Prince’s archives are the stuff of legend, but what about Mitch Hedberg’s? We’ll soon find out, as in a guest column in today’s The Hollywood Reporter, Hedberg’s widow, Lynn Shawcroft, reveals that she’s spent the last eight months diligently digitizing a huge archive of unreleased material from the late comedy legend, and that “at some point soon, all of you will be hearing and seeing Mitch again.”
Shawcroft says that she and Hedberg filmed four of his shows on 16mm before his death, “enough for a brand-new concert film,” and that she also has a wealth of home-video footage Hedberg shot himself, with his narration, that could be cut into a documentary about his life. (One Hedberg show where he tries out new material was released as a posthumous special, Do You Believe In Gosh?, in 2008.) She obsessively hoarded everything that was left when Hedberg suddenly died of a drug overdose in 2005, she says, but wasn’t emotionally prepared to dig into the material until recently. She says:
Mitch was constantly jotting ideas onto paper. I have boxes and boxes of his notebooks, envelopes stuffed with hotel pads and scribbled-on napkins. I even found an airplane barf bag covered with notes. When he wasn’t writing, he was talking into a microcassette recorder, so I also have boxes of microtapes of him practicing and perfecting his material—material that’s never been heard.
It’s not clear at this point what exactly Shawcroft plans to do with the digitized material, but she does seem to make vague reference to an online archive when she writes, “Every half-written joke, every spontaneous utterance onto microtape, will be accessible with a few clicks on a mouse.” She also says that she’s been approached by several directors who want to make a documentary about Hedberg, but that “Whatever I do, I’ve got to do myself.”