Choices We Made: Express Your Grief or Keep It In? (with Rob Delaney)

Subscribe to Lemonada Premium for Bonus Content

When actor Rob Delaney’s two-and-a-half-year-old son Henry died, Rob decided to share his family’s experience with Henry’s illness and death with the world. What emerged was the deeply personal memoir, “A Heart That Works.” In this best-of episode from 2023, Sam asks Rob about how his approach to his career shifted after Henry passed away, a seemingly small choice he made at a recovery meeting that ultimately changed the trajectory of his life, and his thoughts on the platform formerly known as Twitter going off the rails.

Follow Rob Delaney @robdelaney on X and Instagram.

Keep up with Samantha Bee @realsambee on Instagram and X. And stay up to date with us @LemonadaMedia on XFacebook, and Instagram.

For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to

Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at



Rob Delaney, Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee  00:21

I am a member of two unions that are currently on strike the Writers Guild and sag AFTRA. So I have been thinking a lot about work, what it means to have a job. If you’re lucky, your job can bring you joy, and purpose, and maybe a sheet cake from the grocery store once a year on your birthday. If nothing else, I mean, hopefully it pays you a living wage. And in this country, perhaps most importantly, a job is supposed to provide you with health insurance. I strongly believe a job should provide that sheet cake. Yes, chocolate is preferred. But I have some serious choice words for whoever decided that an American’s health care should be tied to their employment. The quality of the office supplies you steal the awkward compulsory holiday party the boring yet addictive gossip. These are all things that should be tied to employment, but having to decide if it’s worth it to have a doctor, look at your weird mole. That should have nothing to do with your nine to five, being proficient at XML should not be a prerequisite for going to the dentist. Our bodies are not perfect. They were not designed to be they are hairy, and squishy and disgusting. And definitely make sounds that you know maybe occasionally want a second opinion on and our society would be a better place. If there wasn’t a work requirement for your health. We are all entitled to health and I am so sick of the barriers we continuously put up to bar people from care that will make their life better. You should not worry that when you lose your TV show, you might never get to see a doctor again. You’re already worried. You might never work again. No, just me. Okay. Look, when you lose your job to a robot you shouldn’t have to worry that you’ll never be able to see a doctor again. Robots don’t even need health care when they get sick. You just stick them in a bowl of rice. This is Choice Words. I’m Samantha Bee. Joining me today is the very funny and truly wonderful Rob Delaney of catastrophe Deadpool and Twitter fame. And as an American who has made a home in England, he constantly uses his voice to champion Britain’s National Health Service which provides public health care for its citizens. I loved talking to him. So take a listen and make good choices it is such a gift I feel like that you said yes to me. I’m so damn excited to talk to you.

Rob Delaney  04:34

This is wonderful. Thank you.

Samantha Bee  04:36

I don’t know if you know how big a fan I am of yours, but I truly am. So I feel like anyways, we have a tremendous amount to talk about and I just finished. I read your book a heart that were Wow. Well, thank you. We are going to talk all about that because it really is. It’s a magnificent book. Thank you. I mean But first and foremost, I want to talk about choice with you. And then we’ll get into all the other stuff. What is your what is your relationship like? To the idea of choice? Like, are you good at good at making decisions? Were you good? And now you’re not good? Or are you just like great at it?

Rob Delaney  05:16

No, I mean, I’m better at it now, in that I don’t get breast out to the point of pain. Because I know by now to make the decisions from a place of like, caring and love. So I feel like that kind of makes it that there wouldn’t be a wrong decision. You know what I mean, if you like elaborate a possibility that like, Hey, I might be making a mistake. But I’m not doing it out of selfishness, or idiocy, or because I’m high on horse tranquilizers, then it’s probably going to be okay. And then also, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with doing nothing. You know, when we’re young. I think a classic example would be like, we all know now, unfortunately, what a crisis PR team is, when something happens and people are going, Oh, God, what do I do. And so frequently, in those situations, what you can do is nothing. And people will forget pretty quickly. Like, I remember when Michael Phelps got caught smoking pot, and he got robbed by all these people that sponsored him. And I was like, that is so foolish, because very quickly, people are gonna forget that he smoked pot, but they’re never ever going to forget that to date. He’s the best swimmer that ever lived by a wide margin, and will have severed your relationship with him. So a lot of times, it’s like, just hang back, you know?

Samantha Bee  07:03

I feel like someone in my family said sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Big time. And that is I agree with you. That is a very hard place to get hold steady. Yeah, things will reveal themselves.

