Comedy is Fermented Pain According to Recovery Comedian, John Moses
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John Moses has been delightfully offending audiences throughout the United States, Canada and the U.K. for more than 10 years. This year John was a finalist at the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in Atlanta and is a favorite at festivals all over including; The Boston Comedy Festival; The Asheville Comedy Festival; The Cottage Country Comedy Festival; and the Dark Comedy Festival in Toronto where he roasted Porn Legend Ron Jeremy.
John released his debut album On The Edge in 2012. It was voted one of Laughspin.com’s “10 Best Comedy Albums of 2012,” and given their dubious distinction as “The One Album From 2012 You Should Get By A Comedian You Probably Never Heard Of.” It is still in regular rotation on Sirius XM RawDog, The Foxxhole, and Canada Laughs.

In 2013, he became an immediate favorite on AXS.TV’s Gotham Comedy Live and was featured in their special “Best of Season One.” In 2015 he made his second appearance on Gotham Comedy Live and received high praise from the show’s host, the iconic Dom Irrera. In 2016 he made his third appearance on the show.

He released his second album Upper Middle Trash in May of 2016. Raw Dog on SiriusXM named that album one of the best albums of 2016.

An equal-opportunity offender, John’s comedy transcends racial and cultural barriers—appealing to black, white, and brown audiences, the young and old, upstanding citizens and the morally bankrupt. John’s style is shrewd, raw and uncompromisingly funny.

Recovery Comedy: What were you like as a kid?

John Moses: Insecure, low self-esteem, desperate for people's approval. You know future alcoholic.

Recovery Comedy: What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

John Moses: I was always goofing off wherever I could, in front of whoever would listen. But it was actually my dad that pushed me to do it. I've been doing it now for 18 years.

Recovery Comedy: Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

John Moses: Yeah, and some people suggested that I quit doing comedy when I first got sober. I told them that I got into to recovery to become a better horse thief. One suggestion that was given to me that I'll pass on to any artists or performers that are in early recovery, is to call someone before and after the gig. Don't hang out if it can be helped. Take the money and run.

Recovery Comedy: Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

John Moses: Absolutely, that we're all full of sh!t. I try to talk about ways that I'm full of it and see if anybody can relate. I like digging around for fallibility. I think it's what connects us. Also, I can't stand whining.

Recovery Comedy: Who are your comedy idols?

John Moses: Chris Rock, Doug Standhope, Nick DiPaolo, some dead guys.

Recovery Comedy: Where does your inspiration for material come from?

John Moses: I don't know, sometimes things just strike me as funny.  It's less inspiration and more a forced habit. You wanna do this? You gotta write. But when inspiration hits, it's awesome.

Recovery Comedy: What is your joke writing process?

John Moses: I talk a lot out loud to myself, usually in a room or driving somewhere. Everyone thinks I'm on a Bluetooth, it looks totally normal.

Recovery Comedy: What is your kryptonite?

John Moses: A cold draft beer.

Recovery Comedy: Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

John Moses: I mean they were when I was a kid, you know pumping my head full of dreams. I think they wonder where it's going now. They're really gonna freak in ten more years.

Recovery Comedy: Is comedy part of your healing process?

John Moses: Absolutely, I'm a big believer in the idea that comedy is pain fermented. At least that's the stuff I love. I had a tough childhood (not the toughest, but tougher than most) and there were lots of situations where you could either laugh or cry about it. I cried plenty, but you learn to laugh. The way addicts learn to laugh at some of the horrible garbage they went through.

Recovery Comedy: What was your worst experience performing comedy?

John Moses: Well that's the thing, even the awful ones are all kinda funny now.

Recovery Comedy: What was your best experience performing comedy?

John Moses: I've met some of my idols, played some incredible shows, but it still hasn't happened yet.

Recovery Comedy: What is your favorite joke?

John Moses: What does a 90-year old woman's ***** taste like? Depends.

Recovery Comedy: What is your comedy dream?

John Moses: Paying for my daughter’s college education with funny money. If she even thinks about doing comedy, I'll never speak to her again. LAWYER!

