14 Jokes About Addiction for the Comedy Hall of Fame
As an invisible illness, addiction is one of life’s hardest struggles, like a chain yanking people from healthy and fruitful lives. That said, as they are prone to do, the brightest comedy minds can forge a fantastic joke (or three) out of such a dark subject. While obviously, these comics would rather not have such a daily hurdle in their lives, the ability to take that shit sandwich and not only entertain crowds but to take some of addiction’s power back is a magical thing. (And if you happen to help an audience member figure some personal things out, too, even better.)
From open mics to sold-out stadiums, some of the best bits in comedy revolve around turning the lemons of that battle into lemonade (sometimes literally if they gave up alcohol). With this in mind, today we’re looking at some of the funniest and painfully relatable takes on addiction from the world of comedy...
Mitch Hedberg on Getting Yelled at for Being an Alcoholic
“Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s the only disease that you can get yelled at for having. ‘Damn it, Otto, you’re an alcoholic!’ ‘Damn it, Otto, you have lupus!’ One of those two doesn’t sound right.”
Marc Maron on Being Addicted to Cocaine and Alcohol
“If you’re doing cocaine and drinking, you can stay up for a lot more drinking.”
Wanda Sykes on Cell Phone Addiction
For the 2019 film Jexi, Sykes presented a hilarious yet intriguing argument that cell phone addiction is worse than being addicted to crack. While no one has had a heart attack due to cell phone abuse (yet), she may still have a point.
Erik Myers on Getting Communion While Getting Sober
“My first AA meeting was a Christian AA meeting, and at the end of it, this guy comes out and he’s serving wine. I turn to my sponsor Steve and I’m like, ‘Dude, what the fuck is going on?’ And he’s like, ‘Erik, it’s cool; once they bless the wine, it transforms into the blood of Christ.’ I’m like no shit. Can they bless this bag of cocaine? Officer, this is the dandruff of the Lord!”
Artie Lange on How Exercise Isn’t Like Heroin
Lange appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and discussed about going into rehab for heroin addiction, then working with a trainer afterward to get into shape. However, his trainer made a well-meaning but horrible comparison between using heroin and getting a “runner’s high.”
Christopher Titus on What Got Him Sober
“I finally stopped drinking when I hit 17 years old. Yes, imagine the fuckup I must have been. Stopped drinking because it isn’t really good for your health — and I fell into a bonfire! Yeah, you’re done drinking then. You don’t need AA. Falling into a bonfire is a one-step program.”
John Mulaney on His Intervention
On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mulaney discussed his drug addiction and how his friends confronted him with an intervention, which he immediately recognized as an intervention as soon as he opened the door and saw Meyers. He even immediately said, “Before you all read your letter, I have a drug problem and need help,” just to cut them off and save face.
Jessa Reed on Getting High on Her Meth Pee
During an episode of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, Reed got into detail about her six-year-long meth addiction. It got so bad that she drank her own piss because she read an article saying that meth didn’t break down after being urinated out of the body. The weirdest part of it all was that it worked.
Bill Hicks on America’s Top Drug Tag Team: Caffeine and Alcohol
“If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
Denis Leary on Addiction Control in the 1970s
“People go, ‘Why didn’t you go into rehab?’ We didn’t have rehab back in the ‘70s. Back in the ‘70s, rehab meant you had to stop doing coke, but you kept smoking pot and drinking for a couple more weeks. ‘Give me a case of Budweiser and an ounce; I gotta slow down. Jesus Christ, I’m out of control.’”
Norm Macdonald on the Best Disease
“I want to say something about my one buddy, Richie. He has a disease — he has the disease of alcoholism. And he came to me and he told me, ‘I’m the kind of guy that looks on the bright side of things.’ I told him, ‘Richie, it’s true that you have a disease and everything, but I think you got the best one. It’s the only disease where you can drink booze all the time.’”
Richard Pryor on Freebasing Cocaine and Setting Himself on Fire
During Richard Pryor’s Live on the Sunset Strip, Pryor got into detail about his addictions, specifically about the moment when he freebased cocaine and got lit on fire, causing severe burns on over 50 percent of his body. He blamed his accident on his relationship with “the pipe” and the conversations he had with it. It got so bad that his dealers stopped selling to him.
Robin Williams on Being ‘Ethanol Challenged’
“People go now, ‘Robin, how do I know if I’m an alcoholic?’ Well, as one, let me give you some warning signs. Number one, after a night of heavy drinking, you wake up fully clothed going, ‘Hey! Somebody shit in my pants!’”
Craig Ferguson on When He Got So Drunk He Forgot to Commit Suicide
On the February 20, 2007 edition of The Late Late Show, Ferguson spoke from the heart about how he didn’t want to make fun of anyone anymore for their struggles, based on his own strife and addictions. Ferguson then went into great detail about being so depressed that he planned on jumping off Tower Bridge in London on Christmas, but got so drunk at the pub that he forgot to do it.