Rob Delaney  07:20

Yeah. And we recently as a family went through a big choice, slash non choice, where we’ve lived in the UK for nine years. And we moved here from Los Angeles, we spent a couple of weeks in April, in Los Angeles, for the first time in a long time, all five of us. And we had a great time, we saw a bunch of old friends. We were in the ocean and the canyons and the mountains. And we were thinking, this is pretty great. And we thought, Should we move back here? And we kind of thought maybe, maybe we should, you know. And you know, our boys could be outside. There’s a lot that’s great about London, one of those things is not the fact that the sun sets at 3:30pm for five months of the year. If you look at a map where like at the same latitude as like, new found land in Canada, oh, not. Not like Boston, it’s newfound land, right. So to give people an idea, you know, it’s like, we’re it’s like, nearly Swedish. And so that snakes, right, and we’ve got three feral boys who we would like to have outside. My wife is like a triathlete camper. Like she takes us. She’s like, do you want to go camping? And I’m like, okay, and I go, and he starts the fires and everything.

Samantha Bee  08:50

Just like you sleep on a mat. It’s great for your back. You’re like oh..

Rob Delaney  08:55

It’s so we thought, Hey, man, la might be the place. And so we began to make serious preparations to do so. And then, as they say, Here, a couple family members began to wobble in their decision. And then I was like, Alright, everybody, listen, we don’t have to do this. You know, we gotten some momentum going. Like we’d even got spots for the boys at the local public schools and stuff. But then we were like, you know, we don’t we don’t have to do this. And so we like all trust scrutinized London and LA, and we kind of came to the decision. They’re both great. But we already live here and have nine years worth of amazing friendships. And there’s a lot that’s great about it. And you know, I mean, you can get anywhere in Europe by it’s a hop, skip and jump, as my mom would say, and so it’s there’s a lot to love and our son Henry, who I’m sure will talk about Today, he was born here, lived his whole life and died here. And so, like, I like to go to the parks that were at the playground, but he slid down and stuff. And I like to see people who knew him and held him and read to him. And though there’s a lot that that we love about here, and we decided to stay.

Samantha Bee  10:24

How much to buy in? Did you like it? So your sons? They were they were as much a participant in the decision as you and your wife? Did you wait? Yeah, everybody’s opinion equally?

Rob Delaney  10:37

No, okay. Oh, we waited to the parents higher. But we did. The older boys, we definitely involve them and cared what they thought our 10 year old was like, well, I’ll be better at soccer than every other American 10 year olds, so that’ll be cool. And then when we told them, because over here, like there, it’s like going from Krypton to earth. Because just everybody here play soccer at all times. So it’s not that my kids are naturally born gifted. It’s just that they are never not playing it. But whenever they play in America, they just destroy kids, ruin relationships, tear families apart. It’s awesome. But then when we decided we were gonna stay, he was like, Well, you know what, then it’ll be easier for me to get scouted by arsenal, because that’s definitely going to happen. And so he’ll be able to join a Premier League team easier now to work down here.

Samantha Bee  11:32

Right and perfect, was like Canadian kids in hockey. That’s like so, I mean, I grew up in Canada. My husband grew up in Canada, like he just plays hockey at a level that when he comes down here and plays, like afternoon hockey with people who are on college teams, he takes their assets, just like it’s like in the DNA. Well, and also the health care which we’ll also talk about healthcare today. Robust health care system.

Rob Delaney  12:06

You got bad people in charge here? I mean, real scumbags. Really, the fact is, is even though they’re you know, whittling away at the NHS, but it’s so just weaved into the culture that it’ll take them a while to do it. So, though, still to date me, you would definitely rather break your leg here. Or get cancer. I was gonna say get shot, but that doesn’t happen here. Another positive.

Samantha Bee  12:32

Get tapped with a baton.

Rob Delaney  12:35

Yeah, you might get the baton. But not with guns.

Samantha Bee  12:41

Is there a choice that you can pinpoint in your life, like even a small thing that you feel changed your life in ways that are surprising to you? Like, it doesn’t have to be something.

