Rank #1: Wil Wheaton Is Really Hoping It's All Worth It
Wil Wheaton was a child star in Stand By Me, a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager, and has been trying to figure out his role in show business for a long time since then. He was dealing with the pressures of fame and the fickle tastes of Hollywood, all while dealing with a chemical imbalance in his brain that made him prone to anxiety and depression. Wil's better now thanks to medication, but despite his long IMDb page and regular work on The Big Bang Theory, his hit YouTube show, and a thriving and varied career, he sees himself primarily as a failed actor.
Rank #2: Hannah Hart Gets Drunk, Tries To Make Grilled Cheese, Gets Famous, Tries To Enjoy It
Although she comes across as confident and happy on her incredibly successful YouTube channel, Hannah Hart has plenty of experience with insecurity and misery in her life. Growing up, she faced severe poverty, hunger, and dealing with a mother who was mentally ill. Still, she made it into a good college where she had to confront issues about her religion and her sexuality on her way to getting two degrees and not being able to be proud of any of it because of depression. Today, she's a star, dispensing advice on life, relationships, and how to cook when you're completely drunk. Life is full of unexpected paths sometimes. This is our final episode of season 2, but stay tuned for season 3 and bonus placebo episodes between seasons.
Rank #3: Andrew Zimmern Wrecks His Life, Rebuilds His Life, and Eats Weird Food
Celebrity chef and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern has made a reputation as a culinary expert with an adventurous streak, traveling the world and sampling tree grubs, shark meat, tarantulas, and horse rectums among many other cuisines. But before his current fame, he was on the street, stealing handbags to fuel his alcoholism, which existed to deaden his long-held depression. We hear about hitting bottom, redemption, and Andrew's friend, the late Anthony Bourdain.
Rank #4: Adventures in Therapy
True stories of beautiful epiphanies and majestic, horrible disasters. Talk therapy is one of the most popular ways to address depression and it's one of the most effective. Still, at its root, talk therapy is a relationship between two humans -- strangers, mostly -- trying to figure out something complicated together, and that is inherently complicated. Our listeners have stepped up to provide true life tales of therapy gone comically bad and therapy that worked out great. You'll hear about dogs, Flag Day, awkward online dating, painful wedding photos, and even a wedgie. Check out our sponsor this week: Calm - Get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription when you visit calm.com/world
Rank #5: John Green Falls Victim to Some Bad Fiction While Writing His New Book
Author John Green had one of the best-selling books of the last 10 years with The Fault In Our Stars. The problem is, when you write an acclaimed smash hit, everyone wants you to somehow do it again. In attempting to write that follow-up, Green went off the meds he'd been taking for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, hoping it would bring him to a more vivid and imaginative place. Instead, the crash made him unable to write at all. Hear how Green later used those dark days to craft the protagonist in a new novel, plus growing up with OCD, being a public figure in the privacy of his own home, and what it's like to read book reviews by people who haven't read the book.
Rank #6: Margaret Cho Works Out A Lot And Makes People Upset In New Jersey
She's one of the most influential and innovative comedians of the last few decades, but before all that, Margaret Cho was a Korean-American girl growing up in the 1970s in San Francisco. We hear about the sometimes very darkly humorous ways her family and culture dealt with depression and suicide, and how she harnessed her own depression to begin her comedy. Along the way, the keys to Margaret's often-shocking comedic style emerge and lead to making people upset in New Jersey.
Rank #7: Rachel Bloom Finds Her Voice, Then Uses It To Sing About Stealing Pets and Moving to West Covina, California
Rachel Bloom has never moved across the country to chase a boy like Rebecca Bunch did. Rebecca is the character Rachel plays in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," the hit show she co-created and stars in on The CW Network. But Rachel does have a long history of messed up romantic relationships -- plus depression and intrusive looping thoughts. And her career really took off when she got inspired by another Rebecca: Rebecca Black. You, know. That 2011 song "Friday?" Yep.
Rank #8: Neal Brennan Gives Ketamine and Magnetic Impulses a Try
If you've enjoyed any comedy in the last 20 years, there's a good chance Neal Brennan helped make it. He's a veteran comic, writer, director, and co-creator, with Dave Chappelle, of the acclaimed Chappelle's Show. Over the past 20-plus years, he's also tried everything he could think of to tame his depression. Hear Neal's epic journey to feeling pretty good. Neal Brennan's website.
Rank #9: Highlights From A Hilarious Night of Depression
The show busts out of studios and quiet intimate spaces for an on-stage performance at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Comedian Mike Brown joins us for plenty of comedy and conversation. We even bust out a few games where you can play along and see if you can tell a Pokemon from an antidepressant from a weird food served at the Minnesota State Fair.
