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Why Comedian Chris Gethard Is Tackling 'One of the Least Funny Topics There Is'

Why Comedian Chris Gethard Is Tackling 'One of the Least Funny Topics There Is'
From TIME - May 5, 2017

Chris Gethard knows suicide isnt funny.

The comedian, known for hosting his self-titled talk show and playing a variety of oddball characters on TV, struggled with mental illness for nearly 20 years and has even attempted to take his own life. Hes seen the pain the longtime battle has caused his closest loved ones.

Suicide is perhaps one of the least funny topics there is, Gethard, 36, tells TIME.

So when the Broad City actor decided to shelve his best jokes for three years to create a stand-up special centered solely on his experiences fighting depression, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts, he knew he was risking a career hed worked hard to build since his early days as a guest writer for Saturday Night Live.

There is this feeling that we shouldnt talk about this stuff, that it should be kept behind closed doors, and I think those are pretty old-school attitudes, Gethard says. People are needlessly suffering and sometimes dying, and it's such a shame that people choose to remain sick because they feel like they shouldnt talk about it.

The number of youngsters admitted to U.S. childrens hospitals over suicidal thoughts or actions more than doubled in the last 10 years, a new study has found. There have been more than 118,000 such visits at 32 childrens hospitals across the country between 2008 and 2015, according to the new research, which will be presented at this years Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in California this weekend. Dr. Gregory Plemmons, the studys lead author, called the rise alarming and urged for more awareness.

Gethard, a New Jersey native who now lives in New York City, says he used to make surface-level jokes about his anxiety and depression on The Chris Gethard Show. But he never discussed it in-depthup until a message from an anonymous fan in 2012 turned his relatively private life around.

The unnamed fan asked Gethard if the TV host had ever considered killing himself, writing that he or she was in a bad place and needed advice. Gethardin a nearly 7,000-word response posted on the shows Tumblr pagerevealed that he too has had suicidal thoughts, but he told the fan not to lose hope.

The post went viral, and the world soon learned details about Gethards darkest thoughts.

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