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interview

Interview with “Sealion” Bryan Martin

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Today my guest is Bryan Martin, aka Sea Lion Bryan, who is an animal care and training specialist, widower, and fantastic dancer who can be found on TikTok and Instagram @sealionbryan

We talked about:

  • Being with his partner Clayton for four years. After Bryan’s dad passed away, four months later Clayton got a fungal infection and he had an adverse response to the medication that cause acute liver failure. He became Clayton’s caregiver for the following 8 months until he passed away.
  • It wasn’t until 2020 when Bryan noticed how many people were grieving that he felt it was time to share with more people online.
  • Clayton’s wild sense of humor, how it still informs Bryan’s own humor, and why dead husband jokes are funny
  • Why Deadpool is the patron saint of widows
  • Being ghosted on a date after being literally ghosted by your partner
  • Widows laugh because the world is ridiculous
  • The weird connotation widow/er has (it make it sound like we did it)
  • If you’ve used comedy to cope in other areas of your life, you’ll probably use it to cope with grief too
  • Using reverse psychology on the universe to get what you want
  • The difference between positivity and toxic positivity (something Bryan has been accused of)
  • The beauty of authenticity
  • We don’t talk about preparing for death enough because of shame and fear

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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interview

Interview with Mandy Benoualid from TalkDeath and Keeper Memorial

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Today my guest is Mandy Benoualid, the co-founder and editor of the death positive media site and resource TalkDeath, and co-host of the #TalkDeath video series. She is also the founder and President of the online memorial platform and virtual funeral service provider, Keeper, and works with the US Department of Veterans Affairs on the Veterans Legacy Memorial project, memorializing nearly 4 Million American Veterans. Mandy’s work has appeared in national and international publications, she has been a featured presenter at professional funeral and cemetery conferences and was recently featured as an industry innovator by American Funeral Director Magazine.

We talked about:

  • Visiting grandma’s grave, it occurred to her how every person has a story in a cemetery that can’t be communicated on a headstone.
  • How modern deathcare is changing the discussion around death (death positive)
  • TalkDeath is a lot of 20-45 year olds who are gawky nerd girls who want to talk about death
  • Green burial and how the demand for it has been skyrocketing
  • Why sex and death are both taboo topics in western countries
  • A funny story about sitting shiva when Mandy’s grandpa died
  • Impromptu dancing and roasting grandpa (not literally) during the shiva
  • The phrase “celebration of life” and why not everyone appreciates the phrase
  • Using humor to shine a light as opposed to deflect
  • How grieving becomes a part of your identity when you’ve experienced a traumatic loss

TalkDeath

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/talkdeathdaily
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/talkdeathdaily/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/talkdeathdaily

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/u/talkdeath

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Qeepr

Keeper Memorials

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeeperMemorials

Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/KeeperMemorials

Twitter: https://twitter.com/keepermemorials

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/u/keepermemorials

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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interview

Interview with comedian Ben Wasserman

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Today my guest is Ben Wasserman, an alternative standup comedian based in New York who has performed in the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, Laughing Devil Festival, and the New York, Philly, and Burlington Fringe Festivals. His work has also appeared in Vice and Vulture but you may recognize him best from when he painted with his butt on MTV.

We chat about:

Ben’s dad passed away from stage 5 lung cancer about 12 hours before inauguration day in 2017

  • Hosting a comedy show weeks after losing his dad while wearing a shirt that said “My dad died the day T*ump took office”
  • How we can’t help but incorporate our grief into our performance
  • Why loss is unfathomable until you experience it first hand
  • The tendency people have to compare losses (spoiler-they aren’t comparable)
  • Using comedy to cope and how it shouldn’t be a replacement for therapy
  • Using humor to deflect vs cope with your problems
  • Identifying the body (funny story)
  • Being surprised at having the capacity to incorporate grief into comedy
  • How h*rny grief makes people

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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interview

