Mike DeStefano was still on the rise as a comedian when he died of a heart attack at 44. He was one of the finalists on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and definitely stood out from the pack. He wasn’t always the funniest, but there was something direct and heartfelt about him that made you root for him, and you could feel the weight of his personal story, always. He grew up tough in the Bronx. Had been addicted to heroin. Three months before his death, he spoke with his fellow comedian Marc Maron on the “WTF” podcast. With permission from DeStefano’s family, we’ve edited and condensed the interview and replaced the words that can’t be printed in a family newspaper.
DeStefano: She’s holding the pole! Marc, it was a pole with four wheels on the bottom, and we’re riding around this hospice, and you could hear the goddamn wheels jangling and banging; it was insane.
And then I pass the front door, and all these nurses are standing out front, and they’re all crying. They’re watching us, and they’re crying. And I didn’t know why they were crying. I was like, Why are they crying? I didn’t get what they were seeing. I didn’t know. Because I was just in it; I was living it. I knew my wife who had suffered, she was a prostitute, she was a freakin’ heroin addict, she was beaten by pimps — this was her past — and then she ends up with AIDS, and she’s dying, and all she wants is a goddamn ride on my motorcycle.
So the next thing you know we’re on I-95, because women, it’s never enough for them. We’re on I-95, and she unhooks the pole, and she’s holding the morphine bag over her head with her gown that’s flying up in the air so you could see her entire naked, bony body with the morphine bag whipping in the wind, and we’re passing by these guys in their Lamborghinis, and I’m looking at them like, What the hell kind of life are you living? Look at me, I’m on top of the world here.
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