If there’s one thing many comedians can relate to, it’s depression and anxiety.
So it’s no surprise that comedian Chris Gethard, host of The Chris Gethard Show, would be able to relate to an anonymous fan’s post to him on his Tumblr page about depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s an ironic, yet common, trait within the comedy world.
What’s surprising is that Gethard, who was recently IFC's choice for their inaugural Adopt-A-Comic promotion, took the time to write a thoughtful and heartfelt response on his Tumblr page that has reverberated strongly across the Internet.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gethard recounts his initial reaction to the anonymous posting. “I was filled with fear, anxiety and sadness when I woke up to see the post. To know someone was in that much pain, and they were looking to me for help, I was really uncertain of what to do.”
Since his response, the comedian has heard back from the anonymous poster, "Anonymous reached out to me and we've talked a few times in the past days. I also had some conversations with his family members and it sounds like he's doing a lot better," he says.
“The messaged indicated it was sent from someone who was an audience attendee, so I knew that it was someone whose face I probably know,” continues Gethard. “All I could think was that if I ignored this and weeks later found out a fan of my show jumped off a bridge and I never even tried to help in order to selfishly protect myself, I never would have forgiven myself.”
The anonymous letter stated: "I’m curious if you ever had suicidal thoughts. I admire you and your show and have just been in a really bad place lately. I used to see your show as the last thing I had to look forward to but I haven’t even been back for months and can’t even bring myself out the door to get there without panicking. I’d appreciate any advice really."
The comedian touched upon his own struggle with these feelings in his book, A Bad Idea I'm About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Stunningly Awkward Adventure, which was released earlier this year.
On September 11, Gethard posted a brutally honest, sincere and thorough response about his own struggle with depression and anxiety.
“To answer your question directly - yes, I have had suicidal thoughts in my life. You are not alone,” wrote Gethard. He continued with his own anecdotes of struggling with bullying and suicidal tendencies, even recounting instances of arm cutting and crashing a car on purpose. It begins and ends with a plea to the anonymous fan, “Don’t do it.”
“I am a comedian. My job is to try to make people a little happier,” adds Gethard. “I'd like to think what I did isn't actually that notable. I'd like to think that we live in a world where anyone in my position would offer similar thoughts and help if they had the chance.”
The entire response can be found here.