The Hilarious World of Depression

By American Public Media

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Subscribers: 2068
Reviews: 3

 Jun 4, 2019
great podcast

 Jan 25, 2019

A Podcast Republic user
 Jul 12, 2018


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, funny conversations with top comedians who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe. Join guests such as Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Richter, and Jen Kirkman to learn how they’ve dealt with depression and managed to laugh along the way. If you have not met the disease personally, it’s almost certain that someone you know has, whether it’s a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor. Depression is a vicious cycle of solitude and stigma that leaves people miserable and sometimes dead. Frankly, we’re not going to put up with that anymore. The Hilarious World of Depression is not medical treatment and should not be seen as a substitute for therapy or medication. But it is a chance to gain some insight, have a few laughs, and realize that people with depression are not alone and that together, we can all feel a bit better. American Public Media and HealthPartners’ Make It Okay campaign are committed to breaking the stigma around mental health.

Episode Date
THWoD Special: Tremendous Upside with Chamique Holdsclaw and Metta World Peace
A special episode of our new sister program from the makers of THWoD. Tremendous Upside is a bit like THWoD, but instead of John Moe talking to artists, host and basketball icon Chamique Holdsclaw talks to big-name athletes about their struggles with mental illnesses. On the premiere episode, she interviews Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest. He had a long and storied NBA career but is still best known for his involvement in a violent incident that spilled into the stands during a game. He grew up in Queensbridge, the largest housing project in the US. His home life was unstable and from an early age, he struggled with his anger. Hear how he turned things around with therapy, breathing, and meditation. Subscribe to the podcast: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
Jan 13, 2020
Introducing Tremendous Upside
We are delighted to announce a brand new show coming your way from the THWoD team. Tremendous Upside is a series of interviews with athletes who have been at the top of their game and struggled with mental illness. In this mini-THWoD episode, John Moe talks with Tremendous Upside host Chamique Holdsclaw, winner of national championships, player of the year awards, and an Olympic gold medal. Hear how athletes like Metta World Peace, Briana Scurry, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Theo Fleury, and more open up to Chamique about the struggles off the field of play that don’t get talked about much at all. You can check out the Tremendous Upside trailer and subscribe here.
Dec 16, 2019
Depression's Eleven Big Lies EXPOSED!
It's helpful to know that depression lies to you, that it presents the world in a way that is false just to mess you up. It's even more helpful to know exactly what whoppers it tries to pull off. We enlisted our team of world-class investigative reporters, aka our listeners, aka The THWoD-balls, to blow the lid off lies about love, hard work, ignorance, staying alive, and even cookies. We can't stop you from lying, depression, but we can know a lie when we hear it. Also, hey, we have new stuff available for donors! Act now to get your very own THWoD pill-shaped stress ball. It's pill-shaped but not pill-sized because that would be ridiculous. Visit to see all our available thank you gifts. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Dec 09, 2019
Darryl "DMC" McDaniels Finds Therapy More Helpful Than Olde English 800
Run-DMC was about as successful as recording artists could be. Packed concerts, multi-platinum selling albums, MTV, fame, fortune, the whole thing. But Darryl McDaniels, the DMC of the group's name, was a mess. He was drinking, using drugs, and not dealing with mental health issues that he thinks had plagued him since birth. With the help of some tough love therapy in a rehab facility he was able to face his problems and get to the bottom of what was really going on. Hear about his introverted childhood, his meteoric rise, and how he chose to listen to one song for a year instead of killing himself. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Support our show today: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Nov 18, 2019
Mark Duplass Has Two Speeds: Go and Crash
Filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass has been prolific over the course of his career. Along with his brother and creative partner, Jay Duplass, he's made films such as "The Puffy Chair" and "Cyrus," as well as TV shows like "Togetherness" and "Room 104." Mark's also an in-demand actor, starring on "The League" on FX and "The Morning Show" on Apple TV+. Depression threw a big wrench into his creative ambitions and he attempted to muscle his way through it. That doesn't work, of course, and Mark crashed hard. Hear how he finally got help and how he approaches his life and work today. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Support our show today: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Nov 11, 2019
