All images by Emily Berkey

In February of 2014, Liza Dye left her friend’s apartment in New York City and headed to the subway. As she was waiting for the train, she started to really feel faint and searched for a location to sit, but ended up passing out and falling onto the subway tracks. After she came to, Liza realized she was stuck beneath the subway auto — her leg had been run more than and she was pinned down — and firefighters had to reduce the mental entangling her in order to free of charge her leg. Just after numerous hours in the hospital, comprehensive surgeries, skin grafts, and intense physical therapy to assist her regain her capacity to stroll, Liza is now thriving in her fifth year of recovery. 

Just before Liza’s accident, she was like quite a few other twenty-somethings living in New York City — juggling style market gigs and crashing on friends’ couches, hustling with such vigor that on that fateful day she fainted from exhaustion. Although she as soon as believed a profession in style was her destiny — and getting funny was just a aspect of her character that the web seemed to like — months ahead of her fall Liza found stand-up and started often performing at Upright Citizens Brigade. She even landed a coveted group audition for Saturday Evening Reside. Her deadpan, unbothered, and somewhat apathetic delivery, witty commentary on pop culture, and capacity to impersonate celebrities like Beyoncé led to fans and interest from the commence. 

The truth that she was a stand-up newcomer didn’t matter when it came time for the comedy neighborhood to rally about Liza right after her accident. Noteworthy comedians like Zach Braff and Aziz Ansari donated sizable sums to her recovery fund, and comedy advantage shows have been held in her honor. Phoebe Robinson, of two Dope Queens fame, threw a advantage for Liza in New York that featured Ali Wong, Michelle Wolf, and Aparna Nancherla. Chelsea Peretti and Aziz Ansari also held a advantage show for Liza in Los Angeles weeks right after the incident, and Amanda Seales, Janeane Garofalo, and Hannibal Buress performed at yet another advantage show for Liza at The Stand in New York, also. Other individuals rallied behind Liza and donated additional than $55,000 to assist with her health-related costs. 

Although she employed cannabis recreationally ahead of the accident, Liza has located that it assists to relieve some of her physical discomfort and enables her reside in the moment, quelling anxiousness and other PTSD symptoms. MERRY JANE met with the comedian and her help dogs in LA, exactly where Liza now lives, to speak about her recovery journey, how cannabis interacts with her comedy profession, and the complications of applying opioids to treat chronic discomfort. 

MERRY JANE: What part has cannabis played in your life as a person who is in recovery each mentally and physically from a traumatic occasion?

Liza Dye: Oh wow, the part that it is played is almost certainly like 75 % for the reason that I imply, there’s just so substantially to speak about. There’s so quite a few methods that cannabis assists me. From obtaining post-traumatic pressure disorder, to nightmares about the accident, to just memories from getting in the hospital. There’s so quite a few points that you do not feel about till anything takes place to you like getting in a trauma unit, hearing other men and women scream. There was a girl across the hall from me who attempted to commit suicide. She jumped seven stories from a constructing, and she survived but she apparently crushed just about every bone in her body… I nevertheless hear her screams all day.

Cannabis assists so quite a few distinctive elements of post-traumatic pressure disorder. There was a point throughout my recovery exactly where I had to understand to take all the things day by day. You just have to take it as it comes, and cannabis assists in the way that it sort of slows points down and it type of keeps you in the moment, which I feel is crucial. I began to get into Buddhism and transcendental meditation and all these points to assist, also. So cannabis was a definitely foundational element of all of these points that definitely helped me to mentally recover and definitely physically, as nicely.

What part does cannabis play in your comedy?

You know, I’ve by no means been a comedian that likes to get higher ahead of a show. A lot of comedians drink and a lot of comedians like to smoke. I feel Pete Davidson employed to speak out ahead of he was super popular about smoking ahead of shows and stuff. We had performed a handful of shows at UCB Chelsea with each other. I don’t forget him openly speaking about how marijuana assists him for the reason that his dad died on September 11th, and he’s got PTSD from that. But I by no means was a comedian who would use cannabis for shows bring about I was just type of scared that it would make me overlook my material. Lead to as soon as once more, I hadn’t been carrying out standup extended [when I had my accident]. I’m not a Sasheer Zamata out right here. I haven’t been out right here for like ten years in the game. I definitely was just receiving began in New York. 

Now for writing, positive. Cannabis enables your brain to tap into that inventive side exactly where you can just be silly and definitely come up with excellent bits and just feel about observational points that’ll make men and women laugh. So it does assist in the production aspect and the writing aspect and the preparation. But a lot of comedians do say that it assists them loosen up on stage and stuff. 

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You have emotional help dogs that type of want emotional help, as nicely. You give them CBD. In what methods have you observed that assist them?

The chihuahua, he’s the emotional help. And then Noah, the poodle, he’s type of like a service animal. He’s getting educated now to assist. I have a lot of nerve harm in my leg, so he walks in front of me and assists to clear a path for me to make positive I do not trip up more than something or knock my leg on something. He’s definitely excellent for that, but he came from sort of an abusive atmosphere, so he has definitely negative anxiousness, definitely definitely negative.

