'I Think Probably Death Is Really Not Funny': Carrie Fisher at 2009 Berkley Rep Performance - NBC Bay Area
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'I Think Probably Death Is Really Not Funny': Carrie Fisher at 2009 Berkley Rep Performance

"To look so deeply at darkness in such a dry, funny way. What a gift she was!" audience member at Berkeley Rep

Actress Carrie Fisher talks about Wishful Drinking, the one-woman show she created and performs that's soon headed to Broadway. She spoke to NBC Bay Area in 2009. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016)

It seems almost prescient now, when "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher sat down with NBC Bay Area nearly a decade ago and said there was one thing that couldn’t be made comical.

“I think probably death is really not funny,” Fisher said ahead of a 2009 repeat performance of her one-woman show “Wishful Drinking” at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

That was seven years before her death at age 60 was announced. A representative for her daughter, Billie Lourd, made the announcement, saying, "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly."

"Wishful Drinking" described itself as an “uproarious and sobering” look at Fisher's own Hollywood hangover, detailing parts of her life as a single mother born to celebrity parents, battling addiction and weathering the ride of manic depression.

‘Star Wars’ Icon Carrie Fisher Dies‘Star Wars’ Icon Carrie Fisher Dies

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, best known for her iconic role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" movies, has died at the age of 60, her daughter announced Tuesday. Cheryl Hurd reports.
(Published Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016)

Fisher said the point of the show — which she said played to mostly gay men, sci-fi lovers and drug addicts — is "making things that aren't funny ... funny."

Her death comes with the latest "Star Wars" movie, Rogue One, playing in theaters. While Fisher is not in the film, a digital likeness of her character, Princess Leia, appears. Days before her death, she was tweeting about "death marching ever closer."

Her character and the long-running "Star Wars" empire has several ties to the Bay Area. (During the 2009 interview, Fisher said she said that she and her Star Wars persona were inseperable. "It's not going to go away,” she said. “You can buy like creams and sprays. I am Princess Leia – deal with it.”)

Star Wars writer and producer George Lucas still works at Skywalker Ranch in the secluded Nicasio in Marin County. In San Francisco, a Yoda statue, among other characters, greet guests at Lucasfilm offices in San Francisco. Lucas sent out a statement saying that he and Fisher had been friends most of their adult lives. "In Star Wars, she was our great and powerful princess," he wrote, "feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think."

But it was when she was performing at Berkeley Rep that Fisher detailed some of the hardships of her life. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 24. That wasn't funny at the time, she said, but she later learned to work the humor of it into her act.

Carrie Fisher Through The Years Carrie Fisher Through The Years

Then there was 2005, when gay Republican media adviser R. Gregory Stevens was found dead in Fisher's Beverly Hills Home. He died of an overdose of cocaine and OxyContin. The two had been best friends.

"Having someone die in your bed isn't funny, " Fisher said, taking a pause. "That took a long, long time."

Cathy Brooks, who now lives in Las Vegas, was at the Berkeley theater watching Fisher perform in 2009. In a phone interview, Brooks said Fisher's monologue was "spectacular."

She said Fisher's death was like a "death in the family friend, and I never even met her."

When she saw the show, Brooks said she, too, was an addict. But she sobered up over the next year, and credits Fisher, in part, for giving her more than a gentle tap on the shoulder to straighten her life around. "You hear clues from someone else in recovery," Brooks said. "Like she just spoke her mind, as if she'd been to the edge of the abyss and dangled right into it. That performance still resonates with me. To look so deeply at darkness in such a dry, funny way. What a gift she was!"

As for the death question, Fisher came back to it during the 2009 interview. At first, she pondered aloud, "not having experienced it, I think no," death is not funny.

Then something made the comedian change her mind: "You gotta make it funny, or you'll just be destroyed or something...I think you got to make it funny as soon as you can. If you claim it, you own it."

Contact Lisa Fernandez at lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com or 408-432-4758. Follow on Twitter at @ljfernandez

 

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