Angelina Spicer Wants to Say Things Out Loud About Postpartum Depression
There's a lot of information being thrown at parents when a baby is on the way: how to make a birth plan, what kind of car seat to get, what shots the baby will need, and on and on. Comedian and actor Angelina Spicer thinks a frank discussion of postpartum depression doesn't get included in there nearly as much as it should. She recalls what happened when her driven and determined approach to her career ran head-first into a depression she never expected. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Support our show today: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Nov 04, 2019
Miz Cracker Looks in the Mirror
Max Heller’s life was falling apart. He was drinking heavily, using every kind of pill he could get his hands on, and isolating from society. He was swimming in New York’s East River, walking through subway tunnels, and hooking up with whomever he could find. Then he met Bob the Drag Queen who, after weeks of cajoling, gave Max a complete drag makeover. Thus was born Miz Cracker, a confident and healthier self who looked beautiful in the mirror and who would rise to fame on RuPaul’s Drag Race. We hear about her struggles with depression and her struggles with keeping up on her self-care. This episode contains loads of laughs and passing references to Brecht and Sartre. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Support our show today: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Oct 28, 2019
Charlene deGuzman Has Unsexy Stories About Sex
Actor and writer Charlene deGuzman grew up thinking that women should be like the centerfolds her father had plastered all over the garage: alluring to men and ready for sex. As an adult, this led to a sex and love addiction where the line between sex and love got blurry. Eventually, she hit bottom amid a failed relationship, a disastrous reaction to that failed relationship, substance use, and suicidal thoughts. She got help and, this is a bit unusual, made a critically-acclaimed movie about her recovery experiences. Learn more about Charlene, including where to watch "Unloveable," at You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD. Like us on Facebook: Support our show today: Check out our sponsors this week: DoorDash - Download the app and use promo code WORLD Native - with code WORLD Calm - Stitch Fix - Quip Oral Care - Bark Box -
Oct 21, 2019
Anil Dash Loves Social Media and Wants It To Change
Can platforms like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram help with depression? They do offer a quick way to connect with other humans, after all. But then again, do they? Are you talking to a human or are you just alone and typing? Tech thinker and Glitch CEO Anil Dash has been addressing the benefits and problems of social media for twenty years, since before even MySpace and Friendster. He also has a history of depression, which made it hard to run his own business at times, a business he had started when he was seventeen years old. Check out Anil’s podcast, Function with Anil Dash. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD Like us on Facebook: Support our show today:
Oct 14, 2019
Ryan Bingham Finds a Home and Settles Down
It took a long time for singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham to get to some stability in his life. Growing up, his parents had problems with drugs and alcohol, creating a lifestyle that kept the family constantly on the move or on the run all over the Southwest. Speaking of instability, his main outlet during childhood was riding bulls on the rodeo circuit. As he grew up, he tried to leave his past behind to be a traveling musician. When Ryan's parents died, he finally had to confront all that had happened. All the while, he was writing songs about all of it. You can pre-order John's book at Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD Like us on Facebook: Support our show today:
Oct 07, 2019
Heather B. Armstrong Nearly Dies Ten Times and It Works Out Great
Author and blogger Heather B. Armstrong ( was in, by far, the deepest depression she had ever experienced and nothing was working to lift it. That’s when her psychiatrist told her about a study using powerful doses of the anesthetic Propofol. Heather had ten appointments where she was placed in a brief medically-induced coma. The idea is similar to electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) but without the electricity and, hopefully, without side effects like memory loss. She shares the story of what led her to try the treatment and how it went. You can pre-order John's book at
Sep 30, 2019
