Thu, 22 January 2015
Comedian Ritch Shydner isn't exactly just a comedian. Yes, he's appeared on The Tonight Show, Letterman and Leno a bunch of times. Sure, he's had HBO specials. Yep, he played Al Bundy's coworker on Married With Children. And of course he's been a working comic for decades. But there's a bunch of other stuff: writing gigs on Roseanne, Titus and The Jeff Foxworthy Show. A book on comedy. And the you-need-to-go-watch-right now documentary I Am Comic where he's the star and folks like Sarah Silverman, Nick Kroll, Jeff Foxworthy, Roseanne and Margaret Cho have cameos.
And now for the substance abuse stuff: Shydner boozed it up for years, dabbling in drugs too, and only stopped when he saw that all the drinking and drugging was sabotaging his comedy career. He got that career back but then, years into sobriety, decided to give up the stage so he wouldn't have to always be on the road away from his family. I Am Comic focuses on his decision to get back on the comedy circuit—a decision that allowed him to get off the meds he'd been on for a decade-and-a-half. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss how cops used to drive you to concerts instead of arresting you for drunk driving, the best way to perform for a Rasta audience (hint: smoke out and then just laugh on stage) and getting heckled by Sean Penn, among other topics.