To find out more information about John Moses or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!
If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy, please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support, none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube


Comedy is Part of His Healing Process, but it isn't Therapy: Recovery Standup Patrick Holbert
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Patrick has been making his living in NYC since 2003. A scene regular, you can find him in the city’s hottest comedy rooms every night. He has performed on Sirius XM and hosts the internationally syndicated TV show “The Movie Loft.” He has appeared on TruTV’s “Hack My Life” and "Mysteries at the Museum" on the Travel Channel. Patrick is often asked to emcee comedy shows because of his playful wit and affability. The NY Times recently called him the "charming M.C." of the children's variety show he performs in weekly. You can also catch him online co-hosting “The Comic’s Table” podcast. Last summer he celebrated eight years of sobriety.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Patrick Holbert:  I was a shy kid until about fourth grade. I didn't talk much until that year when I got put in the same classroom as my best friend. We sat in the back of the room and screwed around all day and that's where I learned I was funny.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Patrick Holbert:  I've wanted to be a comic ever since I was a kid when I first saw standup clips on Comedy Central in the early 90's. I remember the channel was pretty basic and they'd just show a bit or two from random comics on a loop. I loved how funny someone could be with just a microphone.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Patrick Holbert:  I did a handful of open mics when I was in college. Unfortunately, I discovered drinking at the same time and the drinking won. I started performing almost daily about three and a half years ago, after I'd already been sober.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Patrick Holbert:  We've all been through challenges and we've all got problems but we can have a lot of fun talking about them if we want to.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Patrick Holbert:  Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Kaufman, Norm MacDonald. I don't even think what I'm trying to do is all that similar to them, but those are guys that I always thought were funny as long as I can remember.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Patrick Holbert:  Directly from my fourth step! I'd say I'm kidding, but most of my bits start from resentments, regrets, and fears that I have.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process? Patrick Holbert:  I do a lot of free writing in the morning. It's a habit I got into when I worked through The Artist's Way program about five years ago. A lot of times certain themes or ideas will keep popping up, so I know I need to play with those ideas by making lists and making connections in funny ways.

Other times I'll be riffing on stage and a funny punch line will appear, so then I'll go back and flesh out that idea and try to re-create it in a more written, bit-like way. If that one punch line worked, I try to think of how I can add a laugh before or after it.

Meeting with other comics for writing sessions helps a lot too. Sometimes other comics think of directions to go in that I would not have ever considered.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Patrick Holbert:  Junk food-- I may be sober from booze 8 years, but I still try to get tipsy on Zebra Cakes.

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Patrick Holbert:  Yes- any time I perform in my home town area, they all come out to support. Sometimes I get stuck in this narrative that my family "doesn't know me" but the truth is they know me quite well and probably believe in me more than I do. I feel lucky to be able to trust in that.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Patrick Holbert: Absolutely. I'll never be a "comedy is my therapy" kind of person (because I think actual therapy is necessary) but writing and performing bits about a painful past or mental health and alcoholism does give me a way to process everything. I think if we can have fun with the dark parts of our lives, we can take power away from them.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Patrick Holbert:  Oh my god there have been so many. I must be lucky to not have one exact moment that sticks out. All I can think of are all the epically long and bad open mics that I've sat through until the end only to find out the host never had my name in the bucket or on the list. The most brutal experiences tend to come from incompetence on the production side, not anything on the audience side (although I've certainly faced off against some terrible people in audiences). I'll keep you guys updated as soon as something traumatic happens on stage. This answer would be much more interesting if I'd been performing comedy as a drunk.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Patrick Holbert:  This past winter I booked a week of shows throughout PA, NJ, and DC. I performed a 5-minute guest spot on the DC show which was just a bar basement and one of my oldest friends came out. We hung out for the following show where Louis CK, Joe List, and Mark Normand surprised this small venue with an appearance. It felt special to even be just a little part of it.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Patrick Holbert:  I want my material about mental health and recovery to be so good that it will be hilarious to any audience, any time, anywhere, and in any form. In my stand-up, in films, in books, etc.

To find out more information about Patrick Holbert or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!