Mara Wilson Had Great Opportunities and Difficult Challenges
While it was easy for audiences to enjoy Mara Wilson as a perky child performer in movies like Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, the young actress had mental health issues that weren’t enjoyable at all. Mara had been dealing with severe anxiety for as long as she could remember. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Matilda started shooting and Mara developed symptoms of OCD. Then came depression, and eventually body dysmorphia, too. Mara Wilson is 32 years old now and has relegated acting to the sidelines. She has a good grip on how her mind works and feels great about her new focus as a writer, but she knows that managing her conditions will be a lifelong job. You can pre-order John's book at Support our show today at
Sep 23, 2019
Whitney Cummings Puts It Together and Stops Falling Apart
Whitney Cummings has had a lot of success in Hollywood as a comedian, actress, writer and director, and now she's finally having success in figuring herself out. She's been making connections between the addiction and mental illnesses in her house growing up, the eating disorders she developed, the depression that has persisted, and the codependency that emerged. Turns out when you are able to take a good hard look at things, you can get a pretty good view. You can pre-order John's book at Support our show today at
Sep 16, 2019
Pete Holmes Looks for Meaning and Membership
You might know Pete Holmes from his many standup specials, his talk show, or Crashing, the HBO series he created and starred in. You might not know the long and varied spiritual path he's traveled in his life. Pete was an incredibly devout Christian, living by the Bible and obsessed with avoiding eternal damnation. Following traumatic life events, he arrived first at atheism and finally at a consciousness-based worldview influenced by thinkers like Ram Dass and Joseph Campbell. Sticking around for all parts of that journey: a love of comedy and some rather aggressive anxiety and depression. You can pre-order John's book at Support our show today at
Sep 09, 2019
Jenny Lawson and Books That Get Depression Right
We asked our listeners for books they've read that give an accurate depiction of the reality of depression. Happily, we got enough great suggestions to weigh down a shopping cart at the bookstore or leave a library card smoldering. A name that came up a lot was author Jenny Lawson, who happens to be a friend of the show. On this episode, we talk with Jenny and get audio suggestions from a lot of THWoD-balls. Be sure to visit for a complete list of titles.
Aug 12, 2019
The Perils and Rewards of Travel
Taking a trip somewhere new can be wonderful: the new experiences, the exciting culture, the unusual foods. For people who deal with depression or anxiety, travel can also introduce a variety of problems. It necessarily involves getting out of the familiar and that can leave one feeling isolated, worried about negative possibilities, and unprotected in a world that sometimes doesn't work out all that great as it is. In this summer mini-sode, we hear from Jeremy Pelletier, a non-profit director and geographer who recently wrote about the pitfalls and triumphs he's experienced traveling. We also check in with Dr. Karriem Salaam from Drexel University's College of Medicine for valuable tips on what to do and not to do. Follow us on Twitter: @THWofD Like us on Facebook: Support our show today:
Jul 08, 2019
Just the Funny Parts
Look, we know that THWoD can get a little, I guess, intense at times. Depression is a heavy topic and stories about it are often packed with bummers. So in this special episode, we rounded up some of the funniest moments from our three seasons and packed them all together for a hilarity highlight reel. The laughs tend to come from unexpected places and within the context of the chat so you can be sure that none of it is corny and there are no jokes you've heard before outside the show. In the end, it's all about coming together over the topic of depression, telling truths, sharing stories, and yes, having a good laugh. Support our show today at
May 06, 2019
Solomon Georgio Is Doing Better
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 threatened suicide in the middle of class. Then there were many years in Seattle where he says his parents were abusive and had no tolerance for Solomon's homosexuality. A disastrous runaway trip to Los Angeles ended up in a return to Seattle where he embraced comedy and relocated himself, again and much more successfully to Southern California. His depression isn't a thing of the past but he's definitely in a good place. Support the show at Calm -- Get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription when you visit
Dec 24, 2018
Jonny Sun Ended Up Here Somehow
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 him in an unexpected comedy career. Meanwhile, he realized that this dark sad feeling he's had forever has a name.