So apparently when my accident occurred, these two dogs practically died. They just sensed anything terrible was incorrect. My good friends who have been taking care of them have been like, “We do not know what’s incorrect with them, they’re vomiting, they’re shaking, we’re freaked out.” They took them to the vet. To this day, we do not know what occurred to them, but they somehow knew anything had occurred to me and they just entirely broke down and got definitely definitely sick. We’re pretty synced. We’re pretty spiritually connected. They have helped me so substantially. 

The chihuahua’s a senior dog so he has definitely negative arthritis. He employed to be in a lot of discomfort ahead of I brought him to LA. I gave him CBD when we got out right here and it wasn’t even a month ahead of he was skipping, and one particular evening he shot up the stairs at my apartment. A thing he couldn’t do ahead of. I was shook. I was shook, Emily. It freaked me out. I give them CBD if I really feel like they’re in discomfort. But now I’ve began to give them hemp oil day-to-day.

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When your accident occurred, have been you provided prescription discomfort tablets?

Yeah, I’m prescribed super sturdy opioids. I’m supposed to take it 3 instances a day and it is quite scary. 

Do you ever use THC or CBD alternatively of the opioids? 

Yes. At the finish of final year, I began the search for the strongest CBD solution that I could come across so I could do away with opioids. Lead to the point is, you know, we are actually in the midst of this opioid epidemic, correct? I do not wanna have to take these for the rest of my life for the reason that I’m gonna be in discomfort for the rest of my life. That is one particular of the motives I wanted to move to California and not remain in New York. I knew that there have been additional holistic organic alternatives in California for men and women who have chronic extended-term discomfort. 

So the point is that opioids do assist me. I really feel like I’m in in between a rock and a difficult location for the reason that you know, they’re abused by so quite a few men and women but then there are men and women like me who do advantage from them. They assist my mood. When I’m in discomfort, I’m just in a negative mood and I do not wanna get out of bed. I do not wanna do something. [The prescription pills] modify my mood. I can get points performed. I can clean. I can go grocery buying. I can do my laundry. It is incredible. But I do recognize the dangers of [opioids].

Like I stated, I’m supposed to take [the prescription pills] 3 instances a day. If I do not take it, I get a terrible migraine. I Googled it that is a sign of withdrawal. You know what I imply? I’ve been on this [medication] significantly less than a year. So I currently see the indicators of the points that I do not want to take place. So I’m browsing for the strongest CBD. What I did not know was that sadly the cost points have been so higher for excellent CBD items — like $160 and up!

It is fascinating that you are attempting to go the organic route, but it is so high-priced. Appears like it is practically forcing you to remain on the opiods.

Yeah, I’m on disability. That is how I spend my rent. It is not a lot. They give you just sufficient to survive. So I surely couldn’t afford these items. Now my program is to just do some study and see if there’s any applications that assist disabled men and women get organic discomfort medicines. That is type of what I’m attempting to do now. 

Let’s speak about you moving forward. Is comedy nevertheless the key point that you are carrying out? How is recovery going for you?

Recovery’s hell.

This month is the 5-year anniversary of the incident.

It is. The accident occurred February 13th, 2014. So on the 14th it is gonna be 5 years which is crazy. I moved to LA 3 years ago.

Have you been in a position to concentrate on comedy at all? Or are you mostly focused on recovering?

It is pretty difficult to figure out. As cheesy as it sounds, surviving a close to-death expertise modifications all the things. You are not the very same individual. I’m not living in the very same city. I’m not in my 20s. I just turned 30. This occurred when I had just turned 25. Anything is entirely distinctive now. So comedy — I’m attempting to type of continue on the path that I was on, but I’ve definitely located music to be therapeutic these final 5 years of just dealing with this new life and understanding how to navigate this disability….lately I come across myself carrying out music additional than comedy. [Liza also often DJs comedy shows when she’s not performing]. It is the 1st point I do when I wake up in the morning I place some music on. I’m just attempting to figure it all out. Honestly, I feel I’m gonna finish up in a tipi someplace in Eagle Rock providing spiritual readings. I feel the subway accident gave me superpowers, like psychic powers. I do not know how it is gonna finish up, but it is gonna finish up with me in some variety of shaman-like position.

Do you really feel like you have walked into your personal energy? 

I just really feel pretty spiritual now. I really feel like… not an X-Males but a shop-brand X-Males. I study that occasionally men and women have points that are dormant inside themselves, and when you go via a close to-death expertise it can activate them. I also had this steak of gray hair that just appeared overnight when I was in the hospital. It just came out of nowhere.

Wisdom came to you overnight. 

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Comply with Liza Dye’s hilarity in actual-time on her Instagram or Twitter feeds, and catch her subsequent efficiency at The Virgil in Los Angeles on April 5th

Comply with Emily Berkey on Instagram