If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

The Urge to Leave Society is Strong with this One: Recovery Comedian Matthew Zerilli
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Matthew Zerilli is a stand-up comedian based in Traverse City, MI.
Having been raised between Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula and the suburbs of Detroit, he has developed an outsider style of comedy that is part social commentary and part absurd report on the human condition. Matthew is a recovering alcoholic, relapsed Catholic, and aspiring narcissist. He has been called the Barry White of Comedy due to the raw, baby-making power of his jokes.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Matthew Zerilli: I was a goofy, oddball kid that was in my own head a lot. I was always a little misfit. One of my favorite stories my parents tell was how they dropped me off at the first day of pre-school and apparently I just left. They had to come pick me up a couple miles away later that day. The urge to leave society hasn’t really changed much, but making people laugh has always made life more tolerable.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Matthew Zerilli:  I have been obsessed with stand up my whole life. When other kids were practicing sports, I was watching old Stand Up specials and listening to my parents George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Steve Martin albums. I have always had the urge to try it, but couldn’t realize that it was possible until I had been sober for some time.  I had to “give myself permission” to take the risk (if that makes any sense). I have been writing comedy for years, and just started performing a little over a year ago. Since I got that first laugh on stage, I have been hooked and haven’t looked back.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Matthew Zerilli:  No. Even though I started a little later in life, I am often grateful for the fact that I waited. There is something to be said for being able to approach things with a clear head.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Matthew Zerilli:  The cardinal rule is “try to be funny,” but the more I write and develop, the more I see patterns of questioning absurd social structures, trying to find ways that we are all similar, and basically just talking about what it is like to be a human. At its best, I think comedy is a powerful tool for equality and I do my best to honor that.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Matthew Zerilli:  Wow, so many! The “Top 5” for me are Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Brian Regan, and Mitch Hedberg. Comedy is cool, though, in that I can hear a brilliant joke at an open mic and it can totally light up my brain just like any of the greats. It is really hard to pick just a few, but those are some good ones.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Matthew Zerilli:  Well, I think most comedians are pretty empathic. My material comes from my struggles, or observing others struggles, and trying to make those things funny and relatable.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Matthew Zerilli:  I am always thinking of premises to develop and writing them down all over the place (which can drive my wife crazy), and then setting aside time to develop things by writing them out long form. Lately, I am doing more “writing on stage” by working things out onstage and recording them to develop later.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Matthew Zerilli:  Excellent question. I have a couple of rescue dogs (Sully and Monkey) that are a huge part of my life. I have a real soft spot for animals and try to always find time to get them out for a walk or a hike. They keep me grounded and are a great audience to practice my jokes on!

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Matthew Zerilli:  For the most part (laughs). I think it was a difficult adjustment at first because it is a non-traditional path and they want me to be secure. Now that they have seen how serious I am about it and the joy it brings, they are pretty supportive. However, there is still the occasional joke or two that don’t exactly get the most enthusiastic support.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Matthew Zerilli:  Absolutely. I remember the first time I talked about being sober and how anxious I was to get into that on stage. Getting laughs around something so sensitive really helped me feel more like a normal, healthy person. It Is a really valuable piece of my healing that I can’t imagine not doing. Comedy is total freedom for me.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Matthew Zerilli:  Well, I have certainly bombed plenty and had a few hecklers here and there. I would say the one that really stands out is the first time I tried a “Stand up Improv” show early in my career. This is where you get handed a topic on your way onstage and have to make it funny on the spot. It went horribly. I mean, it was profoundly awful. It was an important experience that made me look at my limitations and forced me to work on improvisation skills. I have since tried it again and survived!

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Matthew Zerilli:  My first feature show was my most memorable so far. Lots of family and friends were there and the room was packed. It was the longest time I had ever done onstage at that point (30 mins), and I had worked really hard to prepare and deliver a strong set. It was just one of those special nights where everything came together, I will remember it for a long time.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Matthew Zerilli:  There are so many, but I always come back to this Mitch Hedberg joke:

“I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down.”

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Matthew Zerilli:  I am so grateful to be part of the Comedy tradition in any way. To have the opportunity to make a living doing it in different places is really special. My ultimate dream is just to make as many people laugh as I can, as often as I can, for as long as I can.

To find out more information about Matthew Zerilli or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!
If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy, please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube


From "Accidentally Funny" to Award Winning Comedian: Recovery Comedy interviews Melinda
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Melinda is a comedian, writer and actress who travels the world doing stand-up with a focus on healing through humor, overcoming addiction, and female empowerment. Her smart storytelling style inspired the LA Weekly to call her "the female David Sedaris" and the Examiner to call her "a female Louie." She voices multiple characters on the Emmy-winning series Adventure Time and is the other half of the viral hit Confessions of a Tooth Fairy with Kristen Wiig. Her stand-up has been featured on The Late Late Show, Bonnie Hunt Show, BBC's World Stands Up, Comics Unleashed, Who Wants To Date a Comedian, Stand Up In Stilettos and Comedy TV. Other TV/ film appearances include Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, Comedy Central's Pretend Time with Nick Swardson, Reno 911, The Sarah Silverman Program, Important Things with Demetri Martin, Bill Maher's Bright Day, The Winner, Frank TV, Glory Daze, and Chris Kattan's Bollywood Hero.
She created, wrote, produced and starred in the digital series Romantic Encounters with Melinda, which won "outstanding achievement in writing and acting" at LA Web Fest, was an LA Weekly Web Award nominee for "best comedy series" and was an IndieWire Critic's Pick. It was also selected as a finalist in the 2014 “Make Em Laff” competition sponsored by Funny or Die and Los Angeles Film Festival. In 2013 she created the web series All Growz Up and in 2014 she cocreated The Program with Maria Bamford produced by Funny or Die Productions.
Her live show "What’s Up, Tiger Lily" was named "best stand up show" in LA Weekly & LAist and her critically acclaimed CD The Accidental Bisexual is available on iTunes. She’s a regular comedian at The Improv, Comedy Store, and storytelling shows like Sit N Spin at Comedy Central Stage. She is a regular contributor for Huffington Post Comedy, XOJane and Hellogiggles and her essays have been featured in LA Innuendo & Opium Magazine.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Melinda:  We moved 27 times so I was always the new girl. I did a lot of plays and made up characters and voices around the house.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Melinda:  15 years…An acting teacher suggested I go into comedy because I was “accidentally funny.” I loved the autonomy of writing and creating your own material.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Melinda:  Yes, those first few years of comedy were brought to you by vodka and cigarettes.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Melinda:  Yes, my message is focused healing through humor—empowering and inspiring the human race.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Melinda:  Maria Bamford, Louis CK, Kristen Wiig, Steve Martin and all comedians who repurpose their material into books, movies, series and specials. I love silly, absurd, poignant and smart comedy.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Melinda:  Life. It’s all around us at all times.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Melinda:  I am really just a channel for what happens in life. I think of it more as transcribing than writing.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Melinda:  Deep dish pizza and red wine—just being alone on a couch with that stuff like “you can’t hurt me cuz I’m gonna hurt me!”, getting sick, bringing it out to the trash bins for someone less
fortunate to enjoy, perhaps a homeless person…then bringing it back in 2 hours later to finish myself and realizing I’m the person less fortunate. : (