Rob Delaney  12:54

There’s definitely one with like, there’s there’s one that’s like, a fairy tale. I mean, definitely could be like one of the happier Grim Tales, not one. There’s no, there’s no children in cages. No one gets eaten. But it’s it is, oh, Henry enough. And it’s sort of majesty. Where when I first got sober 21 years ago, after a car accident. I, you know, I started go to going to meetings and stuff. And after a year, when I had been sober a year, I remember I saw this Guinea smelly junkie at a meeting and he goes, I had a had a Red Sox hat on. He goes from Boston, like cool, smelly, emaciated. But I didn’t say that I stuck my hand. I was like, Hey, I’m Rob, you know, and we spoke and I gave him my phone number. Because he was like, just trying to get sober. And you know, I, I had been the beneficiary of amazing TLC from wonderful people. And so I did the same thing that had been done to me. And so I gave him my number, and then I never heard a year later. So now I’ve been sober two years. I’m at that same meeting. And this just Adonis, this tanned muscular guy comes up to me beautiful. I’m excited that he wants to isn’t he’s approaching me. He’s going to talk to me or the guy behind me. And he says, Hey, Rob, and I’m like, Yes, he goes, you know, a year ago, I was this skinny, smelly junkie. And right here, you introduce yourself to me, and I was like, Oh, my God, you know, couldn’t believe it was the same guy. He goes, Well, I’ve been sober for a year now. And I lost her number when you gave it to me, but I’d wanted to call you and and this guy is just thriving, and we become friendly. And he tells me that before he got addicted to pills and stuff, he had started a camp for to people with disabilities. And he wanted to know if I wanted to be a counselor at it. And so I was like, yeah. And so I started you working at this camp for adults and kids with cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome and stuff that he had spent years doing before. Anyway, I wound up meeting, the woman who is now my wife at this camp. So because I was like, hey, smelly junkie, that directly led the meeting my wife, you know, you’d much later yeah, and having my children that are also that I’m hiding from right now as though that’s one thing. We’re just doing a little thing. You know, I mean, that took close to no effort, right? You know, just being being nice. And had a domino effect that that changed my life […]

Samantha Bee  16:01

Oh, my God. That’s a beautiful story. That’s a great story. That’s crazy. And to think, you know, that a year later, he was still thinking about you. So not only did your decision to just kind of reach out to someone who you wouldn’t normally give the time of day to it changed your life, but it changed his tune because he kept you in his mind was thinking about you and had the wherewithal to be like, hello. Hello, you. I’m still thinking about the time I lost your number a year ago. That’s amazing.

Rob Delaney  16:35

Just goes to show you know, there’s no little act that you know, you never know. Just bonkers consequences.

Samantha Bee  16:43

We’ll be right back with Rob Delaney after this. I’m sorry, for not knowing this, but at what point did you start doing comedy? What made you start doing comedy?

Rob Delaney  20:33

Okay, so it would have been the end of 2002 beginning of 2003. Okay. So, just apparently, I’m only now realizing a little over 20 years ago, that I started to take classes at the Improv Olympic West in Los Angeles. And that’s because in 1998, I saw us, you know, I saw an ASCAP at the UCB in New York, and was like, oh, what I’ve been looking for. Because I’d gone. I went to NYU for acting. Okay. And yeah, it was my senior year that I saw live in problems like, Yeah, this is this is the stuff.

Samantha Bee  21:19

What did you want to do with it? What did you want to be like a serious were you like, I’m very serious.

Rob Delaney  21:24

Yeah, I was studying musical theater. My first few jobs after graduating the word musical. And I thought, not that I was like, I want to do musicals. But I thought like, Oh, if you’re an actor, you know, might as well train your voice and your body to the best of your ability. And then you can do a funny voice later, or a silly walk. And so that’s why I did that. But yeah, then I found funny stuff. And I found I enjoyed, you know, making an audience have a reaction because of stuff that I thought up, right. And if it could be funny, then forget about it. You know, if they’re laughing involuntarily, as you know, that’s a quite a high.

Samantha Bee  22:08

It’s intoxicating.

Rob Delaney  22:10

Yeah. So that so so I was doing improv for a few years. And but then it got to the point where, you know, it can be hard to keep a group together. Like, when I started, I saw the best of the best, as you know, the, you know, the UCB, like, you know, and Tina Fey was regular doing AF cats with them and stuff. And so amazing, amazing people. I learned after a couple of years, oh, it’s hard to keep a good group together, because people have sort of assorted levels of motivation and stuff. And so I was like, Well, I know, I’m a psycho. You know, I’m like the equivalent of the diver who will like build his own system of tanks to reach the underwater cave that you shouldn’t go to, like, that was my level of motivation. So I was like, I’ll just do it myself. So then I started doing stand up. And then you know, trying to get hired as a writer on shows and stuff. Right. So that so yeah, it was like 2007 that I started doing stand up all the time, instead of improv, right. And then from there, you know, it was miserable for some years, until it slowly started to work out and then it snowballed from there. Right?