Dec 17, 2018
Naomi Ekperigin Brings In Her Baggage, Unpacks It
"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 complicated relationship with her father, as well as problems with alcohol and cutting. Comedy has been in there too both as a respite from mental turmoil and sometimes a source of neurosis. With the help of her fiance' (who is also a rich source of her comedy material), sobriety, and a lot of self-awareness, she's on the rise in the comedy world.
Dec 10, 2018
Check-Ups on Gary Gulman, Linda Holmes, Janelle James, and “Steve.” Plus, Sock Opportunities
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 lease on life and a new lease on an apartment, Linda Holmes has a new friend, Janelle James is keeping her ears sealed, and "Steve", the embodiment of listener Bri Traquair's anxiety, has been restrained. Also on this episode, your chance to receive cool THWoD merch and support the show! Check out our sponsor this week: Calm -- Get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription when you visit
Dec 03, 2018
Aparna Nancherla Is Having a Harder Time Doing Something She’s Great At
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 "Bojack Horseman" and "Corporate" as well as movies. But as she has become more famous in recent years, Aparna's anxiety and depression have made some of that work harder for her carry out. That's especially the case with standup, the foundational format for comedians. Hear how she found her calling in comedy and how she's now trying to manage her mental health in a world where she gets paid to get up in front of strangers and talk about her vulnerabilities. Check out our sponsor this week: BarkBox - Get a free extra month of BarkBox when you subscribe to a 6 or 12 month plan at
Nov 26, 2018
John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo Don’t Need Your Suggestions For Their Life Improv
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. Actors and real-life married couple Jamie Denbo ("Orange is the New Black", "Ghostbusters") and John Ross Bowie ("The Big Bang Theory", "Speechless") have plenty of experience in improv, having met twenty years ago in a class taught by Amy Poehler. At the time, John was coming off a breakdown and Jamie was headed for one. They talk about how improv helped and sometimes hindered their path to self-discovery and how they've learned to harness improv's power. Check out our sponsor this week: Care/Of - and use promo code HILARIOUS at checkout for 25% off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins.
Nov 19, 2018
Adventures in Therapy
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 -- strangers, mostly -- trying to figure out something complicated together, and that is inherently complicated. Our listeners have stepped up to provide true life tales of therapy gone comically bad and therapy that worked out great. You'll hear about dogs, Flag Day, awkward online dating, painful wedding photos, and even a wedgie. Check out our sponsor this week: Calm – Get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription when you visit
Nov 12, 2018
Guy Branum Goes to Minnesota, Gets Good Internet, Finds Self
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 pining for places usually seen in the movies or magazines, he moved on to college and then law school in Minnesota, where he was able to come out as gay and realize that his interests were way more tilted toward comedy than the practice of law. What's it like to find yourself after suspecting you don't belong anywhere? Check out our sponsor this week: Care/Of - and use promo code HILARIOUS at checkout for 25% off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins
Nov 05, 2018
The Hilarious NIGHT of Depression
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 to be out and about in the world with people knowing what they've gone through. We spin through the hilariously depressing world of Google Reviews in Google Review Theater, take a visit to an O. Henry marriage therapist, and even hear a little about how this very program got started. Check out our sponsors this week: Stitch Fix --
Oct 29, 2018
Words: Am We Uses Them Good At Mental Health?
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" and how they are so often abused, co-opted, and twisted. Guests include Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, Ana Marie Cox, as well as licensed therapist Emily Bulthuis, who discusses the benefits of accurate terminology and how to gently approach those who misuse mental health words.
Oct 22, 2018
Scott Thompson Keeps Getting Back Up Again
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 been filled with events that aren't funny at all: a school shooting, mental illness in his family, violence, cancer, professional setbacks, and a firebombing. We hear about what knocked Scott down and how he kept managing to get back on his feet.
