To mark the release of his HBO stand-up special The Great Depresh, comedian Gary Gulman teamed up with executive producer Judd Apatow last month to put on a benefit show in Los Angeles, where fellow comedians Maria Bamford and Patton Oswalt joined to have a long conversation about mental health and comedy. All four have had their fair share of struggles with depression and mental illness, so the talk covered everything from what it’s like to spend time in a psych ward (Bamford and Gulman have firsthand knowledge), worrying that going on meds will make you a less funny comedian, dealing with hecklers (Bamford says she’s attempted to respond to them using a “mindfulness meditation” approach), how spending too much time on social media makes everything worse, and the worst therapists they’ve ever had.
On social media, Apatow shared one solution that’s worked for him whenever he comes across a mean tweet about him. “You know what I do in that moment? I go through that person’s tweets, and I will go back years and years,” he said. “And there will be something pleasant on it, right? So they’re like ‘Judd Apatow is shit,’ and then I will find something from three years ago, like a picture of them with their new puppy. And I’ll just retweet it. I am watching you. I know everything.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Gulman made the perfect joke about living life in a body that never matches his emotions. “I’m built like the Jewish Gaston, but inside …” he said. “I took the Disney prince test, and I’m a Belle: I love to read, and mental illness runs in my family.”
Reflecting on Gulman’s Great Depresh set, Oswalt said, “You said something that really made me sit up during your set, where you talked about ‘I spend all day getting way too emotionally angry about the pettiest shit.’ But then that, at night, is what pays my bills.” Apatow summed it up in another way. “When you do stand-up or certain types of writing, what I like about it is the worst thing that ever happens, you’re so happy that it happened,” he said. “If your whole life you’re running through that filter, in a weird way you’re excited for all the bad stuff.” Watch the full chat above.