Interview with Maria & Ammo from Philotimo Life

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Today my guests are Maria and Ammo from the podcast Philotimo Life, a podcast that aims to open up the conversation around death in order better come to terms with our own mortality, help us support those grieving, and to live a happier life.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How we as grievers shelter other people from the reality of our feelings
  • People think grief is contagious
  • What it’s like studying thanatology
  • Ammo gives insight into death in Punjabi culture
  • Generational trauma
  • Maria gives insight into her Greek-Canadian upbringing and how that influenced her views on death
  • Not being able to get life insurance as a terminally ill person
  • Being saddled with over $50k in debt as a widow
  • Why dark humor is so taboo in North America
  • Toxic positivity doesn’t allow us to feel anything but happiness
  • The monetization and exploitation of Pride Month
  • Just because something is “better” doesn’t mean it’s “good”

More on Philotimo Life:

Maria’s mom died when she was two. From an early age, she realized that talking about death was a huge no-no because people got really weird about it. As a way to avoid uncomfortable situations, she hardly spoke about her mom– let alone the way the loss impacted her. As she got older, she began to ask herself, “Why aren’t I talking about this? Why aren’t we talking about it?” This is what led to Philotimo Life– a place that breathes life into the conversation around death.

As she was explaining it to Ammo, his response was one of the firsts that wasn’t “that’s kind of morbid.” This led to him joining the project. His approach to the conversation around death was refreshing and helped shape Philotimo into what it is today.

Together, they want you to share your experiences around death with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers, with the goal that we change our policies around bereavement, and how we educate people about life, death, dying, and grief. By opening up this dialogue, they help others embrace the reality that everybody dies, and that’s ok!

https://www.philotimolife.com/about

@philotimolife on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

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

Interview with Comedian Shohana Sharmin

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Today my guest is Shohana Sharmin, a Bangladeshi-Canadian comedian, writer, theatre artist, and host of the podcast, “Finders Grievers.” Shohana is also the creator and a cast member of the critically acclaimed award-winning dark sketch comedy revue “Dead Parents Society.”

  • Shohana lost her mom four years ago when she was just in her 20s and stopped by to talk with me about feeling like other comedians who had lost their parents in their 20s were the ones who understood her (as opposed to peers her own age)
  • toxic positivity and being conditioned to be only happy
  • accepting sadness in order to avoid isolation
  • how weird it is needing to go to the mall right after someone dies (can relate)
  • the process behind writing sketches about death and grieving
  • needing to be in an ok place so your audience isn’t concerned for you
  • how comedy is not a replacement for therapy
  • how we laugh the hardest at things we relate to
  • why therapists always schedule sessions for Tuesday
  • why we’re self-deprecating as comedians (it’s not because we’re confident)
  • recognizing being lucky on the spectrum of support during loss, and how universal death is (at some point, someone you love will die).

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

Interview With Lori Zaspel (MSW,LSW, Death Doula + Content Creator)

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In this episode, I spoke with Lori Zaspel, a licensed social worker and co-founder of the Philly Death Doula Collective, which provides emotional, spiritual, and physical support at the end of life. Lori also works as a geriatric social worker, is studying EMDR, and creates really funny videos surrounding grief on TikTok under the handle @phillydeathdoula.

We talked about what drew Lori to taking an academic approach to grief, how she happily talks about:

  • the three societal taboos (death, sex, and money) with humor
  • why shaming and stigmatizing grievers is harmful
  • how grieving people are going to be shamed regardless of how they choose to cope and the only way to really win is to keep existing
  • how people judgements because of their own death anxiety
  • ghosting grievers
  • why we’re told that it’s culturally inappropriate to talk about death and grief (partially because of the lack of control we have as humans)
  • terror management theory (the higher your death anxiety the more likely you are to be conservative)
  • being able to mark one’s grief process by the type of jokes one is making
  • funny grief stories about having a funeral for a kitten
  • and having the forethought to make a cast of your partner’s member before they die.

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 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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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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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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interview

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.