In this special episode, I report from the 41st National Compassionate Friends Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Compassionate Friends is an international self-help support group that provides resources and to families who have lost a child, a grandchild or a sibling. As a bereaved sibling myself, it is the national conference and my local meetings that were the most helpful part of my healing process, and ultimately spurred me to do this podcast in the first place.
This episode features conversations with Zander Sprague, Garrett McCormick and Heather Horsely.
Zander has a podcast of his own focused on sibling grief called The Lemonade Stand, as well as a book about sibling loss called "Making Lemonade." Find his podcast and his book at ZanderSprague.com
Heather Horsely runs the Open To Hope Foundation with her family. Her sister Heidi and her mother Gloria are the faces of Open to Hope, but Heather also plays an integral role in producing a TV and Radio show, as well as countless articles and other resources for people dealing with loss. Go to OpenToHope.com to get the Hope YOU need.
The Compassionate Friends has local chapters all over the country, as well as a number of closed Facebook groups dedicated to specific types of loss. Go to CompassionateFriends.org to see if there's a chapter near you!
In this episode, Jordon sits down with comedian Keenan Steiner to talk about life after the death of his mother nearly 2 years ago to breast cancer.
We talk about the different coping mechanisms we use to deal with the myriad of feelings that come up after a loss, and how to ultimately be functional without being insensitive to what we conceive as minor grievances.
Follow Keenan on IG @keenstartrillionaire
Check out all other things Keenan at his website HERE.
In this episode, I sat down with comedian, actor and fellow podcaster Dante Nero!
Dante has his own podcast, The Beige Phillip Show, focused on dating and relationships, but Dante and his crew talk about all aspects of life, and all types of relationships, including familial.
6 years after the death of his father and two years after the death of his mother, Dante shares his thoughts about how to reconcile his love for his parents with his animosity towards how they treated him. We talk about finding ways to be the best version of ourselves, and how important forgiveness is, even when you just give it to yourself.
Follow Dante on Instagram @TheDanteNero
Check out his podcast here!
For everything else Dante related, check his website! DanteNero.com
In this episode, Jordon sits down with veteran comedian Ross Bennett to talk about the death of his first wife, over 30 years ago. We talk about how men are taught to deal with grief, as well as how performers harness their truths to create connections and find ways to move forward in both their lives and careers.
Ross just released his second album via Stand Up Records, "Not if You Were The Last Man on Earth." https://standuprecords.com/products/ross-bennett
Stand Up Records produces some of the best comedy albums in the biz, including several former podcast guests. Check out their whole catalogue at https://standuprecords.com
Find out more about all that Ross does at RossBennett.com
In this episode, I sat down with my good friend and comedian Danny Lobell! Danny is unquestionably one of the the original comedy podcasters, and quite possibly the reason I have this podcast myself. We talk about the loss of Danny's first love to a rare form of cancer, and the trials and tribulations that come with having to say goodbye to someone who is desperately trying to hang on. We also talk about the loss of one of Danny's best friends and mentor's, the late comedian Ralphie May.
Follow all things Danny at DannyLobell.com
In this episode, Jordon talks with comedian and podcaster Dan Lamorte! In advance of this taping, Dan felt that he may not have had the amount of loss usually featured on this show, but upon sitting down it seemed as though he actually had quite a bit of personal loss, despite some of it being other than close loved ones. We talk about a multitude of types of loss, from friends to extended family members, to careers, relationships, and ultimately about the loss of ones self.
Follow Dan and all that he does at http://www.danlamorte.com
In this episode, I sat down to talk with comedian Stacy Kendro about the various losses that she has had in her life, and the ways in which they have brought her appreciate the life that she has.
Stacy has lost both of her parents to cancer, and both of them went out of their ways to shield her from their illnesses, giving her less than a week to process the diagnosis before they were gone.
Since then, Stacy has found ways to acknowledge their absence while still being acutely aware of their respective impacts on her life moving forward.
Follow Stacy and find out more about what shes up to at http://stacykendro.blogspot.com/
In this episode, I sat down with comedian Harris Stanton. Despite dealing with a number of losses, the greatest one was that of his friend and mentor Patrice. We talk about how to move on after losing one's guide, as well as how to carry the lessons we've learned forward with us.
Additionally, we touch briefly on the car accident that Harris was involved in that left Tracy Morgan and Ardie Fuqua in coma's and Jimmy Mack dead. Harris may have walked away with but a few scratches, but he also has vivid memories of the accident and it's aftermath that have stayed with him.
Check out what Harris is up to at https://www.facebook.com/harris.stanton
Get his album "Naive Innocence" from Itunes!
