Alexis, was watching Comedy Central and called to me to join her. I
sat down, looked at the screen, listened to the first joke and was
immediately enthralled. Well, enthralled to the point I laughed so
hard my stomach hurt. I hung on every word this guy said.
this?” I asked her.
Hedberg,” she replied, obviously pleased I finally liked someone she
through his routine in stitches—the kind of good stitches that
repair the mind, heart and soul. The kind of stitches no hospital
As he was
winding down, I asked if he would be playing at any clubs near us.
Didn’t you know that?”
Well, no I
hadn’t known. And the really strange thing was I instantly
mourned. I felt as if I’d lost a friend, yet I’d never met him and
up until the start of listening to his stand-up routine, had never
heard of him. Yet, I’d found a kindred spirit in a man young enough
to be my son.
If you don’t
know Mitch Hedberg’s work, it’s time to pick up a CD or one of his
few recorded DVDs and just enjoy. Yes, the language is a little raw
at times, but if you can get past that, you will laugh years off
your life (there is a reason, you know, that a sage came up
“laughter is the best medicine”).
exactly makes Mitch Hedberg’s stuff funny? Well, first is the
material itself. Observations about real life, how we live
life—both as individuals and as a society. Stringing along a series
of non sequiturs at breakneck speed…comments that bounce from
escalators never really breaking because when they do, they
become…stairs (“Sorry for the convenience”) to non-participating
McDonald’s (“Cheeseburgers?” Nope, don’t got ‘em. We sell
spaghetti. And blankets.”) to irritating race car passengers (“Why
we gotta go around in circles so much?” “You sure like Tide!”).
But it’s more
than just the observations. It’s Mitch’s delivery, his cadence, his
flow. The way he speeds through some syllables, yet draws out
others in a remarkably unique and loping manner. Above all, the
subject matter is daily life and perceptions of things that may have
fleetingly occurred to us at one time, but were never pursued to
fruition in classic Hedberg style.
So, what does
Mitch Hedberg and his style of humor and humorous delivery have to
do with greeting card writing? Well, as my students and readers can
attest, I constantly make the comparison between the cards of 50
years ago and the cards of today…the difference between “seltzer in
your pants/take my wife, please take my wife” humor (and I use the
term humor here lightly) and today’s verses that concentrate
on life in all its glory and all its foibles.
actual subject matter, cadence and flow are vital to the written
verse; knowing that the punch line is often the inside line (but not
always) and leading into that punch line with panache and flair.
And being able to listen to Mitch’s observations that get the
longest, loudest, most sustained laughter is an invaluable gauge in
reading just what people relate to—the thread that connects us all.
discovered there are many Mitch Hedberg fans out there. Many are
like me—heard him for the first time and became instant, devoted
fans. Even though he’s gone, his humor still has the power to make
us laugh. I’ll never eat a cracker or see a pineapple Lifesaver or
drink a Mr. Pibb or think of slip covers (you’ll just have to listen
to his CD to get the references) without him crossing my mind.
communicated his vision of the world so very splendidly. We, as
verse writers, must try constantly to do the same—whether through
our humor or our softer, contemporary prose. Our common humanity
shows up the most through laughter.
And that’s my
Word For Word.
I spoke to
some particularly bright children at the Grantsville Public Library
in Grantsville Maryland on September 12th. I’ve found
children are very visual and since many of today’s greeting cards
depend on a solid interaction between verse and visual to get the
message across, we were definitely on the same page. Thinking of
sheep that said “Baaahhhh” and cows that go “Mooooo” were only
starters. We looked at pictures of lions that may have been
singing, laughing, crying or saying “Aaahhhh” for the doctor and
matched sendable occasions accordingly. I think we may have added
some new, young writers to the greeting card industry.
putting the finishing touches on a verse writing contest we’re
sponsoring here at Greeting Card Writing dot Com and you’ll be
hearing more about that soon. In addition, I was checking over my
website stats last night and was reminded again of all the countries
that visit here. We’ll have a new page soon saluting each country
and asking people from these countries who check into the site to
give us some perspectives on greeting cards in their respective
are coming soon in our Under The White Hot Spot feature and we’ll
post a new interview as well on our Getting To Know You page. I
constantly receive emails from students who are selling their work
and we want to get the word out—there is work out
there—creative, happy, fun work that is very rewarding, not only
spiritually, but monetarily as well.
there are dozens of new affiliates posted throughout the site.
Please continue to check them out—click on them and if any of their
products interest you, please buy through their link on this site.
Again, this site is free to you, but it’s not without cost to me.
We appreciate any and all support and anything we do receive goes
right back into the site. We’ll be adding a cross-reference page to
the site so you can see which pages contain which affiliates.
The first day
of fall was yesterday, yet the leaves have been turning—and
dropping—for some time now. The much-touted “nip” has definitely
been in the air. I had a birthday on the 18th—which I
share with Greta Garbo, Frankie Avalon, Jack Warden and Phyllis Kirk
(she played in TV’s The Thin Man during the 1950s). So, in that
pleasant company, I turned a modest 30 (not really)—well, 30 + 26
and there you are!
care and keep emailing. I love to hear from you.