Canadian Podcast Laughs at Death, Tops iTunes’ New and Noteworthy Chart

“Hi, I’m Jeremie. And I’m dying.”

Laughter follows.

That’s not usually the reaction you’d expect from an announcement of that magnitude, but it’s exactly what 27-year-old Jeremie Saunders believes to be the best medicine for living with chronic or terminal illness.

Saunders has been living with Cystic Fibrosis his entire life – a genetic condition with consistent complications and a median survival age of just over 50 years old that’s not at all funny in itself – and takes around 40 pills a day to manage the illness. Again, not a joy by any means.

The pills, however, are only a marginal part of his medicine. A comedian by nature, Saunders find laughter to be the best therapy. So, together with his two best friends, he launched the ‘Sickboy‘ podcast, in which the trio sit down to talk about what it’s like to live with disease and what their guests’ experiences are like with the diseases that they live with, including one who’s living with brain cancer.

What makes the show so endearing is its light-hearted approach in the face of illness and death, which Saunders says has been overwhelmingly well-received. “Laughter or joy is way more beneficial than sadness and tears and gloom. It’s OK to feel sad, it’s OK to cry. But wouldn’t you rather find joy in your situation? Search out those moments of joy?” he says.

That said, there are certainly elements of gloom as well. “When it’s heavy, it’s heavy, and we want to get the details out that are going to be helpful to people who are listening but also the therapy of laughter when it’s appropriate,” says Taylor MacGillivary, 24, one of the podcasts co-founders. (The other is Brian Stever, 26).

‘Sickboy’ shot to the top on iTunes’ New and Noteworthy chart almost immediately after launching, backed by unanimous five-star ratings. It currently features 10 episodes, each one exploring a different illness – from PTSD to diabetes, terminal cancer to exploding eye syndrome.

The trio recently sat down with the CBC to talk about their project and their unique spin on navigating life with a pre-determined expiration date.