Mitch Hedberg, a talented comedian hailing from Minnesota, had a diverse career that encompassed performances in nightclubs, television, and film. Sadly, his life was cut short in New Jersey, as announced by his family. He was only 37 years old.
Hedberg, known for his battle with substance abuse, passed away in a Livingston, N.J. hotel room on Wednesday. While awaiting the official report from the medical examiner, it is believed that the cause of death was heart failure. His mother, Mary Hedberg, revealed that Mitch was born with a heart defect, which often caused him anxiety about his health.
Dispelling rumors surrounding his death, Mary emphasized that the notion of drugs being involved was mere speculation. She acknowledged her son’s history with drug use but stated that it was unknown whether it directly contributed to his passing.
With appearances on renowned shows such as “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Howard Stern Show,” Hedberg became a favorite among audiences. Time magazine even dubbed him “the next Seinfeld.” However, achieving sitcom stardom proved elusive due to his distinctive style of delivering mumbled one-liners, which did not conform to the traditional sitcom format.
Hedberg’s comedy was characterized by absurd and random observations, delivered in a spaced-out, staccato manner. His unkempt, long, dirty blond hair added to his image as a reminiscent of a 1970s stoner.
References to his drug use were common in his acts. Following a May 2003 arrest in Austin, Texas, for felony possession of heroin, he took a hiatus from performing. Hedberg first gained recognition at Minneapolis’ Acme Comedy Co., and his breakthrough came with a Comedy Central special.
While often compared to Steven Wright for his rambling, non-sequitur style, Hedberg dismissed the notion, stating that it was akin to accusing someone of ripping off Pringles by selling their own brand of potato chips in a bag instead of a can.
Among his accomplishments were two popular comedy albums, “Strategic Grill Locations” and “Mitch All Together.” He also made an appearance in the movie “Almost Famous,” sharing a scene with Peter Frampton and pretending to smoke fake marijuana. Additionally, he had a guest role on the hit series “That ’70s Show” on Fox.
Mitch Hedberg is survived by his wife, fellow comedian Lynn Shawcroft, as well as his father and mother, Arne and Mary Hedberg of St. Paul. He also leaves behind his sisters, Wendy Brown of Woodbury, and Angie Anderson of South St. Paul.