Andy Richter's Powerful Response To 'Depression Is A Choice' Tweet

By David Konow 11/21/17

The comedian and Conan co-host got candid about depression's impact on his life in response to an insensitive tweet.

Andy Richter

Andy Richter has become known for his tweets, but it was no laughing matter when he saw a tweet saying “depression is a choice.”

Richter’s response? “Oh really? Well 'go f-ck yourself' is a directive.”

Richter didn't let it go at that, confessing to having struggled with depression for a long time. In a series of tweets, he wrote, “I have been followed by an ever-present amorphous sadness for almost my entire life... It varies in strength from a casual unresolvable suspicion that I will never find the joy that others do in a sunset, to the feeling that being dead might [be] a respite and a kindness.”

Richter confessed that for “decades” he’s been taking medication for his depression, and has also been in therapy. “I will still reach the end of my life having walked through most of it with an emotional limp," he tweeted. "I do not wallow in self-pity. No one did this to me. It is just how it is. I am just unlucky.”

Richter concluded his tweets by writing, “If you are unburdened by depression, real true depression, count yourself lucky. Keep your quick fixes to yourself. This is the kind of bullsh-t that kills people. Learn, then speak. Or just be lucky and quiet.”

While a journalist named Emma Roller took Richter to task, writing that he could use his tweets “to dispel myths about mental health without punching down,” Richter defended his harsh tone, which he admitted was “like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Richter went on to explain that he went on a Twitter rant because "the person who wrote it expressed a very prevalent mindset that needs to be addressed... Yes, the initial tweet was aggressive and lop-sided. But the discussion it inspired IS useful. Impersonalizing it would have been less effective, I think. And it is twitter. We are all humans here.”

Time reports that Richter spoke openly this year about his mental health struggles on the podcast The Hilarious World of Depression saying, “It’s like a bad back that I’ve learned to cope with. Exercises, medication, therapies. I’ve gotten it to a workable level. It’s not to say that it doesn’t affect my quality of life, because I think it probably does. But so does a bad back."

"Don’t think of any form of mental health medical procedure as an admission of weakness. If your leg is broken, you put a splint on it." 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.