Samantha Bee  23:26

Right. Because you’ve been such a comedic fixture. I feel like you’re just comedy presence in my life.

Rob Delaney  23:32

It’s so funny. It’s funny to hear that. Thank you. I mean, God, that’s great to hear. Because I, you know, yeah, once you have kids and stuff, you know, you’re like, Oh, my God, you know, time starts to fly. And then yes, like, I was in a comedy club last night, and I saw these posters and pictures of stand ups who are so much younger than me. I don’t know who any of them are. And, and that’s awesome. Like, I’m thrilled, you know that there’s new blood and stuff coming in. But I’m also like, I’m a somewhat of an elderly man.

Samantha Bee  24:06

I’m so long. I know. It’s so weird. And then you go and I think also, once you have kids in a life outside of, I mean, for me at least, like once, I’m not spending a lot of time navel gazing, and you kind of put all your attention on other people, you can start to feel like perform, you can so start to feel that performing is just your job. And the other part is your life. And then you forget that other people come to see you and think of you as comedy person.

Rob Delaney  24:36

So wild, or like if you’re at your house, and your family is just yelling at you throwing things being like you’re such a moron to things that happened in a family. And then you go out and do something professional and like somebody’s like, like laughs at something you say or like says like, that’s a good idea or doesn’t throw a handful of cream cheese. For the past few days, I thought I was just as the But log, you know, whatever some mollusc that is to be stepped on. But I’m actually my good at something. That’s a quote, I’m not saying I am. But I’m at least asking the question.

Samantha Bee  25:11

Could somebody, somebody mean, somebody appreciates a thing that I like, it is the most disgusting thing for your children. When someone comes up to you in life, like in real life and goes, I really appreciate your work. I don’t know about your children, but mine are like ill. Yeah. Are you sure?

Rob Delaney  25:30

I know. And you just want to be normal in front of them? Because, you know, because you already are like, you know, they’re obviously like, we know people in the entertainment world who prioritize their family and do you know, spend incredible amounts of time with them? You can do that. But there are a lot of people who don’t. And they’re the ones who get the news, though. So I walk around with fear, like, oh, because I do this for a living and my consigning my children to lives of hell, you know, and then I remember, well, no, I do put them to bed every night, I kiss them and smell them. And I stood on top of them. And I, you know, so I, you know, there’s there’s hope pot, there’s the possibility a little workout.

Samantha Bee  26:12

There’s a strong possibility, it’s that it works out as long as you keep the ratio of like, as long as, like, your children are supposed to think that you’re terrible at stuff, and that your sole purpose on life is, is to make their lives a better place. So, okay, you have Okay, so I read your book, I read a heart that works. I thought it was it’s an amazing book. It just is it thank you. So raw, so completely vulnerable. So for people who are listening, who who maybe don’t know, you’ve just been so vulnerable and an open with the experience of losing your young son, Henry to cancer, and you wrote about it in your book, or heard the works? How did you make the decision to grieve so publicly? Did you have to think about that? Or was it something that just just poured out of you, it just flowed?

Rob Delaney  27:11

Ah, so I, I certainly didn’t do it right away. Write the book, I would write stuff. When so moved. You know, like if I was talking about him in the context of like, if all the nurses in the UK were on strike or something which happens sometimes because they are not remunerated in any way that you can call fair. So I’ve been involved in campaigns with the NHS, where I felt it would be useful to the NHS to elucidate how amazing they were for our family. I also think it’s of use for me to speak about my experience, because I’m American. So I had, you know, almost four decades of experience with American healthcare, and then to come here well into adulthood, and then discover the NHS was so amazing. And but you know, people can get used to anything. Right, right. So there are a lot of British people who are like, Yeah, I guess that’s just how it is, you go to the doctor, and you know, you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Six here, they don’t you complain about it, and you whine about it. And I’m like, Well, okay, but imagine a world where you, you know, you have to pick which finger they’re gonna operate on, and which one they’re going to amputate because you can’t afford to fix both that type of thing, you know. And so there’s been times where I thought his story could help other people. So that came up. But in terms of the book, it was not my idea. I’m very happy to say that, because I got a letter from an editor here named Harriet Poland, at Hodder books, and she wrote me this letter saying that when she was a teenager, her dad got a brain tumor, and it killed him. And she nursed him through that process. And heard things I’d said on the radio or in interviews about Henry and she thought that a book would be a good idea. And so I, what I did before I even answered her letter is I just started writing. So you know, wrote the equivalent of a couple chapters that were very angry, very graphic. And then I wrote her and I said, I got your letter. Is this what you’re thinking of? Is this what you’d like for a little book? And just sent her this breed? And she read it and was like, yeah, yeah, I think that would be great. And I was like.

