The Hilarious World of Depression

American Public Media

+66 FANS

A show about clinical depression...with laughs? Well, yeah. Depression is an incredibly common and isolating disease experienced by millions, yet often stigmatized by society. The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, ...Show More

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Reggie Osse Puts It Together

51:05 | Jan 15th, 2018

In one of the last interviews he gave, Reggie Osse, aka Combat Jack, talks about the connection between the status of the African-American man in contemporary society, the changing role of masculinity in hip-hop culture, and mental health. Osse was a...Show More

2: Maria Bamford Talks Bipolar II While Her Pugs Eat Nilla Wafers

37:15 | Dec 19th, 2016

For some people, treating depression is a matter of going to a doctor or therapist, maybe getting some meds, and then feeling better. For comedian and actress Maria Bamford, the path to doing better was way longer and more complicated. She shares her...Show More

John Green Falls Victim to Some Bad Fiction While Writing His New Book

56:39 | Oct 16th, 2017

Author John Green had one of the best-selling books of the last 10 years with The Fault In Our Stars. The problem is, when you write an acclaimed smash hit, everyone wants you to somehow do it again. In attempting to write that follow-up, Green went ...Show More

5: Andy Richter on Youthful Melancholy and Twisted Entertainers

42:01 | Jan 9th, 2017

It's not exactly normal for a 5-year-old kid to listen to Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water over and over and over, but Andy Richter didn't know that. It felt natural to him. The actor and longtime comedic accompanist to Conan O'Brien re...Show More

Aimee Mann Discovers That Having Feelings About Terrible Things Is Perfectly Fine

50:03 | Oct 23rd, 2017

Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann has a reputation for making music that is raw, emotional, and sometimes not all that cheerful. In real life, she's perfectly cheerful - thank you very much - and has traveled a long road of depression, anxiety, a difficul...Show More

Neal Brennan Gives Ketamine and Magnetic Impulses a Try

50:47 | Oct 9th, 2017

If you've enjoyed any comedy in the last 20 years, there's a good chance Neal Brennan helped make it. He's a veteran comic, writer, director, and co-creator, with Dave Chappelle, of the acclaimed Chappelle's Show. Over the past 20-plus years, he's al...Show More

Wil Wheaton Is Really Hoping It's All Worth It

49:07 | Sep 25th, 2017

Wil Wheaton was a child star in Stand By Me, a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager, and has been trying to figure out his role in show business for a long time since then. He was dealing with the pressures of fame and the fickle t...Show More

PLACEBO: Imagine Depression as a Person and Describe Them

13:23 | Aug 28th, 2017

What if clinical depression was not just a thing in someone's brain but an actual other person entirely? What would they look like? Act like? Who would they be? And how would you interact with such a person? It's a mental exercise that many find help...Show More

PLACEBO: The Things We Tell Ourselves That Help

13:04 | Jul 5th, 2017

There are many ways to address depression: therapy, meds, exercise, music. And then there are our own thoughts. We learn the mantras, reminders, and rituals that some of our listeners use to get through it when Clinny D flares up.

9: Paul F. Tompkins Sees Dead Grass and Has Screwed Up Relationships

53:52 | Feb 6th, 2017

Comedian and actor Paul F. Tompkins is known for being friendly and delightful both on stage and off. And that's pretty surprising given that he grew up in a home where his parents slept in separate rooms, each likely struggling with undiagnosed and ...Show More

8: Baron Vaughn and His Inadvisable All-Cheerio Diet

45:35 | Jan 30th, 2017

The life of a professional comedian and actor can be glamorous at times. You get recognized, go to the occasional celebrity party, maybe have a lot of strangers know your name. But it didn't feel all that swanky to Baron Vaughn when he was holed up i...Show More

Impostor Syndrome: True Tales, Tricks, and Tactics for When You're Feeling Fraudulent

38:54 | Aug 27th, 2018

You know the feeling, right? You finally achieve something -- a new job, a promotion, an award -- and while you know you should be proud, you just feel like a big phony who will soon be exposed. You feel like you don't really belong there and you sus...Show More

Margaret Cho Works Out A Lot And Makes People Upset In New Jersey

41:18 | Oct 2nd, 2017

She's one of the most influential and innovative comedians of the last few decades, but before all that, Margaret Cho was a Korean-American girl growing up in the 1970s in San Francisco. We hear about the sometimes very darkly humorous ways her famil...Show More

