By Chelsie Derman
Filling into the seats of the library’s auditorium, the audience prepared itself for an evening of reflection, emotion and laughter.
Comedian Patrick Holbert discussed his past issues with alcoholism through humor in his stand-up comedy show, “Punch Line Drunk,” on Thursday, Feb. 27.
His comedy show began with a few words from the Collegiate Recovery Community, a group of students who are either in recovery or are allies of substance use disorder and other mental health issues. From here, student performers from the College’s Stand-Up Comedy Society took turns giving brief comedy shows.
After the short, student-based comedy shows, Holbert made his way to the stage. Transitioning from the lighthearted comedy the students before him performed, Holbert poked fun at his younger self and then took a more serious turn when he talked about his past with substance use disorder.
Addressing alcoholism from a personal experience, Holbert expressed gratitude for his recovery process.
“I had a lot of fun in sobriety,” Holbert said. “I got to do shows like this.”
For eight years, his alcoholism pulled experiences away from him. Trapped by his addiction, alcohol stripped away all chances of achieving his dreams and made him turn into an “ass,” he said.
“I became a different mammal,” Holbert joked.
From getting arrested three times on his college campus to stripping naked in public at night, Holbert let alcohol take over his life.
While Holbert began to overuse alcohol by himself, it was peer pressure that led to his addiction.
His high school friends, “The Booze Hounds,” visited Holbert in college and pressured him into having a drink. From there, things only went downhill and Holbert’s addiction began.
“I became this mean, horrible monster,” Holbert said.
For a long time, Hobert was not in a good place— his addiction negatively affected everything from his aspirations to his romantic relationships. But eventually, Holbert started seeing a therapist and got the help he needed.
In his comedy show, Holbert used humor to tell an emotional story, balancing a dark topic with a light mood.
The audience was moved by Holbert’s journey, reflecting on the best coping mechanisms in the face of adversity. The most important thing that one audience member took away from the show is the need for a strong support system during life’s low points. Towards the end of the show, Holbert shared the method that most helps him deal with hard times is sharing his story with others and calling a friend to alleviate what may be wearing him down.
“Times can be hard and you need the right people to get through it,” said Emma Wheiler, a junior psychology major.
Holbert remains grateful for his now-sober life. From a troubling addiction to an ongoing fight to stay clean, Holbert now gets the chance to do what he loves the most — perform.