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Melinda:  Yes, although whenever I tell my mom about a success she says “that’s great honey, I hope that ends up working out for you one day.” I’m like it just did end up working out for me, this day, the day that I got the job."

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Melinda:  Absolutely. If I can find the light in a dark situation it not only heals me but it heals countless others going through a similar thing by enabling them to find the humor in it.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Melinda:  Bombing on America’s Got Talent.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Melinda:  Performing for troops in 12 countries, cancer patients and just people who really needed it.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Melinda:  The ones that heal.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Melinda:  To write and star in my own series, movies and specials.



To find out more information about Melinda or to book her for your next Recovery Event just click here!
Drink coffee like a boss at your next meeting with the Recovery Comedy Coffee Mug, “One Sip at a Time!”
If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy, please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube

Don't Put Your Junk Into Anything With a Horsepower Rating: Recovery Comedian Jim Trino
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Born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. Jim grew up swimming in rivers, hydrosliding in canals, hunting with friends and playing with fireworks. Standard issue guy shit. Jim graduated High School, went on to college and eventually earned a degree in theater arts.  His dad still calls that diploma his receipt. During these years a slow progression into the world of alcoholism and drug addiction was coming to fruition. It all started out fun and ended up Jurassic Park.
Jim got clean for the first time in 1989 and started ski racing which brought him all the way to the world cup. He then relapsed and for 8 years, including a 2 year prison term where Jim learned all about tweaking and recycling. Jim got clean in 1999 and has been in the program ever since.
Comedy came with sharing and healing came with laughter. Jim has been through a divorce and the death of friends and family and hasn’t found a reason to use. Currently he is married to a wonderful woman (who is typing this shit against her will at 10pm). THE END...... Can I have a job? Please?

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Jim Trino:  Ha depends on who you ask. I say I was an athletic nerd that liked Bugs Bunny cartoons way too much. Mom and Dad say I was a pain in the ass.  They found my on the roof at the age of 3, and on the roof of moms moving car (while she was driving) to talk to her thru windshield.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Jim Trino:  Decide to become a comedian? Is that what you call this?? Well, I fell into it speaking at 12 step meetings.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Jim Trino:  I didn't start performing until after it got funny. (The cops might have a different story)

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Jim Trino:  Yeah, there's a message. . . Drugs make you do stupid shit. Never put your dick in something with a horsepower rating.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Jim Trino:  I don't have a particular idol, I like many for different reasons.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Jim Trino:  I don't have writers, 51 years of stupid shit gives you lots of material.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Jim Trino:  Gotta laugh on that one... As I said most of my material was lived.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Jim Trino:  Kids at my shows. My own son was my worst heckler.

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Jim Trino:  Oh fuck yea!!!!

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Jim Trino:  Comedy has been the best part of my healing process and when there are new comers in audience that think they can "never tell anyone about that", they heal also.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Jim Trino:  I have hard nights, but they have all been learning experiences.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Jim Trino:  Performing at the Comedy Store and having Andrew Dice Clay say, "That was some funny shit sporto".

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Jim Trino:  I like being the "vacuum cleaner guy".

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Jim Trino:  Make a living at comedy, quit swinging a hammer, and get character acting roles or voice overs (my voice would have been perfect in Bug Bunny).

To find out more information about Jim Trino or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!

Drink coffee like a boss at your next meeting with the Recovery Comedy Coffee Mug, “One Sip At A Time!”

If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube


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