PLACEBO: How to Get Help

23:58 | Aug 15th, 2017

If you are having problems with your mental health, please get help. You've heard that before on this show and probably plenty of other places as well. But how do you actually do that? How do you go about finding professional help to get things on a ...Show More

PLACEBO: Hitting the Nail on the Head

13:10 | Jul 31st, 2017

Depression can be really hard to define, making it difficult for anyone who doesn't have it to be understand it. And that can make the people who do have it feel that much more alone. We asked our listeners what movie, TV show, artwork, or other piec...Show More

PLACEBO: John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats on where all that coping music comes from

23:20 | Jul 17th, 2017

When we asked listeners about their favorite songs to listen to while battling depression, The Mountain Goats' music kept coming up. We caught up with the band's founder, singer, and songwriter, John Darnielle, to learn about what goes into his proce...Show More

PLACEBO: Vol. 2 of Listeners' Favorite Coping Songs

21:49 | Jun 19th, 2017

When clinical depression, the ol' Clinny D, starts getting the best of our listeners, a lot of them reach for the headphones to fire up some choice tunes. We take another spin through the therapeutic playlist and hear from The Beach Boys, the Gratefu...Show More

PLACEBO: Listeners' Favorite Coping Songs

16:05 | Jun 5th, 2017

We asked our listeners to tell us about the songs they use when depression is hitting hard. Take a listen to some of the responses, both the songs themselves and the stories behind them in this highly musical trip through the jukebox that is Clinny D...Show More

PLACEBO: Coping Ideas From a Real Live Sad Clown

13:35 | May 22nd, 2017

More ideas from listeners for unusual methods they used to address their depression that actually worked. We've heard a wide variety of ideas from all over the world, including Jonna Nummela of Helsinki, Finland who tells about her clown alter-ego wh...Show More

PLACEBO: A Conversation with Ana Marie Cox

1:20:08 | May 5th, 2017

It's a crossover conversation between The Hilarious World of Depression's John Moe and Ana Marie Cox, host of the podcast "With Friends Like These." Both shows traffic in the idea of having more conversations about things that don't get talked about ...Show More

PLACEBO: The Return of Peter Sagal

11:38 | Apr 10th, 2017

Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! was our guest on the very first episode of our podcast. He used the occasion to break a long silence and tell the world that he's struggled with depression, the first time he had told anyone othe...Show More

PLACEBO: Billy Joel, Intrusive Thoughts Named Steve, and Nocturnal Carpentry

16:39 | Mar 13th, 2017

THWoD stops by to say hello with a mini-episode. A not-really-an-episode. A placebo. Instead of talking to professional comedians, host John Moe talks to some listeners of the show about their surprisingly amusing tales of struggling with depression....Show More

7: Jen Kirkman, Bad Therapy, Good Therapy, and Nuclear Invasion

42:47 | Jan 23rd, 2017

Before she was a successful LA comic with a new Netflix special, Jen Kirkman was a somewhat confused kid growing up in Boston. Hear how she got screwed up by nuclear war anxiety, found her calling in comedy, and ultimately learned to leverage her cre...Show More

6: Supershow! Eight Comedians! One Chronic Mental Illness!

45:44 | Jan 16th, 2017

When it comes to struggles with depression, everyone's story is different. But a lot of the time, the stories can be pretty similar. In this episode, we point out some common themes that seem to rise up in a whole lot of conversations with comedians....Show More

4: Dick Cavett Tells Tales of Hollywood's Secret Shame

34:54 | Jan 2nd, 2017

Just about everyone who mattered in the '60s and '70s hung out with Dick Cavett. His talk shows were hilarious, candid, and culturally vital. They were snarky before David Letterman ever hit the air, and sharp before Jon Stewart showed up on anyone's...Show More

3: Sam Grittner Finds a Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Suicide

39:33 | Dec 26th, 2016

It was an otherwise ordinary May morning when Sam decided it was the right time to die. In some ways it was a surprising decision. He had managed to kick most of the substance abuse problems that he had wrestled with for years. Oxy, ecstasy, crack, h...Show More

1: Peter Sagal Opens Up

38:11 | Dec 12th, 2016

The longtime host of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me has battled depression for much of his life but has never gone public with that struggle until now. Sagal recently went through what was for him a very painful and very messy divorce. He shares how...Show More

0: The Hilarious World of Depression - coming soon!

