Category Archives: Tales from the Amygdala

Tales from the Amygdala: Eddie Pepitone

I’m delighted to have received a new “Tales from the Amygdala” video from the brilliant, profane, enlightened, rage-twisted, soulful, frighteningly hilarious comedian Eddie Pepitone. Eddie is simply one of my all-time favorites comics — a great master of the rant and one of the most raw, honest performers I’ve ever seen. His own website refers to him as “a modern day cross between Jackie Gleason, Don Rickles, and Eckart Tolle,” which is pretty damned accurate.

Eddie is the subject of a new documentary, directed by Steven Feinartz (who also shot this video), called “The Bitter Buddha.” Late last year he released his first album, “A Great Stillness.” Get it. It’s fantastic.

Submit your own videos to “Tales from the Amygdala.”  We’d love to have them. Full description of the project — and a great video by Jason Good — here. Video archive housed here. Email: [email protected].

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Tales from the Amygdala: Depraved Pornography Edition

The thing about soliciting anxiety videos from comedians is that comedians, as everyone knows, are disturbed, depraved souls. They get into the business not just because they have a talent for being funny, but because they have a desperate hunger for approval. At the same time, however, they have a desperate hunger to reject approval — to say the most honest, embarrassing things about themselves in front of the widest possible audience. For these displays of insane courage they should be worshipped as heroes, have parades thrown in their name, and have their images cast in bronze.

But you should still keep them far, far away from your daughters.

And with that I give you Matt Ritter. Matt is a member of Comedians-at-Law, a troupe of former lawyers turned comedians; the creator, producer, and star of the hit web series The Bottom Rung, and a man with many humiliating worries. Enjoy them and give meaning to his anxiety.

Submit your own videos to “Tales from the Amygdala.”  We’d love to have them. Full description of the project — and a great video by Jason Good — here. Video by Ann Carr here. Video by Benari Poulten here. 

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Tales from the Amygdala: Rage, Temp Jobs, and Some Possible Cannibalism

The creator of the latest submission to the “Tales from the Amygdala” project will already be familiar to many of you. You will recognize Ann Carr from the Season 1 finale of “Louie,” in which she played (her words) an “overly emotive basket case of a babysitter.” Or you’ll recognize her from her prolific commercial work. Or from her hit solo show “Use It.” Or you’ll recognize her from her popular web series, “The Actress,” which is hilarious and disturbing and arguably the best evocation of status anxiety since Woody Allen’s “Celebrity,” a movie that gave me a panic attack.

A prefatory note about Ann’s video: at first it may seem like it’s subject isn’t anxiety at all but anger and rage. Ann doesn’t talk about hyperventilating or chewing her fingernails or anything like that. She talks about wanting to hurt people, and the fear of being hurt, and the sense that she’s going to lose control of herself. But I’d argue (and in Monkey Mind in fact I do argue) that these things are very much a part of anxiety. They are a part of anxiety because they have their source in uncontrollable, unwanted, and upsetting thoughts — thoughts that suggest things are not as they ought to be, and that your mind, while still recognizable, may at any moment break free of the reins with which you think, wrongly, you’re holding it steady.

Or maybe Ann’s just nuts. She could be nuts. I’m honestly not sure.

Submit your own videos to “Tales from the Amygdala.”  We’d love to have them. Full description of the project — and a great video by Jason Good — here

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The “Tales from the Amygdala” Project

Today marks the formal beginning of a new video project here at The Monkey Mind Chronicles. It’s a project I’m calling “Tales from the Amygdala,” after the putative seat of fear in the human brain. (Alternative title: The “It Might Not Get Better” Project. But I’d like to stay optimistic.)

The idea is to post an original video — every Monday, if possible — from people who have struggled or are still struggling with anxiety and panic. The videos should be on the short side, two-to-four minutes or so, and the guiding prompt is simple: What makes you anxious? If you have an anxiety-horror-show story (you know, like the time you were so nervous you vomited on your history professor) please tell that. If not, then just say what anxiety means to you personally. What role has it played in your life? How have you coped? How would you define your relationship with your anxiety?

Today we have a great video submitted by the standup comic and writer Jason Good, whose hilarious and original blog I commend to everyone. And now, without further ado, enjoy basking in Jason’s insanity:

Please submit links to all videos (uploaded to Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) to [email protected]. And here’s another great video, from the standup comic and soldier Benari Poulten.