Samantha Bee  29:57

I should be doing

Rob Delaney  29:58

I have to write a book. And so, though she was so wonderful that she wrote me that letter, because I was thinking, you know, this story will certainly inform other things that I write, and produce, but will be willing to tell the tale sort of, from A to Z. I don’t know, you know, and I’m glad I waited some years, you know. Because you don’t want to, you don’t want to dash, that type of story off, it’s good for your own protection to wait a while. So yeah, writing something like that, during a period of acute grief would be, I think, a really, really terrible idea. But my book, I started, you know, four years after he died, and yeah, maybe that is a good time, because it did, because there is a lot of raw anger in the book, which I think is was a good idea, you know, now that the book has been out, and I’ve seen how it’s affected people. Yeah, I think it was a good idea that haven’t be so angry. Because that has been a big part of the ceiling. And you don’t want to give unfortunately, there are people who’ve read that book, who will have their own children die, you know, statistically. And I think it’ll be good that they’ve seen just sort of a unvarnished version of what can happen. When that happens, you know, what the fallout looks like? Rather than I mean, how awful would it be for some me to write a book where I was like, but you know, it all worked out. And one day I saw a butterfly, and I realized, you know, life goes on, and because then they would have been ripping their eyes out in agony and been like, why did you lie to me?

Samantha Bee  32:06

Do I feel this way? Why am I so angry? What?

Rob Delaney  32:08

Yeah. And then for, you know, a lot of American people and a lot of British people to cultures who aren’t always the best with their emotions, and dealing with them in real time, I figured it would be a good idea for people who who haven’t had a child die or haven’t had a gigantic tragedy like that, I thought it would be good for them to see what it’s like, because then they can be more helpful, when that definitely does happen to somebody that they do know, you know, if it’s not them.

Samantha Bee  32:39

We really are so bad at talking about, we just most people just do a very bad job talking about grief, and talking about death. And I think that, you know, we generally practice like avoidance. Like, let me know if I can help you at all, and then everybody just disappears, not everybody.

Rob Delaney  33:01

Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, I think removing, like, my book didn’t break any ground. I think it’s, but I think it’s as good as any other book. It’s in the tradition of getting people to talk about their feelings, you know, something I certainly didn’t invent. Even as a man, I didn’t even invent it. For men, there’s been men who’ve done it before me. But if we’re getting to where more people are more and more comfortable doing that, then you’re gonna be healthier. Because for me, like right now. You know, it’s five and a half years after Henry died. And I am, you know, employable. I can write a book, as evidenced by the book that you just read, I, I have three additional children that I’m crazy about and very involved in their lives. You know, my wife and I just had an anniversary that we had a great time on. We just went through the process of almost moving to California, but not and in that brought up a lot of Henry feelings that we had to deal with. And so if you can talk about how you’re feeling you’re going to be able to endure it better. So, yeah. Are we sad, you know, frequently, and mourning still the loss of our beautiful Henry? Yes, absolutely. Do we also experience happiness and wonder and mystery and excitement and all the other emotions? Yeah, because we still have those.

Samantha Bee  34:36

Yeah. All of that as part of it. Yeah. I feel like it’s a love letter to Henry and it’s a love letter to your family. And it’s a historical record of what happened to Henry and your family. And that probably is good to have, like, just good to have. And I don’t and I do feel like for me and I have read lots of lots of books about grief. But it was groundbreaking in a way because I feel like you really go there. I feel like you go there, and really explore the contours of your grief in a way that felt it felt new to me it felt because it’s angry and loving, and all of everything, which is really what grief feels like you can be you can be laughing with someone and crying at the same time. And it’s everything everywhere all at once.

Rob Delaney  35:34

Yeah, well, I mean, I don’t know, I read a lot of Alice Monroe, during the pandemic. And what I love about her is she is the ultimate Show, don’t tell. And I’m really into writers who love and trust their audience enough to give them sort of the pieces of the puzzle, rely on them to help you with some of the construction. And then there’s also like a selfishness to that. Like, if I write something, I want people to still like it and love it. And if you make them do some of the work, you know, if I don’t tell you at the end of my book where my son died, that but everything worked out, then you have to answer that question. Did I show you enough other stuff for you to feel that it did? Well, that’s you get to answer that question. And I think that’s a nicer thing to do to a reader than spell it out for them. Take them there and let them form their own conclusions. I I prefer that when a writer does that for me. So I tried to do that with this.