Oct 15, 2018
Chris Gethard Does Not Avoid the Collision
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 manic, kid from West Orange, New Jersey. We cover a lot of ground in this talk, including the role of a racist homeowner in his lowest moment.
Oct 08, 2018
Figuring Out Regular Adolescent Behavior vs. Alarming Disorder with Jen Kirkman
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 writer Jen Kirkman about her efforts to understand her head. We also talk with Jennifer Rothman, NAMI's Sr. Manager for Youth and Young Adult Initiatives and Dr. Sue Swearer of the University of Nebraska. Plus, a montage of past guests trying to figure out what the hell happened in adolescence.
Oct 01, 2018
Neko Case Leaves Bad Places, Goes to Better Places
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 life on track, developed a strong interest in music and threw herself in to making it. We hear about how she got herself together in spite of her parents, how depression came to wallop her, and what she did to get on track once again. Plus, we hear about how she joyfully wept when trying to talk to Janelle Monae's backing band.
Sep 24, 2018
Your Amazing Therapeutic Jukebox
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 even get some peaks behind the songs from Craig Finn of The Hold Steady and former American Idol star Crystal Bowersox.
Sep 17, 2018
Mortified’s Dave Nadelberg Presents Your Shame Live On Stage
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 funny, sure, but it's more than that. Dave says the process of dragging your younger self out of that old trunk can provide understanding of who you were and what motivated you. That, in turn, can offer valuable insight into who you are. Also in this episode, John is dragged kicking and screaming into revealing his 2nd grade secret identity.
Sep 10, 2018
Open Mike Eagle Goes Outside And Meets People
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 music available on cable, everything from N.W.A to Spin Doctors. Those influences, as well as his unusual mind, make for a fascinating sound. Ever wonder how 90s pop and rap mix with anxiety, depression, isolation, psychology, and comedy? Take a listen.
Sep 04, 2018
Impostor Syndrome: True Tales, Tricks, and Tactics for When You’re Feeling Fraudulent
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 suspect that someone else should be there instead. It's called Impostor Syndrome and it's more common than you might think. We're joined by Dr. Valerie Young to talk about who it effects and what to do about it. And we're joined by you, our listeners, sharing stories of Impostor Syndrome at its most ludicrous and the unorthodox but effective ways you've found to treat it.
Aug 27, 2018
Thom Tran Is a Regular Standup Comic Except for the Part About Being Shot in the Head in Iraq
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 veteran and Purple Heart recipient who not only talks about his experiences on the battlefield but shows video on stage of that injury as well. The Vietnam-born, Buffalo-raised comedian is based in Los Angeles now, gathering acclaim for his jokes and stories while working to help other veterans find the next chapter in their lives.
Aug 20, 2018
Andrew Zimmern Wrecks His Life, Rebuilds His Life, and Eats Weird Food
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 his current fame, he was on the street, stealing handbags to fuel his alcoholism, which existed to deaden his long-held depression. We hear about hitting bottom, redemption, and Andrew’s friend, the late Anthony Bourdain.
Aug 13, 2018
Special Episode: Mental Health First Aid and Lady Gaga’s Mom
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 do and what not to do in a crisis. A driving force in this movement is the pop singer Lady Gaga, whose charitable organization, the Born This Way Foundation, has been offering the training in cities Gaga tours. We talk with that group's co-founder Cynthia Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga's mother, and Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Jun 26, 2018
How to Get Help
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 Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and it’s practical advice. A lot of people will say “get help” for mental  illness; here’s what you can do to make that happen.
Jun 08, 2018
Highlights From A Hilarious Night of Depression
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 see if you can tell a Pokemon from an antidepressant from a weird food served at the Minnesota State Fair.