In this episode, Jordon sits down with one of his good friends from college, Kendra, who lost her brother Scott to suicide nearly 6 years ago, while Kendra herself was 7 months pregnant with her second child.
We talk about the difficulty of overcoming the stigma in talking about suicide and mental health, and the importance of understanding that depression is a disease that we ought to stop sweeping under the rug.
We also talk about the importance of gratitude, and how appreciating what we have in front of us can help gain a perspective on what we've been through.
Happy New Year to everyone, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 . . .
In this episode I sat down with Harriet Cabelly, author of the book, "Living Well Despite Adversity."
In her book, Harriet has compiled 36 separate interviews with people from all walks of life, each of whom has been dealt an otherwise unwinnable hand and turned it into a opportunity to serve as an example to others that we can always triumph over our situation with strong choices and unwavering followthrough.
We talk about the importance of acceptance, and giving ones self permission to feel, be it joy or despair.
Find out more about Harriet at her website Rebuild Life Now
Jordon sits down with voice over artist Bill Ratner, known for dozens of voices you've heard before on TV and radio, yet most famous (at least to Jordon) as the voice of Flint on the popular cartoon G.I. Joe.
Before finding success as an artist and a storyteller, Bill essentially became an orphan at an early age, losing his mother at 7, his brother at 13, and his father just 3 months after that.
For over 50 years, Bill has found ways to continually strive to bask in the light, driven by the loving and supportive environment he enjoyed for far too little time.
We talk about the helpful nature of various forms of therapy, and how our loved ones find ways to reach out and continue to be a force in our lives.
Follow Bill on Twitter @BillRatner
Check him out online and find out where you can see him live! http://billratner.com/
In this episode, Jordon sits down with comedian Doug Hildemann, who lost his wife Kelly a little over a year ago. We talk about how difficult it is to find places to work towards moving forward, while still carrying our past with us.
To find out more about where Doug is performing, check out his FB comedy page, entitled, "Not Doug Hildemann's Comedy Page or Anything."
Episode 50 is here!
I'm so excited that I made it to 50 episodes, and I commemorated it by recording this show LIVE at the Zinc Bar in the West Village in NYC!
I changed up the format of the show a little bit to showcase some of my favorite prior guests who actually have material in their acts about loss, followed by a panel discussion on what it's like to do that type of material, and where the desire to connect with an audience can lead you!
Featuring comedy from Janice Messitte, who lost her husband two weeks after their wedding. Follow her on FB to find out where she's performing next!
Evan Williams lost his brother when he was 19, and his mother just a year later. Check him out online and follow him on twitter and instagram! https://evanwilliamscomedy.com/
Frank Liotti, in addition to his many live performances around the city (which can be found at his website - FrankLiotti.com ) also has a podcast of his own called FAT PIG, which he co-hosts with Jessica Kirson. Listen and subscribe here!
Follow him on Twitter @Frank_Liotti
Here we go again!
In the second installment of a special 2 part episode, Jordon talks more about The Compassionate Friends LIVE from their 40th National Conference in Orlando Florida.
This episode features a couple brief interviews with both Tracy Milne Edgemon, as well as her mother, Bobbi Milne talking about their experiences at the conference, and how they differed this time around based on new circumstances.
Also featured is the key note speech from the Sunday closing ceremony of the conference, delivered by Jennifer Perez of the Miami chapter.
This episode is very focused on The Compassionate Friends, a self help support group for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. If you are looking for support, it is always available. Find a local meeting or online support today by going to The Compassionate Friends website and reaching out.
In this very special episode, Jordon interviews a number of people at the 40th Annual Compassionate Friends Conference in Orlando, FL.
Jordon follows up with a couple former podcast guests on their experiences at the national conference, Keith Singer (Episode 3) and Alan Pederson (Episode 14) as well as sits down for a more extended interview with Luci Abrahamson to talk about how much being a part of TCF, and a leader at the National Conferences has impacted her path towards healing herself and others.
This is part 1 of 2 Live From the Conference, and it's all leading up to the 50th Episode, which will be taped LIVE in front of an audience at Zinc Bar on August 27th!
Check out the event page on our FB page and get tickets now!
Use Promo Code RUSSELL when buying tickets, and they're FREE!
This episode was a long time coming! Jordon Sits down with comedian Michael Sommerville to talk about the journey he's been on since the death of his brother Paul in 1997. As a baby, Paul had to undergo brain surgery, the complications of which ultimately led to his death. Now, almost 20 years later Michael felt like it was time to talk about it.
We talk about the importance of following your own path, and the ways in which priorities shift after a significant loss. We also talk about how to appreciate the little things along the way.
Check out Michael online at
Also, be sure to check out his new webseries called How to (blank) a man!