Samantha Bee  36:47

There’s more with Rob Delaney in just a moment. Do you I feel like your fans, I mean, fans of your comedy? Were really with you. I mean, you’ve were so open about it. I did you did you care how people reacted to you? Or are you just like, I’m just honestly, this is this is who I am. This is what I’m doing. This is what’s going on? Did you did you care about people’s reactions? Or did you just push through?

Rob Delaney  39:33

I suppose I didn’t care sort of what flavor their reaction was, as long as it was pure, which is to say if they want to laugh at great if they throw it down, go really honestly wish I hadn’t read that. Also great, you know, but as long as it was something something In pure, you know, something that made it clear to both them and me that I had told the story as honestly as possible and had taken the reader as close to the events as I, as my skills allowed, you know? Right, right. So how they reacted doesn’t matter, like intensity of how they reacted matters? Like more than anything, right?

Samantha Bee  40:25

Yeah, right. Cuz you did you chose to you continued with the final season of catastrophe which I think I’m not allowed, maybe we have to redact the name of the show during Double Strike, I don’t really know. But can I Is it okay for me to say that I love it, and it’s incredible. Probably not. But it is incredible. I’m sure it wasn’t a simple decision to be working on that.

Rob Delaney  40:52

Well, so I agreed to do a fourth season of the show. My wife and I made that decision together when we learned that Henry’s tumor had returned and he was gonna die. And the reason being is because just practically, we have three children, you know, one was going to die. We live in central London, we needed to earn money to pay rent. And we also wanted our kids to see me going to work and like modeling the, you know, the behavior of a parent, and the activities of a parent. And we thought that might give us a little momentum. Like, if I had the option to lie face down on the floor, then that’s what I would do. I still did do that. But we thought it would be good. And you know, bird in the hand, as you know, it’s very difficult to get television made. So if I’ve got a one that’s already rolling, then stick with it, right? Because there’s no guarantee that anybody will ever want to hear from me again, even with the show being a success. Right. So. So that was the reason it was strictly practical. And then, after he died, I, you know, a month later began to write the show with Sharon, Oregon, and the fourth season, and I didn’t care at all if it was any good. I just wanted money. And, and, but what was funny is that fairly quickly, I began to discover that grief and work can be compatible. And creative work. Even funny, creative work, can is, is a good place to work through feelings and stuff, right. So that fourth season of catastrophe has a lot of darkness and pain in it. And in addition to laugh, and so that helped me having that it helped me a lot. And I wound up being quite happy with that final season of the show.

Samantha Bee  43:32

How do you make career decisions? Now? What criteria do you use now? Has that changed?

Rob Delaney  43:39

It’s definitely changed. So I’m 46. Right? Which is like, I think by any definition, just the prime ones life professionally, right? Like that’s like, where he you know, you’re just all cylinders firing and all that. And I work way less than I would have had Henry not come sick man died. I say no. All the time. And it feels weird. I’ve gotten better at it. But it didn’t come just with his death it came with his illness. Because I now know the value of time better than a your average Joe right. So I know one of my children died. So I know that children can die, even mine and not just on paper, like somebody might be willing to entertain like, you know that the Yes, My child has a body bodies can fail. Accidents can happen like it to me it’s not just an intellectual exercise. My child died though and had Henry loved his brothers so much, and he loved his mother so much. So, so do I. But even in tribute to him, I want to be taken care of the people that he loved. And that just needs being here, you know, so. So other might my other my peers, you know, who are near my age, or near my level of career, I see doing way, way more stuff. Not necessarily better, sometimes better, sometimes worse. But I definitely see them doing more. And I’m cognizant of that. But then I go, and I, like, read our four year old to sleep, and then go up and cuddle between the 10 and the 12 year old, who might fight all day, but right before bedtime, they will allow me to cuddle between them. And, and then go and get in bed with my wife and like, read her to sleep. Like there’s nights that are it’s not rare for me to read, for people to sleep. Like that is my wife reads to me too. And sometimes, of course, sometimes I’m out. And she does that, too. So I’m not some magical, you know, I’m merely, you know, vice president of our family. But, uh, but I am with them all the time. You know, I mean, I’m in one of my son’s beds now. So I don’t negotiate for jobs now based on money, or is it? You know, a prestige project or whatever. I include those things. I’m not, you know, insane. But the first thing is time, right? And because I know that there’s a finite amount, I know it way too well. I do imagine like getting the last one out of the house, and 15 years or whatever. And then working like crazy, like being one of those people who you’re like, again, he didn’t? Why did he do that? And, you know, just absolutely running the gamut of garbage to quality to whatever, because I do love to work. Yeah, but not as much as I love to snuggle with.

