Hilarious And Heartbreaking

Danger Response Comic

Allie Brosh, author of the brilliant web-comic Hyperbole and a Half, has published her first book. In an interview, Brosh discusses her approach to comedy:

Stand-up was originally the thing that I wanted to do. I love stand-up, I watch a lot of it, I’m just very, very into stand-up. It’s always been a dream of mine to do that. I haven’t figured out how to do it in a way that I feel comfortable with. I almost think my writing and drawing is a result of my attempts to – subconscious attempts, of course – to bring the look or the feel of stand-up to this inanimate space. So there is more of facial expressions in drawings, so there is more of that sense of watching someone’s facial expressions and body language while you’re listening to them tell you jokes.

Linda Holmes applauds Brosh for writing so candidly about her ongoing battles with depression:

First-person cultural narratives about major battles are often written through the distorting haze of a long memory — that’s what David Carr was trying to counter when he investigated his own past for his memoir Night Of The Gun. But there’s no substitute, really, for the necessary honesty that comes with currency. Allie Brosh is Allie Brosh right now. You can wish her well, but she’ll tell you she’s not sure how it’s going. That’s part of why people with depression believe her. It’s part of why they trust her so much. She told The Telegraph about depression: “It’s sort of like a thing that is maybe a tunnel, but also maybe a giant tube that just keeps going in a circle. And you can’t tell which one it is while you’re in it. There might be light, but there might just be more tube.”

If you want to know how hard it is, she’s telling you that’s how hard it is. Not was, is. And as uncomfortable as that might be, it’s a perspective worth offering.

In another interview, Brosh reflects on the response she got to her posts on depression:

I got great feedback. It’s strange. People said they identified with it and related to it, and it helped them feel less alone. Depression can be an extremely isolating experience. But after I posted it and people said, “Hey, I related to this,” it did the same thing for me. [Depression] was isolating for me, but to have people saying they went through something similar was reassuring to me too… It was liberating to be able to take this thing, the worst thing that had ever happened to me, and really look at it. And look at all the absurdities of it. It just felt so freeing to really own it.

The above cartoon comes from an excerpt from her book. Previous Dish on Brosh here, here, and here.