Despite dying from a drug overdose in 2005, Mitch Hedberg remains one of the most popular and influential comedians today. Stand-ups, comedy writers and other entertainers have credited the late wordsmith’s ability to write and perform one-liners and goofy stories as their inspiration to break into the business. And yet, Hedberg only has three albums to his name. (Strategic Grill Locations and Mitch All Together were released in 1999 and 2003, whereas Do You Believe in Gosh? came out posthumously in 2008.) Thanks to his widow, the comedian Lynn Shawcroft, that’s all about to change.
According her recent guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Shawcroft has spent the past eight months removing “the film and tapes and notes in three big iron safes in a cabin we had in the mountains” and “digitizing everything” with the help of a Los Angeles company. And from the sound of it, it seems she stored a significant amount of her husband’s unreleased material:
Mitch was constantly jotting ideas onto paper. I have boxes and boxes of his notebooks, envelopes stuffed with hotel pads and scribbled-on napkins. I even found an airplane barf bag covered with notes. When he wasn’t writing, he was talking into a microcassette recorder, so I also have boxes of microtapes of him practicing and perfecting his material — material that’s never been heard. And then there’s the footage. Mitch and I shot four of his shows on 16mm. That’s enough for a brand-new concert film. And there’s other film Mitch shot himself, with his voiceover. Enough for a documentary. A documentary that he could narrate himself!
Shawcroft claims she has been “approached by directors who ask me to hand over everything,” but insists on doing it herself. “I think I’m finally ready to become a better widow,” she concludes the column. “And that means at some point soon, all of you will be hearing and seeing Mitch again. And I’m betting he’ll still make you look at the world in a slightly different way.”
How and when Hedberg’s unreleased material — be it unused audio recordings for another posthumous comedy album, concert film footage for a new special or a documentary — remains to be seen. If Shawcroft was willing to write something for a publication like THR, however, it’s a good bet we’ll be seeing or hearing something soon.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)