AfterParty Hero: The Comedian Who Shares About Alcoholism & Depression

AfterParty Hero: The Comedian Who Shares About Alcoholism & Depression

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rob delany soberWelcome back to AfterPartyHeroes, where we’ll tell you about a person we love, either for the great things they’ve personally accomplished being sober or for doing something kick-ass and kind for addicts.

Tweeting Awareness

If you’re one of the million-plus people who follow his Twitter account, you may think Rob Delaney is just a goofball with a knack for absurd one-liners about bodily functions who enjoys mocking conservatives. But the funniest man on Twitter is also an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness with 12 years of sobriety under his belt.

Delaney’s Story

Last November Delaney published his memoir, Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. Despite its humorous title and matching tone, the book delves into the dark parts of his life, particularly his battle with alcoholism. The relationship with drinking that began at age 12 never really let up. After studying musical theater at Tisch and acting in several Broadway productions, Delaney moved to LA hoping to break into TV. While he snagged a few roles, his drinking escalated to the point where he found himself special ordering queen-sized plastic sheets knowing he would urinate in his new bed—“a beautiful, shimmering red flag.” But the final straw came in 2002, when he blacked out behind the wheel and drove into an LADWP building. He broke a wrist and an arm and cut both his knees to the bone.

“I had drunk very destructively for years, and I wanted to quit—but it didn’t work until I had the big accident, and I was like: ‘OK, this is absolutely deadly.'”

Getting Sober, Getting Depressed Then Getting Better

He was shocked to be alive. Given the choice between prison and rehab, Delaney chose the latter. Amidst surgeries and physical rehabilitation, he moved from rehab to a halfway house. Delaney didn’t decide to try his hand at comedy until he was sober. In fact he did his first standup gig still in casts from his accident. He also discovered a passion for volunteering, which he insists is “as fun as a motherfucker.” But recovery didn’t bring sunshine and rainbows for Delaney. Soon after drying out, he was struck by a suicidal depression, which he described poignantly in a 2010 blog post that went viral. Though at first he resisted medication, he now credits it with his life and urges anyone suffering depression to seek treatment:

“I am vocal about my depression now because it was so fucking Satanically awful that I view it as one of my life’s primary missions to help other people understand and overcome it.”

Delaney may joke about crying on the toilet and murderous bears, but it’s his wicked honesty that makes him one of the brightest lights in the recovering world. He is a shining example of dealing with life’s darkness through the magic of humor. For that, Rob Delaney, we salute you.

Photo courtesy of CleftClips via Flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (resized and cropped)

To see all our AfterParty Heroes, click here.

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About Author

Erica Larsen AKA Eren Harris blogs at Whitney Calls and Clean Bright Day. Their writing has also been published on Salon, Selfish, Violet Rising and YourTango. They live in Los Angeles with their husband and their enormous cat.