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Alyssa Limperis uses comedy to cope with grief in standup special

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Alyssa Limperis' comedy special, "No Bad Days," is streaming today on Peacock. Photo courtesy Heidi Gutman/Peacock
Alyssa Limperis' comedy special, "No Bad Days," is streaming today on Peacock. Photo courtesy Heidi Gutman/Peacock

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Comedian Alyssa Limperis said she devoted her standup special, No Bad Days, premiering Friday on Peacock, to her late father to show how much she loved him.

Jim Limperis died at age 59 of glioblastoma in 2015.

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"This isn't at the butt of my dad at all," Limperis told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "No, I love my dad and this is my experience of why it was so hard to lose him."

Limperis performed No Bad Days for six years and retired the act once Peacock recorded it in April. The 31-year-old comedian said she realized she had to make her father the subject of the show, because joking about him in a normal standup set did not go over well with audiences.

"People are trying to have a good time at a show and I'm like, 'My dad was in a coma,'" Limperis said. "I want people to make the choice to come see this. I don't want to burden them with my trauma without them willingly coming on board for it."

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Limperis was close to her father. They would run together, and performed regional theater, open mics and sketch comedy in Attleboro, Mass. He saw her perform standup before his diagnosis, too.

"I was maybe a year in, so he saw probably some of my very first jokes," Limperis said. "I was just a 23-year-old talking about boys basically. Then this changed."

Audiences became more receptive to the material once she crafted the show No Bad Days, Limperis said. Audiences opening up about their own grief was even more rewarding than their laughs.

"There's always someone who would come up to me and say, 'I had this exact same experience' or 'I'm so grateful for you talking about this because I haven't,'" Limperis said. "We're connecting on this thing in a way that is able to make us both laugh about it."

However, discussing her late father does not save Limperis from hecklers. At first she took it personally because No Bad Days is such a personal show. But she got over it.

"I realized this is not about me," Limperis said. "This is about you and maybe you're not ready to talk about this or hear about this and that's okay. I hope one day you are and until then, if you want to take it out on me, that's okay."

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The worst heckle came during a quiet moment in the show. At one point, Limperis lies on the stage and the lights darken.

"I'm on the ground and I just hear from the back, 'What the [expletive]?'" Limperis said. "There's not a worse moment to be heckled so it almost freed me up for the rest of the tour because I was like well, it happened so I'll survive if that happens again".

Having given her last performance of No Bad Days, and committing it to streaming on Peacock, felt bittersweet, she said. While it is closing a six-year chapter on grieving her father, Limperis realized she was simply entering a new phase.

"It's not over," Limperis said. "I will still deal with this in many other ways in my life but this portion of it, I can be done talking about."

Limperis balances standup with acting on the Showtime comedy Flatbush Misdemeanors. In her new act, Limperis still uses humor to cope with serious issues.

"I've been talking about being anorexic and having an eating disorder," Limperis said. "I like talking about something that is dark and important to me and doing it in a way that is palatable and makes people laugh."

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When she was 13, Limperis saw her grandfather with torn clothes after taking a fall and told him, "Papa, if you wanted new clothes, you could've just asked us."

"So I was a smartass from when I was young," Limperis said. "It's always been a tool I used to get through life."

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