Mar 05, 2018
Hannah Hart Gets Drunk, Tries To Make Grilled Cheese, Gets Famous, Tries To Enjoy It
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 was mentally ill. Still, she made it into a good college where she had to confront issues about her religion and her sexuality on her way to getting two degrees and not being able to be proud of any of it because of depression. Today, she's a star, dispensing advice on life, relationships, and how to cook when you're completely drunk. Life is full of unexpected paths sometimes. This is our final episode of season 2, but stay tuned for season 3 and bonus placebo episodes between seasons.
Feb 05, 2018
Ted Leo Stops Beating Up File Cabinets, Songs, Self
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 depression and anger stem from his brain's built-in wiring or from abuse he suffered as a kid and barely ever talked about since.
Jan 29, 2018
Rachel Bloom Finds Her Voice, Then Uses It To Sing About Stealing Pets and Moving to West Covina, California
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 messed up romantic relationships -- plus depression and intrusive looping thoughts. And her career really took off when she got inspired by another Rebecca: Rebecca Black. You, know. That 2011 song "Friday?" Yep.
Jan 22, 2018
Reggie Osse Puts It Together
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 an important figure in hip-hop as a lawyer, editor, podcast host, and thinker. This interview was conducted in October of 2017, and Osse died on December 20th of that year.
Jan 15, 2018
Linda Holmes Leaves Law to Concentrate On Watching TV and It Works Out Great
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 up mean kid behavior. We hear about her unusual path to a better life, the older and very recent struggles she has had, and how the written word proved redemptive. We also hear about how Linda's weight was seen as a symptom of her depression when in fact the depression itself was the problem all along.
Jan 08, 2018
Rhett Miller Really Hates That Brass Cat
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 musical salvation, and his grandmother's owl fixation. He even brought his guitar along and performs a few songs.
Jan 02, 2018
Mike Brown Trains as an Engineer to Prepare for Comedy
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 to face events that are completely senseless.
Dec 26, 2017
Janelle James Discovers She’s a Comedian and Not a Gardener
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 as soon as she hit the stage, she knew this was her calling and many years later she's headlining clubs all over the country and is a comedy star on the rise. She talks about trying to outrun her depression, dealing with depression-induced physical pain, and a therapy session that did not work out. Special guest: neuroscientist Daniel Levitin.
Dec 18, 2017
Jenny Lawson is Very Fond of Creepy Smiling Dead Animals and Worries Quite a Bit
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 the real thing: an incredibly funny and honest writer with a legion of fans, a very old decapitated and stuffed boar's head named James Garfield, anxiety, depression, and a clear-eyed view of the world.
Dec 11, 2017
The Holiday Coping Mechanism Spectacular
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, Aimee Mann, and more. Plus, a story about a slobbering zebra.
Dec 04, 2017
Ana Marie Cox Is Not Really Edited Much At All
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 podcaster; she talks about the lowest point in her mental health, a horrible decision, and what came next. John talks about the event that led to this podcast being created in the first place. This is a re-broadcast of an episode from last spring that has garnered a huge response from listeners, and it's presented largely without edits.
Nov 27, 2017
Julie Klausner Builds a More Confident and Dumber Version of Herself For Our Amusement
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 an adult that things really started to click into place. That led to creating Difficult People, a show on Hulu, where she plays a much bolder, brassier, and more oblivious version of herself.
Nov 20, 2017
Jeff Tweedy Didn’t Want to Take His Doctor On Tour Because the Doctor Was Terrible
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 to get to the point of feeling normal and okay, even relying on a fan who worked at Walgreen’s to score him the pills he wanted. Finally, a stint in rehab and a return of self-confidence got him back on track. There’s a really sad and darkly funny story in this episode involving a teddy bear and a jar.  
Nov 13, 2017
Patti Harrison Figures Out Who She Is and She’s a Woman Who Likes Gross Jokes
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 community. But she wants to make it clear that her sense of humor is much darker, odder, and occasionally more disgusting than one might expect from someone at the forefront of a social cause. Hear about her journey to figure out who she is and who she’s not, and also hear her get horrified by a bird.
