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Comedy is Part of His Healing Process, but it isn't Therapy: Recovery Standup Patrick Holbert
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy
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!

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