03:47 | Nov 30th, 2016

A sneak preview of some of the voices you'll hear on the upcoming season of The Hilarious World of Depression. Host John Moe talks to some of the top names in comedy, who share candid conversations about their experience with depression and have a fe...Show More

Solomon Georgio Is Doing Better

48:07 | Dec 24th, 2018

It's not easy to pinpoint where L.A.-based comedian Solomon Georgio is "from." His family is Ethiopian but he was born in a refugee camp in Sudan. The family traveled to St Louis, then on to Fresno, where he was bullied so much in 2nd grade that he t...Show More

Jonny Sun Ended Up Here Somehow

47:30 | Dec 17th, 2018

The idea was to become an engineer or maybe an architect. Jonny Sun has degrees in both, and he's a dissertation away from a doctorate in urban studies and planning from MIT. But a phenomenally humane, funny, and popular Twitter account has placed hi...Show More

Naomi Ekperigin Brings In Her Baggage, Unpacks It

48:58 | Dec 10th, 2018

"There's a lot to unpack, John," says comedian, actor, and writer Naomi Ekperigin during the course of this interview and indeed there is. The New York native, now uneasily dwelling in Los Angeles, has dealt with anxiety, depression, a very complicat...Show More

Check-Ups on Gary Gulman, Linda Holmes, Janelle James, and "Steve." Plus, Sock Opportunities

48:55 | Dec 3rd, 2018

Mental health is a journey. Rarely does someone have a problem, fix it completely, and never worry about it again. On this episode, we touch base with three popular guests we've had on the show to see how they're doing today. Gary Gulman has a new le...Show More

Aparna Nancherla Is Having a Harder Time Doing Something She's Great At

43:54 | Nov 26th, 2018

It's pretty easy to be a fan of Aparna Nancherla. Not only does she create incredibly funny, smart, relatable comedy, she does so in a variety of formats. You can catch her standup on Netflix or Spotify and you can see her acting work on shows like "...Show More

John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo Don't Need Your Suggestions For Their Life Improv

50:38 | Nov 19th, 2018

In a whole lot of ways, improv comedy is the opposite of depression. It requires you to be present in the moment, unconcerned about past regrets and future anxieties. It means connecting with other people and taking fun risks. And it's full of laughs...Show More

Adventures in Therapy

37:54 | Nov 12th, 2018

True stories of beautiful epiphanies and majestic, horrible disasters. Talk therapy is one of the most popular ways to address depression and it's one of the most effective. Still, at its root, talk therapy is a relationship between two humans -- str...Show More

Guy Branum Goes to Minnesota, Gets Good Internet, Finds Self

43:42 | Nov 5th, 2018

Comedian and writer Guy Branum was expected to be a construction worker his whole life. Maybe a football player. He was large, strong, and grew up in a town more known for agriculture than metropolitan sophistication. After scoring good grades and pi...Show More

The Hilarious NIGHT of Depression

1:18:26 | Oct 29th, 2018

Our show took to the stage recently for a live event packed with laughter, insight, and music. We were joined by Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, and Ana Marie Cox, who all shared their experience with mental illnesses as well as what it's like...Show More

Words: Am We Uses Them Good At Mental Health?

45:21 | Oct 22nd, 2018

Finding and using the right words for something as complex as mental illnesses can be exasperating. And it can take a lot of effort to avoid the wrong words. In this episode, using words, we explore terms like "crazy" or "addiction" or "depression" a...Show More

Scott Thompson Keeps Getting Back Up Again

53:21 | Oct 15th, 2018

He's a writer, a stand-up comedian, and an actor, but Scott Thompson will likely always be best known as one of five members of The Kids in the Hall, one of the best sketch comedy groups ever. Scott has made a lot of people laugh, but his life has be...Show More

Chris Gethard Does Not Avoid the Collision

52:57 | Oct 8th, 2018

Comedian and actor Chris Gethard has a lifetime of experience with depression. Chris has turned moments of his life dealing with the illness into an off-Broadway show and an HBO special, which is more than one might expect from a fight-prone, often m...Show More

Figuring Out Regular Adolescent Behavior vs. Alarming Disorder with Jen Kirkman

53:23 | Oct 1st, 2018

Young people can be morose, angry, withdrawn. It's often chalked up to being a "phase," a natural initiation ritual to adulthood. What if it's not? What if it's a mental disorder in need of help? We hear from the always-entertaining comedian and writ...Show More

