Comedian brings sober stand-up tour focused on recovery to Minneapolis

Two men who overcame substance abuse are now offering comic relief for those in recovery.

The sober stand-up comedy tour is making a stop this weekend in Minneapolis. The show comes as the rate of substance abuse in the United States is on the rise.

"I just want people who are struggling to have a good time," said comedian Zane Helberg.

For anyone struggling with substance abuse, Helberg can relate.

"I’m just telling jokes and stories about my life and it just happens that a good portion of that has to do with the fact that I used to be a drug addict, you know I used to be an alcoholic," said Helberg.

More than year into the pandemic, he's on a nationwide sober stand-up tour.

"It ends up working out that people who share that sort of history relate to what I'm talking about," he said.

"I’m the MC, I introduce him, but I’m also there as a resource," said Benji Fucanan of the Gooden Center, a California-based treatment center. "People come to me after and say, ‘I have a sister who is suffering, I’m suffering, I need help,’ and then I give them the resources to get the help they need."

Fucanan is a suicide survivor and recovering addict.

"For me, someone who has battled addiction, to be able to laugh about it, and joke about it and just be around people who were laughing, it impacted me in ways I can’t describe even being five years sober," said Fucanan.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths rose nearly 30 percent in 2020, making it the highest number ever recorded.

"We are here today because we have recovered and now we can share that hope with others," said Fucanan.

Helberg is using humor as an outlet during tough times.

"If you can come out and laugh through all this stuff that’s going on, you’ve got a leg up against everyone else," said Helberg.

Helberg will perform "Live from Rehab" at the Phoenix Theatre in Minneapolis’ Uptown Saturday night. It's a sober show created for a mature audience.