Nov 06, 2017
Gary Gulman Is a Brilliant Comedian and an Ineffective Offensive Lineman
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 basketball, and had a full ride athletic scholarship to a Division 1 program. Problem is, he had no killer instinct. He had more of a comedian instinct. Hear Gary’s journey through a lifetime of deep depression, impossible standards, and some of the funniest and weirdest comedy out there today.
Oct 30, 2017
Aimee Mann Discovers That Having Feelings About Terrible Things Is Perfectly Fine
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 difficult childhood, and writer’s block. Through it all, she’s taken a calm, considered, and creative approach to problem-solving that has served her well. Oh, and one time as a teenager she wrote a terrible song about hobos.
Oct 23, 2017
John Green Falls Victim to Some Bad Fiction While Writing His New Book
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 off the meds he’d been taking for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, hoping it would bring him to a more vivid and imaginative place. Instead, the crash made him unable to write at all. Hear how Green later used those dark days to craft the protagonist in a new novel, plus growing up with OCD, being a public figure in the privacy of his own home, and what it’s like to read book reviews by people who haven’t read the book.
Oct 16, 2017
Neal Brennan Gives Ketamine and Magnetic Impulses a Try
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 also tried everything he could think of to tame his depression. Hear Neal's epic journey to feeling pretty good.
Oct 09, 2017
Margaret Cho Works Out A Lot And Makes People Upset In New Jersey
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 family and culture dealt with depression and suicide, and how she harnessed her own depression to begin her comedy. Along the way, the keys to Margaret’s often-shocking comedic style emerge and lead to making people upset in New Jersey.  
Oct 02, 2017
Wil Wheaton Is Really Hoping It’s All Worth It
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 tastes of Hollywood, all while dealing with a chemical imbalance in his brain that made him prone to anxiety and depression. Wil’s better now thanks to medication, but despite his long IMDb page and regular work on The Big Bang Theory, his hit YouTube show, and a thriving and varied career, he sees himself primarily as a failed actor.
Sep 25, 2017
Episode #PREVIEW: Season 2 starts Sept. 25!
Season 2 of The Hilarious World of Depression 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.
Sep 18, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Imagine Depression as a Person and Describe Them
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 helpful in isolating the disease from the self to better manage it. We asked our listeners to describe their depression. Most chose humans, one chose a very confused monster.
Aug 28, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: How to Get Help
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 better track? It’s a process that can be complicated and overwhelming, which means loads of people don’t get the help they need. On this episode, we talk with Dr. Ken Duckworth, Medical Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about the simplest, best path to getting the help you need. Spoiler: it takes some work, but you can do it.
Aug 15, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Hitting the Nail on the Head
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 piece of culture gets depression right. The answers range from John Cusack yelling out a window to Norwegian expressionist painting, to a cuss-filled bit of sour optimism in the Wild West.
Jul 31, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats on where all that coping music comes from
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 process. We also find out about the music he listens to and the other ways he copes with the depression that has dogged him for many years. Special bonus: a brand new John Darnielle poem.
Jul 17, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: The Things We Tell Ourselves That Help
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.
Jul 05, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Vol. 2 of Listeners’ Favorite Coping Songs
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 Grateful Dead, and a Taylor Swift cover you simply must listen to.
Jun 19, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Listeners’ Favorite Coping Songs
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. You won’t often find mix tapes with Doris Day, hardcore punk, and Foghat all in one place but we are here to provide just that.
Jun 05, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Coping Ideas From a Real Live Sad Clown
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 who takes lumps so Jonna doesn’t have to. We also hear about what Jonna brings into the sauna that confuses and alarms other Finns.
May 22, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: A Conversation with Ana Marie Cox
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 very often. In that spirit, John and Ana Marie open about some events that drive them and that they have never discussed much in public. If you need immediate help, confidential help is available for free in the U.S. at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK.
May 05, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Therapeutic Ukuleles, Therapeutic Penguins, Therapeutic Yarn
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 streets of Ottawa.