Rank #10: Linda Holmes Leaves Law to Concentrate On Watching TV and It Works Out Great
Before she was the host of NPR's popular Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Linda Holmes was an attorney working at the Minnesota Legislature. Before that, she was a student living in squalor. And before that, she was the victim of some seriously messed up mean kid behavior. We hear about her unusual path to a better life, the older and very recent struggles she has had, and how the written word proved redemptive. We also hear about how Linda's weight was seen as a symptom of her depression when in fact the depression itself was the problem all along.
Rank #11: Impostor Syndrome: True Tales, Tricks, and Tactics for When You're Feeling Fraudulent
You know the feeling, right? You finally achieve something -- a new job, a promotion, an award -- and while you know you should be proud, you just feel like a big phony who will soon be exposed. You feel like you don't really belong there and you suspect that someone else should be there instead. It's called Impostor Syndrome and it's more common than you might think. We're joined by Dr. Valerie Young to talk about who it effects and what to do about it. And we're joined by you, our listeners, sharing stories of Impostor Syndrome at its most ludicrous and the unorthodox but effective ways you've found to treat it.
Rank #12: PLACEBO: The Things We Tell Ourselves That Help
There are many ways to address depression: therapy, meds, exercise, music. And then there are our own thoughts. We learn the mantras, reminders, and rituals that some of our listeners use to get through it when Clinny D flares up.
Rank #13: Jenny Lawson is Very Fond of Creepy Smiling Dead Animals and Worries Quite a Bit
She's the author of bestselling books and an incredibly popular blog, but Jenny Lawson showed up to our interview wondering, at least a little, if her appearance on this show and her whole career, really, was part of some delusion. It's not. She's the real thing: an incredibly funny and honest writer with a legion of fans, a very old decapitated and stuffed boar's head named James Garfield, anxiety, depression, and a clear-eyed view of the world.
Rank #14: Aimee Mann Discovers That Having Feelings About Terrible Things Is Perfectly Fine
Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann has a reputation for making music that is raw, emotional, and sometimes not all that cheerful. In real life, she's perfectly cheerful - thank you very much - and has traveled a long road of depression, anxiety, a difficult childhood, and writer's block. Through it all, she's taken a calm, considered, and creative approach to problem-solving that has served her well. Oh, and one time as a teenager she wrote a terrible song about hobos.
Rank #15: Neko Case Leaves Bad Places, Goes to Better Places
Long before Neko Case was known as one of the top singer-songwriters working today, she was a punk teenager running around the streets of Tacoma, having ditched a neglectful and dangerous house. Fortunately for her and her eventual fans, she got her life on track, developed a strong interest in music and threw herself in to making it. We hear about how she got herself together in spite of her parents, how depression came to wallop her, and what she did to get on track once again. Plus, we hear about how she joyfully wept when trying to talk to Janelle Monae's backing band.
Rank #16: Jeff Tweedy Didn't Want to Take His Doctor On Tour Because the Doctor Was Terrible
Long before Jeff Tweedy was the founder and leader of the enormously popular band Wilco, he was a kid in Illinois with severe migraines and a tendency toward anxiety and depression. He cycled through alcohol, marijuana, and, finally, opioids to try to get to the point of feeling normal and okay, even relying on a fan who worked at Walgreen's to score him the pills he wanted. Finally, a stint in rehab and a return of self-confidence got him back on track. There's a really sad and darkly funny story in this episode involving a teddy bear and a jar.
Rank #17: Ana Marie Cox Is Not Really Edited Much At All
You know those things that happened but that you don't talk about very much? Or even at all? Because they're too upsetting? In this episode, host John Moe and guest Ana Marie Cox put those things on the table. Ana is a journalist, pundit, and podcaster; she talks about the lowest point in her mental health, a horrible decision, and what came next. John talks about the event that led to this podcast being created in the first place. This is a re-broadcast of an episode from last spring that has garnered a huge response from listeners, and it's presented largely without edits.
Rank #18: The Hilarious NIGHT of Depression
Our show took to the stage recently for a live event packed with laughter, insight, and music. We were joined by Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, and Ana Marie Cox, who all shared their experience with mental illnesses as well as what it's like to be out and about in the world with people knowing what they've gone through. We spin through the hilariously depressing world of Google Reviews in Google Review Theater, take a visit to an O. Henry marriage therapist, and even hear a little about how this very program got started. Check out our sponsors this week: Stitch Fix -- stitchfix.com/HILARIOUS
Rank #19: PLACEBO: Listeners' Favorite Coping Songs
We asked our listeners to tell us about the songs they use when depression is hitting hard. Take a listen to some of the responses, both the songs themselves and the stories behind them in this highly musical trip through the jukebox that is Clinny D. You won't often find mix tapes with Doris Day, hardcore punk, and Foghat all in one place but we are here to provide just that.
Rank #20: The Holiday Coping Mechanism Spectacular
We've gathered up a whole lot of tips, tricks, ideas, and stories to help you get through this time of year when merriness and jolliness aren't always in abundant supply. Hear holiday thoughts from Wil Wheaton, Margaret Cho, Jenny Lawson, John Green, Aimee Mann, and more. Plus, a story about a slobbering zebra.