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Hogtown Stories is a series of portraits and short stories about Torontonians by Jeremy Korn, a photographer and urban planner. Find more photos of Frankie and past stories at hogtownstories.com.

Eddie Reid

My mom received some money from an esteemed relative in 1995. Our quality of life improved immediately and she sent me to private school right away. From the age of 10 until I finished high school, I was the only black person in my class.

Years later, I was lucky enough to be offered a job right out of university. On paper, you would think I was happy. I had an office and a new car. But you can only lie to yourself for so long.

In 2008, I slipped into a depression. I knew I couldn’t do three more years of this, let alone 30. Then I went through a breakup and survived two suicide attempts.

Despite getting a job right after university, Eddie Reid wasn’t happy and knew he couldn’t work an office job for very long.

One night, I did an open mic at a comedy club. A comedian I admire liked my set. There was something about comedy that allowed me to harness my dreams and I felt comfortable making people laugh. For me, there’s a therapy in that. It makes me happy to help others get rid of their pain, and it helps me get rid of my own.

My mom was returning from Cambridge and she told me to meet her at Union Station. She knew that something was pressing on me and she always wanted me to talk to her about it. I had just quit my stable job to be a comedian. How could I tell her that her investment in me was a waste? But I told her, with tears in my eyes. She laughed.

That day, I didn’t know where I was going. But I knew I was going the right way.

Eddie Reid, better known as Eddie Starship Pain, is the creator of In My Humble Opinion on funnyordie.com.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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