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First Day Back is a documentary podcast series about people facing and trying to overcome life’s most challenging moments. Each season, host and creator Tally Abecassis tells the story of someone attempting their own personal comeback.
In 2019, First Day Back is back.
On May 3rd 2017, comedian Jason Weems collapsed on stage from an asthma attack. His heart stopped beating for a full 5 minutes. Jason was lucky enough to be revived by a member of the audience.
Now the Baltimore comedian is dealing with his death the only way he knows how: by making jokes about it. Jason wants to turn these jokes into a 1 hour special that he hopes will make him a household name.
For the past year, Tally Abecassis and the First Day back team have been following the life and career of Jason Weems, a man who lives and died for comedy.
We follow Jason in the hours leading up to the taping of his much-anticipated special. The excitement builds as his friends and family all gather at the theater. When Jason steps onto that stage, will he have transformed his near death experience into something meaningful?
|Feb 27, 2019|
S3E5: The Countdown
There’s one month to go before Jason is set to perform his new special and the pressure is on. It’s a mad dash to sell tickets, finalize his set, and get everything in order to film and shoot the special. Will Jason make it to the special or will the pressure of putting on the show derail him?
|Feb 20, 2019|
S3E4: Pulling for Every Breath
It seems like asthma is always with Jason Weems. In this episode, Jason's constantly being confronted by health scares - on stage, at home, even with his family. But at every turn, he surprises Tally with his resiliency.
|Feb 13, 2019|
S3E3: Absolute Certainty
Twelve years into his comedy career, what keeps Jason hopeful that his big break will still happen? We get a peek inside his creative process and find out what family drama pushed him to stay in a city that isn’t great for his national career ambitions
|Feb 06, 2019|
S3E2: Almost Famous
How do you build a career in comedy? Jason takes us through his journey and how a childhood filled with health issues drove his desire to be the funniest man in the room.
|Jan 30, 2019|
S3E1: The Attack
What happens on stage to set in motion comedian Jason’s Weem’s first day back story? On May 3, 2017, Jason collapsed at a Philadelphia comedy club after suffering a near fatal asthma attack. We hear a blow-by-blow account of Jason’s night as it shifts from raucous to downright terrifying.
|Jan 23, 2019|
Introducing First Day Back Season 3
First Day Back returns this season with the story of Jason Weems, one of Baltimore’s biggest comedians. Jason’s life changed on May 3, 2017 when just minutes into a set, he had a severe asthma attack.
It was so bad, his heart stopped. Sixteen hours later, he was barely alive, recovering in a Philadelphia hospital.
This season on First Day Back, host Tally Abecassis follows Jason as he tries to come back…from death. He wants to keep doing comedy— the stage is where he’s always felt the most alive. But now it’s a place of real trauma.
Can Jason Weems transform the worst thing that ever happened to him in to the event that changes his life?
Listen to the trailer now and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. New episodes drop every Wednesday beginning January 23, 2019.
|Jan 09, 2019|
Season 3 Update, and Introducing Dear Franklin Jones
We are hard at work on season 3 and are following another story that is unfolding as we speak. In the meantime, if you like First Day Back, check out Dear Franklin Jones by my friend Jonathan Hirsch. Growing up, Jonathan’s family was a little different. They followed a controversial spiritual leader named Franklin Jones. Join Jonathan on a journey to find out what really happened. Subscribe to Dear Franklin Jones, a new documentary podcast from Stitcher.
Subscribe to Dear Franklin Jones in your favorite podcast app:
|Feb 28, 2018|
S2E6: The Refuge
Lucie obsesses over Gerry’s death, her regret about what she did and her inability to remember what happened the night she killed him. How will she find some sliver of peace? Her search for forgiveness leads her to an unlikely source.
|May 16, 2017|
S2E5: The Doubters
Six years after Gerry’s death, close friends from Lucie’s past make a startling accusation. How will Lucie cope?
|May 09, 2017|
S2E4: Lucie Island
Even as Lucie reconnects with family and spends more time outside the transition house, she finds herself increasingly isolated.
|May 02, 2017|
S2E3: The Transition House
Once Lucie gets her day parole from prison, she has one foot in the correctional system and the other in the regular world. She gets tiny rations of freedom in the transition house where she lives, but she soon realizes her crime is going to follow her wherever she goes.
|Apr 25, 2017|
S2E2: The Prelim
Lucie is charged with first-degree murder after police arrive at her home and find her husband shot dead. She hires a top lawyer, but there’s one huge problem: How do you defend yourself when you have no memory of what happened?
|Apr 18, 2017|
Lucie and her husband Gerry were together for 13 years. People called them lovebirds. Until the fall of 2010, when she shot and killed him. And here's the thing: Lucie has no memory of killing him.
This season on First Day Back, how do you come back from the worst thing you’ve ever done when you don't even remember doing it?
|Apr 11, 2017|
Coming Soon: First Day Back Season 2
First Day Back returns this season with the story of Lucie and Gerry, lovebirds who were together for 13 years. Until the fall of 2010, when Lucie accidentally shot and killed him. And here's the thing.
She has no memory of killing him.
Lucie's story isn't just about what she did, it's about the aftermath. How does she come back from the worst thing she's ever done, when she doesn't even remember doing it?
Season 2 of First Day Back debuts April 11, with new episodes out every Tuesday.
|Apr 04, 2017|
S1E10: On Death and Space Clouds
A short piece for Mother’s Day. Something different that is not part of the First Day Back storyline. Stay tuned for details on Season 2!
|May 08, 2016|
What happens when Tally's life starts mirroring the subject of her film? Also she talks to a 97 year-old woman and a Millennial who both reject the idea of "having it all".
|Aug 27, 2015|
S1E8: Your Stories
In this episode, listeners sent in recordings of themselves talking about work, parenthood and, how hard it is to know what to do with your life, with kids or without.
|Jul 10, 2015|
S1E7: Good News, Bad News
Tally gets news about her film project, compares notes with a friend who didn’t have kids, and hears about her youngest son’s turnaround.
|Jun 11, 2015|
S1E6: Searching for Sally
This episode is a little departure. In it, Tally goes looking for a teacher who had a huge impact on her life and career.
|May 11, 2015|
In this episode, Tally meets her old producer, who cautions her that she is re-entering a different documentary industry than the one she left and Tally’s son Jack throws her a curveball.
|Apr 16, 2015|
S1E4: Fear and Insecurity in Las Vegas
An episode about creativity and insecurity. Questions are raised about Tally's ability to jump back in after 6 years off and she talks to a painter who says some things she is afraid to say.
|Mar 22, 2015|
S1E3: Patti Smith Made Me Feel Better
What's the difference between taking time off to take care of your kids versus taking that time to travel the world? Tally and her producer discuss it. Also, Patti Smith knows about mothering.
|Feb 23, 2015|
S1E2: This Discussion is Retro
Tally looks at gender roles in hers and other households and asks her father what feminism means to him. Spoiler alert: he has no clue.
|Feb 03, 2015|
S1E1: Getting Back Out There
In which Tally lays out her situation and tries to jump-start her filmmaking career, asking big questions to her family members along the way.
|Jan 11, 2015|