Apr 24, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: The Return of Peter Sagal
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 other than a doctor. On this placebo episode, we check in with him to find out how sharing that information went over.
Apr 10, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Bonus Episode of Terrible, Thanks for Asking to Celebrate #trypod
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, “How are you?”
Mar 27, 2017
Episode #PLACEBO: Billy Joel, Intrusive Thoughts Named Steve, and Nocturnal Carpentry
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. We hear about the power of a pair of concert tickets, a very special friend who isn’t really carbon-based, and depression hangs a door.
Mar 13, 2017
Episode #9: Paul F. Tompkins Sees Dead Grass and Has Screwed Up Relationships
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 untreated depression, and conflict and anger were all around. Hear how comedy and acting gave him some of the support he craved but couldn’t get anywhere else. Hear also how, as is the case with many depressives with complicated childhoods, he struggles to figure out good, healthy ways to spend time with other people and with himself. All this plus tales of Paul’s bleak time working in a hat store called Hats in the Belfry.
Feb 06, 2017
Episode #8: Baron Vaughn and His Inadvisable All-Cheerio Diet
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 in a Vancouver apartment for days at a time, eating Cheerios and bathing in Dawn dish soap, all as a result of a severe attack of the depression that had been chasing him down for years. Baron shares those moments and how he got out of them as well as tales of being raised by his great grandparents in a small New Mexico town, dealing with the after-effects of his mother’s addiction, and how depression is perceived and ignored among black Americans.
Jan 30, 2017
Episode #7: Jen Kirkman, Bad Therapy, Good Therapy, and Nuclear Invasion
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 creativity and imagination to take on depression and anxiety.
Jan 23, 2017
Episode #6: Supershow! Eight Comedians! One Chronic Mental Illness!
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. Join us for a journey through feeling awful and trying some things to feel better with Michael Ian Black, Aparna Nancherla, Mike Drucker, Jordan Carlos, Jenny Jaffe, Jake Weisman, Sara Benincasa, and Bill Corbett.
Jan 16, 2017
Episode #5: Andy Richter on Youthful Melancholy and Twisted Entertainers
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 relates his childhood in Illinois, the impact of divorce on his nascent depression, and how he plugged away at finding both an effective treatment and who he really was. Also, are ALL people who go into comedy at least a little twisted? Here Andy’s answer.
Jan 09, 2017
Episode #4: Dick Cavett Tells Tales of Hollywood’s Secret Shame
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 TV. Along the way, he managed to infuriate Richard Nixon such that the President plotted attacks against him, which is when you know you’ve really arrived. On this episode, Dick talks about his own struggles with depression as well as the struggles of people he knew, including Judy Garland, Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, and Groucho Marx.
Jan 02, 2017
Episode #3: Sam Grittner Finds a Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Suicide
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, heroin, and booze were no longer part of his life. Depression was still there, though, and so was a lot of frustration about his comedy career and personal life. So he went for it and swallowed more pills than he would ever need to kill himself. Then something else happened.
Dec 26, 2016
Episode #2: Maria Bamford Talks Bipolar II While Her Pugs Eat Nilla Wafers
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 experiences with depression, OCD, hypomania, and persistent, unwanted disturbing thoughts, as well as bad therapy, ineffective in-patient treatment, and breakdowns. A diagnosis of Bipolar II, which covered a lot of what was wrong with her, and some Googling helped put her on track to become the healthier person she is today.
Dec 19, 2016
Episode #1: Peter Sagal Opens Up
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 he’s been able to move on and host a weekly comedy program even as his life was falling apart. Some of the methods: keeping very busy and listening to Amy Poehler. We also hear from Peter Sagal’s friend, the neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, on what helps and hurts a depressed person’s brain in times of crisis.
Dec 12, 2016
Episode #0: The Hilarious World of Depression — coming soon!
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 few laughs along the way.
Nov 30, 2016