Comedian Brody Stevens was found hanged on February 22, 2019, dead at the age of 48, and the impact on the comedian community was immediate. Comedy clubs and festivals across the country felt a greater responsibility to promote mental health resources. The topic of depression turned from an on-stage joke to a serious conversation offstage. Fellow comedians gathered for the unofficial 818 Walk in honor of Stevens in August, named after a childhood San Fernando Valley area icon he often refers to in his self-critical parts. In 2021, the second batch of 818 Day includes the official assignment of a LA Parks Foundation memorial seat in honor of Stevens, funded by Mauricio Alvarado of rockin’ pins From a design he created with Stevens before the comedy left.
Since 2019, Stephanie’s sister, Stephanie Brody, recalls, “I’ve lost count of the emails I’ve received from people saying my brother was the first – and sometimes the only – person who reached out and helped them when they were first. … we always knew my brother was A caring and kind person. But the stories we read took what we know about him to a whole other level.”
On Thursday, August 18, at 8 p.m., The Late Comedy Club, The Comedy Store will host a Brody Stevens 818 Day Special, followed by Saturday, August 20, the Brody Stevens Friendship Festival 818 Walk in Reseda.
This year’s partnership event to benefit comedy is back, 501(c)(3) A charity that assists performers in need of mental health support and addiction treatment. After Stevens’ death, the organization shifted its focus from ceremonial fundraising to grassroots outreach, raising awareness of the seemingly light dark side of the occupation.
Zoe Friedman, the veteran producer/writer who founded Comedy Gives Back with Jodi Lieberman and Amber J says it happens inside his brain, and he’s been expressing it in real time. He has given audiences a peek behind the guise of his inner workings.”
Friedman says her favorite part of the Friendship Festival is the love of comedians and fans who want to keep Stevens remembered, bringing the suicide issue to the fore. “If we don’t talk about it, we perpetuate the stigma around it,” says Friedman. “The more we talk about Brody and why we lost him, I think and hope we can help others.”
Saturday’s festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with the unveiling of a new mural of “Brody Forever 818” at the Firehouse Taverna (18450 Victory Blvd.) with Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Stephanie Brody and other family members. A walk starting at Reseda Park (18411 Victory Blvd.) takes participants across the Los Angeles River and past Reseda High School, where Stevens was a star on the Regents baseball team. Sign up in advance $50 or $60 per day starting at 10 a.m. and includes a gift bag. Then, the 1-3 p.m. celebration at the Memorial Seat location will feature speakers, comedian friends, raffles, a photo booth, food trucks, and music from DJ Dense of the LA Clippers. Merchandise including t-shirts and rockin’ staples similar to Stevens’ enamel will be available.
Valley native Stephen James Brody was born on May 22, 1970. He played Division I baseball at Arizona State University, though an arm injury ended a promising career as a professional. Stevens spent time developing comedic scenes in Seattle and New York City before returning to Tall L.A. and in fitness throughout his life, he has remained a staunch proponent of physical activity and healthy eating.
In Los Angeles, Stevens became known as a quick warm-up for series ranging from “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” to Fox Sports and E! “Chelsea Recently” to Comedy Central “The Jeselnik Offensive” and MTV “Ridiculousness”. As Stevens proudly remarked on stage in his “Hangover” in it! “Hangover II” in it! “Due Date” in it! Pieces of “funny people”…”
His autobiographical writings (“I’m severe! I get BO in the bathroom!”) tend to sound more bark than they say. The confrontation with audience members wearing the look of deer in the headlights became a favorite part of their peers on any evening. Despite common phrases such as “positive energy!” or “Pay and Authenticate!”
Stevens described himself as a troubled child. “I was touched. But not by an angel,” began one of the most popular jokes. “The perpetrator was supposed to get three years, but the judge gave him six. Why? Because I was harassed in a building area.” It can’t all be entirely true, but as a talent you are known for brutal honesty, right?
He battled depression from an early age, continuing to take various medications from his twenties onwards. Audiences and interviewers alike have often been informed that he has developed “adult autism”. In 2010, while filming his documentary series “Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!” With executive producer Zach Galifianakis, he was hospitalized for 17 days in the psychiatric ward at UCLA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
His 2017 special “Live From the Main Room” was filmed at the Comedy Store, dividing online comedy fans. Despite being lauded as the “Prince of Periscope,” negative interactions on social media frequently threatened him. Stevens resumed taking antipsychotic medication shortly before his death.
Stephanie’s sister, Stephanie, who has sometimes appeared to be a flaw in his jokes, says he brought much-needed awareness of mental illness and the challenges that come with it in the comedy industry.
“He put the face of illness on and put it out there for all to see. He wanted people to see that there was nothing to be ashamed of or to be ashamed of.” “I see comedians talking more openly about their struggles with mental illness and how they have dealt with it. I see comedians supporting each other and being there for each other. I know he would be proud of the impact he made…just as our family is proud of him.”
Even in the lead-up to this year’s Friendship Festival events, reminders have surfaced that the process of removing the stigma is still far from complete. On Thursday, July 14, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline publicly announced that its 10-digit number would change to a simpler 988. -up, it was discovered on Boyle Heights Bridge in spooky style Shot in the head. Like Stevens, Knight was known for his upbeat mood and welcoming nature.
“Telling strangers things about yourself feels more like a therapy session than a job. But that’s the job they choose,” says Friedman. She cites family dysfunction, trauma, depression, and the general feelings of others as psychological reasons performers might be drawn to the profession.
“Plus, their lifestyles can be very challenging and isolated: on the road, sleeping late, long periods of time during the day alone to fixate and worry about things. Comedians help make audiences feel better by letting us laugh. I hope the process helps them. Throwing their jokes on feeling better too. It seems fair, doesn’t it?”
Or, as Stephanie Brody puts it, “The job of a comedian is to make people laugh. People assume that if someone is funny, they must also be happy. This is not necessarily true…Comedians’ experience of struggle is often hidden by the sound of laughter. Often The world of comedy is ignored when it comes to mental health awareness because of this. Opening up and talking about mental illness helps to break down the stigma. I have noticed a gradual shift in this way of thinking. But our society needs to get to a place where mental illness is not ashamed. I think We are heading in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.”