Neko Case Leaves Bad Places, Goes to Better Places

51:59 | Sep 24th, 2018

Long before Neko Case was known as one of the top singer-songwriters working today, she was a punk teenager running around the streets of Tacoma, having ditched a neglectful and dangerous house. Fortunately for her and her eventual fans, she got her ...Show More

Your Amazing Therapeutic Jukebox

52:28 | Sep 17th, 2018

We asked you, our listeners, for the songs that help you most when depression is really acting up, and the stories behind those picks. On this episode hear stories about and music from Leonard Cohen, Bjork, Neil Young, Radiohead and so much more. We ...Show More

Mortified's Dave Nadelberg Presents Your Shame Live On Stage

40:36 | Sep 10th, 2018

You can think of Dave Nadelberg's vast Mortified project as The Hilarious World of Embarrassment, Awkwardness, and Redemption. Through stage presentations, film, TV, and books, Dave invites people to share their most mortifying writing. It's very fun...Show More

Open Mike Eagle Goes Outside And Meets People

50:20 | Sep 4th, 2018

A lot of rappers are heavily influenced by the rough and real streets where they grew up. Mike Eagle grew up on those streets too but he was always inside, reading books and watching TV. He loved comedy, cartoons, and especially the wide range of mus...Show More

Thom Tran Is a Regular Standup Comic Except for the Part About Being Shot in the Head in Iraq

49:08 | Aug 20th, 2018

Yeah, you don't hear a lot of on-stage material from Chris Rock or Sarah Silverman about the time they were on a mission with their unit in Iraq and they took a bullet to the back of the skull. But you hear about that from Thom Tran, a US Army vetera...Show More

Andrew Zimmern Wrecks His Life, Rebuilds His Life, and Eats Weird Food

42:56 | Aug 13th, 2018

Celebrity chef and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern has made a reputation as a culinary expert with an adventurous streak, traveling the world and sampling tree grubs, shark meat, tarantulas, and horse rectums among many other cuisines. But before ...Show More

Special Episode: Mental Health First Aid and Lady Gaga's Mom

27:10 | Jun 26th, 2018

CPR training has been widely available for many years now and offered in a variety of convenient ways. But what if the problem isn't physical but mental? A new wave of first aid training is rapidly sweeping the world and people are learning what to d...Show More

How to Get Help

25:45 | Jun 8th, 2018

Here's a repeat of an episode originally aired last year. We're offering this repeat because some things need repeating, such as how to get help for your mental health when you really need it. It's a conversation with Dr. Ken Duckworth, Medical Direc...Show More

Highlights From A Hilarious Night of Depression

40:50 | Mar 5th, 2018

The show busts out of studios and quiet intimate spaces for an on-stage performance at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Comedian Mike Brown joins us for plenty of comedy and conversation. We even bust out a few games where you can play along and ...Show More

Hannah Hart Gets Drunk, Tries To Make Grilled Cheese, Gets Famous, Tries To Enjoy It

49:17 | Feb 5th, 2018

Although she comes across as confident and happy on her incredibly successful YouTube channel, Hannah Hart has plenty of experience with insecurity and misery in her life. Growing up, she faced severe poverty, hunger, and dealing with a mother who wa...Show More

Ted Leo Stops Beating Up File Cabinets, Songs, Self

47:00 | Jan 29th, 2018

It's hard to settle on a musical description for Ted Leo. We ended up going with "if The Beach Boys were '80s skateboarders" to summarize his melodic intense post-punk sound. Similarly hard to nail down is whether Ted's longtime issues with depressio...Show More

Rachel Bloom Finds Her Voice, Then Uses It To Sing About Stealing Pets and Moving to West Covina, California

53:44 | Jan 22nd, 2018

Rachel Bloom has never moved across the country to chase a boy like Rebecca Bunch did. Rebecca is the character Rachel plays in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," the hit show she co-created and stars in on The CW Network. But Rachel does have a long history of ...Show More

Linda Holmes Leaves Law to Concentrate On Watching TV and It Works Out Great

45:33 | Jan 8th, 2018

Before she was the host of NPR's popular Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Linda Holmes was an attorney working at the Minnesota Legislature. Before that, she was a student living in squalor. And before that, she was the victim of some seriously messed...Show More

Rhett Miller Really Hates That Brass Cat

47:45 | Jan 2nd, 2018

If you've ever heard this show before, you've heard singer-songwriter Rhett Miller. He wrote and performs the theme song about "the world's greatest clown." On this episode, Rhett tells of his teenage suicide attempt, a mysterious illness, his musica...Show More