Samantha Bee  47:35

I love what you and your wife read to each other.

Rob Delaney  47:38

I mean, we do a lot of stupid stuff, too. And we fight too. I mean, we’re Thomas anybody, and we do. But like my wife got really angry me today because I bought a comic book graphic novel for our 12 year old that was just unspeakably violent and awful. And why did I buy it? Because I was in the bookstore with two of my kids and my niece. And I really had to go to the bathroom, and three kids of different ages. They’re like, Can we do this? Can I do that? And you know, this, this comic that was just, you know, it like a panic. Like, of course you can have that. And I came home with that. And my wife was like, did you look at it? And I was like, No, but it’s on paper in the year 2023 Isn’t that better than him playing a video game? And she’s like, well take a look at it. And I was like, Oh, God, you know her to not intervene. He would now be God knows what doing some sort of sacrifice in the, you know, behind the garage.

Samantha Bee  48:33

I’ve done that, too. I want spawned a bunch of graphic novels. Like I just bought it based on the cover. I was like, This is so fun. Look at this. Yeah, this one. It’s about a witch and she seems so sassy. And then my daughter started reading it. And she was like, Are you aware of what you bought for me, like, really, based on the cover, and it was just like a witch that gets high every moment of the day. And so like from page two, it’s just just a weed smoking witch that does like deaths, but it’s like, she was like, I don’t think you meant to buy this for me. I’m reading it. She was like, I’m still reading it. But she’s like, you’re not very good at this.

Rob Delaney  49:16

That’s so funny. And it sounds like that sounds like most of the music that I listened to. Because I have the taste of you know, like a teenage boy and I listen to like, all the bands that I listen to like their favorite band is Black Sabbath. So I listen to like second generation, Stoner Doom rock like absolutely, absolutely have songs about witches who get high and listen to them and have a great time doing it.

Samantha Bee  49:43

Totally. I forced my children to listen to all this music that was so clearly made under the influence of like heroin, and all kinds of just terrible. They’ve, like all the people who made the music that I love the most had are in the throes of something such a terrible addiction and such a terrible time in their life. And so I try to, it’s very obvious to my kids, they’re like, they’re like, you’re very emo. I think you’re right. I just want to go back a bit to talking about the NHS and healthcare because I have this healthcare conversation with people all the time, because I grew up in Canada, where we also have health care, proper, proper health care, and it’s kind of an imperfect system. But when you’ve lived in both places, and experienced what an actual healthcare system can offer, versus what we have here, you really feel that you really feel you really feel the difference. And, and it’s, it feels to me like and I don’t know if you’ll agree with this, but I feel like the healthcare system here is like an invisible backpack that everyone carries that I think it is just so psychically heavy here, to have the burden of not being cared for, on a very basic level, by your government.

Rob Delaney  51:10

Yeah, it’s, it’s so it’s such a weird refusal to acknowledge that these bodies that we have are just falling apart. Yeah. And, you know, we all I don’t know, signed on to having one of these bodies, every single one of us be a Republican senator, or, you know, a lesbian sculptor, in a small town in Vermont, like, when we agreed to be born together, we wound up in these failing bodies, and they just need some maintenance. And there’s no getting around that it doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire, it doesn’t matter if you Have you no sense of 1000s of dollars of student debt, another wonderful American thing, but your body is going to need care. And that’s okay. And if we just acknowledge that it would just be so much easier for everybody. But these disgusting, parasitic, private health insurance companies that just exist as a barrier to enrich boards of psychopath, and that have nothing to do with medical care. It’s just such a collective, then it’s so awful.

Samantha Bee  52:23

It’s so heavy, it’s so heavy, because you’re so right. And I really think that you, you hit it exactly like nobody’s getting through this life without needing medical attention. Because that’s how we’re built.

Rob Delaney  52:37

Yeah. And it’s not about like, you know, how you live your and you know, we all know the healthy person who didn’t smoke about lung cancer, or the person who just eats pork rinds and is somehow doing fine at age 78. You know, like, it’s, it’s just a crapshoot, and we have to take care of each other.

Samantha Bee  52:59

Have you always been a political person?