In this episode, Jordon sits down with fellow podcaster and comedian Keith Price. Keith's mother suffered from alzheimer's disease as well as dementia later in her life, which ultimately took her life. Finally Keith would have the time to spend with his father and have the relationship that he always wanted with him. Except that his father died just 6 weeks later. Despite not having the time to really enjoy it, Keith did manage to make the most of his final days.
We talk about how important community is, and how having friends who let us be ourselves make the journey back into the light bearable. We also talk about how and why we laugh in tough moments, and how healing it can be to take a step back from the immediacy of a loss and point out the ridiculousness of the human experience.
Check out Keith's Podcast, KEITH PRICE'S CURTAIN CALL and revel in his love and experience with the NYC theater elite.
Chris Monty joins Jordon in the studio to talk about the loss of his mother, and about the ways in which he has managed to keep her in his life.
We talk about spirituality, and the line we walk between faith and WANTING to believe, as well as the real value of a dime.
As it happens, Chris' mother, along with both of her sisters were diagnosed with cancer, and survived their initial bouts, prompting them to create the Three Strohm Sisters Foundation, a non-profit that is dedicated to continuing the fight against cancer.
Learn more about the Three Strohm Sisters here!
Follow everything Chris Monty at his website, ChrisMontyLive.com
Christian Finnegan has lost both of his brothers - his younger brother to heart failure at the age of 19 in 2001, and his older brother to a heart attack at 36 in 2008. In this episode we talk about how one's role within a family change after the death, and how difficult it can be to maintain an identity that is tied to a life that no longer exists.
We also talk about how to remember the full person that died, and not just an idealized version of who they were.
Follow Christian on Twitter @ChristFinnegan
Check him out online at ChristianFinnegan.com
In this episode Jordon sits down with Grammy nominated musician Stephan Crump, who recently released an album called Rhombal as a response to the loss of his brother to cancer.
We talk about the importance of the sibling relationship, and the twists and turns they often take, and the power of forgiveness when all is said and done. We also talk about how music can represent so many different things.
The music itself is quite moving, and the track at the end of this episode is Pulling Pillars (Outro for Patty), the song that we discuss in our interview.
From Stephan Crump on what the album is about:
"Rhombal is not about sadness. much more, its a commemoration of a death well-confronted, of a spiritual evolution i witnessed in my brother during our last days together, and of how close we left each other after what had been, for many years, a very troubled relationship."
Follow Stephan on Twitter @Crumbletones
To find out more about the album go to Stephan's website here!
You can purchase the album Here (on stephans website)
or HERE via iTunes.
In this episode, Jordon sits down with Author Robert Goor to talk about his recently published book, "Dear Andrew . . ."
Rob was an engineer in the robotics department of GE in 1988 when his 8 year old son Andrew was struck and killed by a truck right in front of him. In the ensuing aftermath, Rob struggled to maintain his relationship to Andrew, and began writing letters to him as a way of keeping his connection and allowing him a space to express his deepest emotions.
We talk about the importance of helping others can be, and about how impactful is is to share ones own story as a way of giving others hope.
Find out more about the book HERE
In this episode, Jordon sits down with comedian and actress Brandy Rowell!
Brandy lost her mother when she was 22 just after graduating college, and her father 7 years later, just as she was coming into her own as a performer and as a person.
We talk about the importance of community, and the need to connect with people who not just let you be yourself, but encourage the best of you to come out.
Eddie Brill is a comedian, actor and writer who has spent the better part of his life making people laugh. He is also no stranger to grief and loss. Eddie has lost a sister, a brother, his father and his step-father, as well as numerous friends and colleagues.
In addition to having spent 17 years as the warm up comedian (and eventually comedy talent coordinator) for the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, he appeared on the 4th Annual Russell Ferber Foundation Comedy Fun!draiser, (I'm well aware that my families annual benefit show is not nearly on the same level as Letterman, but there are many fewer spots available.)
In this episode we talk about the accumulation of loss, and of love, and the notion that the show must go on.
In this episode, Jordon sits down with fellow Native NY’er, podcaster and comedian Chris Faga.
Chris’s mother died of a drug overdose when he was 16 years old, and his father died of a stroke only a few years later. We discuss how hard it is to lose your parents at such a young age, and how it can prepare you for other losses down the line.
We also talk about the death of his cousin Lisa, and how important it is to remember and share the funny stories of those who have passed.
Check out Chris’s podcast High Society Radio at http://newtrashcity.com/
Follow Chris on Twitter @HSRadioShow
Well, after a much needed break, I am back.
In this episode I explain myself and my absence, and hopefully also share a few stories you may relate or connect to.
Please "like" the FB page for the show and you'll always know whats going on!