Humor in Dark Places: The Comedy of Cancer

Friday, November 23, 2012

In the past few years, cancer — a subject once relegated to medical journals and hospital corridors — has become a recurring character on the comedy scene.

Larry David tackled the subject in season seven of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry's girlfriend, Loretta, played by Vivica A. Fox, is diagnosed with breast cancer, and Larry wants out of the relationship. In his trademark awkward fashion, Larry tries — and fails — to convince Loretta's doctor that he's only exacerbating Loretta's disease. Screenwriter Will Reiser says that Curb Your Enthusiasm encouraged him to tackle his own cancer story through comedy in the 2011 film, 50/50, which featured Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt trading jokes about tumors and terminal illness.

Author and designer Kaylin Andres continues this tradition in her new comic book, "Terminally 'Illin." At the age of 23, Kaylin was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that usually affects young children. In the midst of chemo and radiation, comedy became her coping mechanism.


Kaylin Marie Andres

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [1]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

A basic axiom of mine for thirty years has been to go from the sneer of contempt to the frivolous smile...
While recently visiting my mother in the hospital, I was cracking up the woman patient who was in the bed next to my mom... My mother introduced me to the woman as,"This is my son the comedian, there are less funny comedians than him. Then she leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Don't kill her before her disease does."

Nov. 23 2012 01:32 PM

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