Rob Delaney  53:01

What politicized me was, first my own experience with American private health insurance. And pre Obamacare? When you know, it’s so crazy when you think of like what Obamacare was, it was like the right to pay you serious amounts of money for private health insurance, I mean, that Jesus, and but before that you couldn’t even pay like, you could be like, please let me give you quite a bit of money each month, and a private health insurance company could be like, nope. And so before that happened, you know, I got cut off by a private health insurance company and was left with, you know, that I was paying monthly premiums to and was left with 10s of 1000s of dollars of medical debt. And so that was, of course, awful. And then coming here and experiencing the NHS, and with us, a child who got a disease that would have killed him, where no matter what country he was in, but the care that he was given, you know, state of the art, and that we never had to worry about how we were going to pay for it. Yeah, there was no we didn’t spend any time on the phone with insurance functionaries, or any of that crap.

Samantha Bee  54:24

declining your every claim. Like what? What uh, what is That’s how much that’s a that’s a kindness like, that’s Oh, too, so that you didn’t have to also in the worst time of your life. You didn’t have to also think are we going to be bankrupt? After this? Will we lose our will we lose everything? Yeah, the very basic This is very basic. I don’t know how we I don’t know how or why we fucking except the way that the system is I In the United States, I don’t understand. It’s awful. Okay, so let me talk to you. And let me just change the topic. We have to talk about x Twitter x. Because you are over one of the first very Twitter very famous people. I think you were like, early adopter, your voice. strong, clear and pure. Are you still on? I don’t even know what to always call it Twitter. He’s never gonna help. But he won’t change me. I won’t. I won’t give him on there.

Rob Delaney  55:36

Yeah. And I’ll post stuff, but not I now know, it’s just for my own amusement. It’s not going to a change anything in the world or be give me any career benefits or anything. But yeah, back in, you know, 2010 when nobody would hire me to write on a late night show, and I had like stacks of jokes. I was like, you know, what, if I put them on here, you know, if I can get them in front of people. And so that had a yeah, they materially positive effect on my career, because, you know, you build up the following, posting silly jokes. And then you go do a Stand Up Show in Cincinnati, and you can sell tickets going on crazy morning radio show, right? And so massively helpful. And yeah, that would be the biggest. That would be the adjective I would apply helpful. how beneficial Yeah, did it was it really benefited tremendously.

Samantha Bee  56:44

No longer so beneficial, really, to anyone?

Rob Delaney  56:47

I know. Now, it’s just go get in a bad mood while somebody yells at you. Have you had the audacity to post a recipe that your grandmother gave you? You want people to know about her BlackBerry crumble, and now you know that you’re so fat, you should kill yourself twice, or whatever.

Samantha Bee  57:10

It’s truly a cesspool now. And that’s unfortunate. I used to just get so much news from it. I just was a source of news and like, laughs easy. Effortless. Yeah. What a shame. Oh, well.

Rob Delaney  57:26

I mean, I don’t know. Because, you know, a lot of stuff like, so used to think like, well, if I get enough people to register to vote with this link, then we really might affect some change. And I suppose what’s good is that we now know that the internet is, you know, can is merely one arrow in the quiver. And the fact is, it’s it’s things on the ground, you know, there’s absolutely wonderful and effective activism to be done. You know, in our industry, you know, the wonderful striking going on in Sag after in WGA. Yeah, is incredibly powerful. And, yeah, online is a little part of that. But that’s not where the magic is happening.

Samantha Bee  58:09

Just really a very hopeful for a resolution so that people don’t lose their health care. Oh, boy, oh, boy. A resolution is needed. And it’s a big one. Yep. Big time, big time. Listen, I have enjoyed talking to you so much. I truly appreciate that you are that you said yes. To me that you’ve carved out a little space in your life. My God. I mean, to say yes to this little podcast.

Rob Delaney  58:43

Oh, you’re the best. I’ve loved you for years. My wife and I have many favorite Sam Bee clips that we hear. Print out full frontal transcripts. I laminated some of my favorites and made into a sort of dress for my wife and thank you. Alright, take care. Thanks. Bye bye, bye.

Samantha Bee  59:15

That was Rob Delaney. And I had no choice but to Google one thing. He said it gets dark in London at 3:30pm for 5 months out of the year. Really? Okay. Sounds quite so dire, but it definitely gets dark before 4pm for way too many days. That is not good. Cheerio. Pip pip. Okay. I’ve just defended literally, everyone in the UK. Thank you, Rob, for joining me and good news. There’s more choice words with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like a rapid fire round of trivia questions based off my recent interview with Judy Blume. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

CREDITS 1:00:13

Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.


Spoil Your Inbox

Pods, news, special deals… oh my.