Mike Brown Trains as an Engineer to Prepare for Comedy

50:06 | Dec 26th, 2017

New York comedian Mike Brown is a big fan of objective cause-and-effect scenarios. This drew him into playing video games, studying math and engineering, and ultimately getting on stage to tell jokes and get laughs. The thing is, sometimes you have t...Show More

Janelle James Discovers She's a Comedian and Not a Gardener

42:00 | Dec 18th, 2017

New York comic Janelle James never even imagined being a comedian. She had grown up in the Virgin Islands, worked in fashion PR, had two kids, and was living in Illinois when she first walked on stage at an open mic night. She was 30 years old. But a...Show More

Jenny Lawson is Very Fond of Creepy Smiling Dead Animals and Worries Quite a Bit

50:50 | Dec 11th, 2017

She's the author of bestselling books and an incredibly popular blog, but Jenny Lawson showed up to our interview wondering, at least a little, if her appearance on this show and her whole career, really, was part of some delusion. It's not. She's th...Show More

The Holiday Coping Mechanism Spectacular

1:00:35 | Dec 4th, 2017

We've gathered up a whole lot of tips, tricks, ideas, and stories to help you get through this time of year when merriness and jolliness aren't always in abundant supply. Hear holiday thoughts from Wil Wheaton, Margaret Cho, Jenny Lawson, John Green,...Show More

Ana Marie Cox Is Not Really Edited Much At All

1:22:23 | Nov 27th, 2017

You know those things that happened but that you don't talk about very much? Or even at all? Because they're too upsetting? In this episode, host John Moe and guest Ana Marie Cox put those things on the table. Ana is a journalist, pundit, and podcast...Show More

Julie Klausner Builds a More Confident and Dumber Version of Herself For Our Amusement

44:52 | Nov 20th, 2017

Growing up, actor and writer Julie Klausner was too busy battling depression and daydreaming about an imagined Merlot-sipping cosmopolitan adulthood to really engage in the world itself. It wasn't until she entered the world of comedy and improv as a...Show More

Jeff Tweedy Didn't Want to Take His Doctor On Tour Because the Doctor Was Terrible

54:48 | Nov 13th, 2017

Long before Jeff Tweedy was the founder and leader of the enormously popular band Wilco, he was a kid in Illinois with severe migraines and a tendency toward anxiety and depression. He cycled through alcohol, marijuana, and, finally, opioids to try t...Show More

Patti Harrison Figures Out Who She Is and She's a Woman Who Likes Gross Jokes

47:00 | Nov 6th, 2017

With one recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Patti Harrison went from being a well-regarded alternative comedian in New York to being a de facto spokesperson for transgender people. She's proud of who she is and proud to give a voice to that commu...Show More

Gary Gulman Is a Brilliant Comedian and an Ineffective Offensive Lineman

46:02 | Oct 30th, 2017

Although Gary Gulman has been a successful stand-up comedian for decades - with acclaimed specials, a loyal fan base, and appearances on all major late night shows - this was not his original plan. Gary is 6'6" and athletically gifted, he loved baske...Show More

PREVIEW: Season 2 starts Sept. 25!

03:44 | Sep 18th, 2017

Season 2 starts on September 25, 2017. Get a jump on it by hearing from some of the comics, actors, authors, and musicians you'll get to know this season.

PLACEBO: Therapeutic Ukuleles, Therapeutic Penguins, Therapeutic Yarn

18:33 | Apr 24th, 2017

We asked listeners for the strangest ways they've tried to treat their depression that actually worked. And boy, did they ever come through. We hear musical solutions, efforts to enumerate animals, and some clandestine harmless vandalism on the stree...Show More

PLACEBO: Bonus Episode of Terrible, Thanks for Asking to Celebrate #trypod

41:32 | Mar 27th, 2017

March is #trypod time all over the podcast world and we're getting in the spirit by offering an episode of another American Public Media program. Terrible, Thanks for Asking explores the sometimes difficult answers that people avoid giving when asked...Show More

PLACEBO: Billy Joel, Intrusive Thoughts Named Steve, and Nocturnal Carpentry

17:55 | Mar 14th, 2017

THWoD stops by to say hello with a mini-episode. A not-really-an-episode. A placebo. Instead of talking to professional comedians, host John Moe talks to some listeners of the show about their surprisingly amusing tales of struggling with depression....Show More