The Junkie and The Monk - Mike DeStefano
“I was sort of between religions at the time. ”
The Junkie and The Monk
After a series of devastating blows, a comedian decides to take his own life.
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Two days later, he told the story we’ve come to call The Junkie and the Monk, which was a sort of sequel to the motorcycle story and which you can hear on this episode of The Moth Radio Hour. It was another home run. Mike went on to tell many more stories at The Moth, and even hosted a few live shows.
Part of what I loved about Mike as a storyteller is that he didn’t hide behind his comedy. He made you laugh out loud, but didn’t shy away from the depth and seriousness of the story for a second. He was just a guy who saw humor in everything telling you about the most important events of his life, many of which were heartbreaking.
He was one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever known. Behind that gruff demeanor was a man with a huge heart. In rehearsals he was always encouraging the others, especially the first time storytellers for whom taking the Moth stage involved great risk. In his last Moth show he shared the stage with John Dau, one of the famous “Lost Boys” of Sudan. John was nervous about talking about his more traumatic experiences, and Mike was very encouraging. Mike knew first hand how terrifying facing your darkest memories could be.
Recently his career had really taken off. He was a finalist on the show Last Comic Standing, appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and in his own Comedy Central special.
On March 6, 2011 Mike had a massive heart attack and died. He was 44. Mike was one of the Moth’s greatest voices, and we mourn him and the stories he had left to tell.