On the eve of the release of comedian Rob Delaney’s collection of autobiographical essays, it’s incredible to reflect on the turbulent road that brought Delaney to where he is today. If you only know him from your Twitter feed, where @RobDelaney effortlessly barrages his ever-growing list of followers with offbeat humor, cheeky inquiries to major corporations and poignant thoughts on hot-button issues in under 140 characters, you probably don’t know that he was a different person a mere 10 years ago when he drove his car into a building while driving drunk. Due to the years of alcoholism which ultimately led up to that moment, he had to spend a lot of time in the hospital and then a halfway house. This isn’t hard-hitting investigative journalism; he’s pretty damn open about it.
“I love telling jokes, of course, and I love making people laugh, but I would say having survived two things that kill people every day, [alcoholism and depression,] and having figured out and thought about how I did that, of course with incredible amounts of help from other people, I do feel duty-bound to share the things that I’ve learned because I like people and I don’t want anybody to kill themselves or feel that they have to get drunk or get high all the time just to feel some facsimile of peace,” Delaney explained when I called to chat about his first book. “There are better books in the world than the one that I just wrote, but what I did do well is when I talk about things of a sensitive nature that were dangerous to me, I’m doing it with the years in between and so it’s not therapeutic for me. I’ve already been through formal and informal therapy surrounding these issues, so I didn’t feel in danger when I was writing about them and I don’t think it would’ve been a very good book if I had.”