and is also a member of the Dead Parent Club. Find her work at stormygailart.com


In this episode, Stormy and I talked about caring for her terminally ill mother, feeling pressured to make others comfortable with how we deal with grief, the graphic images burned into our brains from being with the bodies of our loved ones, the judgement we get for coping publically and online by others who have not experienced grief, trauma, or loss, how our experiences influence our art, how people don’t view comedy as a legitimate art form, how trauma makes you funny, how much we love comedian Mimi Hayes, our therapists using us for our comedy, how creating art while caring for her mother in the ICU changed Stormy’s life, sluttery being hereditary, and why she draws skeletons instead of bunny rabbits (hint: it’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas’” fault).


To get in touch, email deathishilarious@gmail.com. You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at patreon.com/deathishilarious, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.