Hyperbole and a Half

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Hyperbole and a Half
Hyperbole and a Half.png
Type of site
Comic and personal blog
OwnerAllie Brosh
Created byAllie Brosh
Current statusinactive

Hyperbole and a Half is a combination of webcomic and blog written by Allie Brosh. Published in 2009, the comic is drawn in Paintbrush and uses an exaggeratedly simple drawing style as an artistic device. It is a retelling of the author's life and includes stories from her childhood as well as the challenges she faces as an adult. Brosh has also expanded the comic into a series of web videos in a similar style, which have been popular.

Hyperbole and a Half draws inspiration from "rage comics," promoting a certain similarity in their shared diction and simple, almost rudimentary art. A number of Brosh's images have, in turn, been repurposed into various memes and rage comic panels.


Allie Brosh started her blog "Hyperbole and a Half" in 2009.[1] Brosh combines observational and absurdist humor to relate events from her life in rural Idaho. She realised her work was getting popular when someone posted it on Reddit and found her blog getting the most visits she had ever had. Her blog, meant to be humorous, dealt with various aspects of her personal life, for instance: her antics as a child, speculating about her character flaws, her grammatical pet peeve — "a lot" written as "alot" and her life with her two pet dogs. Popular posts include one childhood memory where she attended a friend's birthday party heavily sedated. Brosh said she started her blog to avoid studying for a college physics final, and she wondered if she could write something that people would like.[2] In May 2011, she posted that she had signed a book deal.[1] Some parts of her posts became Internet memes.[3] Brosh has no ads on her website but did put a donate button and an online store.[4] Brosh also posted several Youtube videos, some of them being animated versions of her typical art style while the others are recordings of herself.[5][6][7][8]

Brosh in October 2011 revealed she had depression to her readers on Reddit and kept her online presence inactive for more than a year. In May 2013, she made a long post chronicling her struggle and thoughts of suicide. In this second post, she describes the moment she realized nothing loved her, "so I wouldn't feel obligated to keep existing."[9] In the same year, she had over 380,000 Facebook likes and around 72 million website views.[2] It got 1.5 million visits in a day while the amount of positive and supportive comments that they were worried about her surprised Brosh. They shared her post and around 5000 comments were left some praising her bravery and her ability to describe the experience of what depression felt like; many felt they could relate to her works.[1] Her two posts about her struggle with depression with its dark humour are her most popular works.[9] Brosh said seeing how people related to her work helped her; according to her, "Depression can be such an isolating experience, and it's deceptive, you know, you think, 'Surely I'm the only one that's ever gone through this, or felt this depth of misery.'"[10][11]


Allie Brosh in 2016

In 2011, her blog was included in a list of the funniest sites by PC World[12] and in 2013, Advertising Age put Brosh in its yearly list of "most influential and creative thinkers and doers".[3] Besides getting popular with people who had depression and could identify with her work, she got praise from critics and psychologists for her depiction of the illness; furthermore, people who never experienced the illness said they understood it better.[13]

Linda Holmes, from NPR, praised her work, saying "Brosh's posts are hugely evocative, gut-bustingly funny, and startlingly inventive in using simple drawings in ways that allow for pauses and comic timing" and compared her method of depicting "giddiness and anger" to Bill Watterson.[9] Holmes further said how Brosh does not narrate her experiences as something that has happened rather, "She's in it, and she lives with it, and sometimes it's better, and sometimes it's worse. It means you don't see her for a while, because she's a real person and it's a real thing. You can wish her well, but she'll tell you she's not sure how it's going."[9] According to Holmes, this is one reason why her fans relate to her work.[9] Jonathan Rottenberg, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida, in Psychology Today, said, "I know of no better depiction of the guts of what it's like to be severely depressed."[14] Ros Johnson, a Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based clinical social worker said Brosh explains aspects which most people who have the illness cannot describe, "What she accesses and presents to other people is so clear and well-articulated, which is why it resonates".[13] Amy Dobek of the University of Missouri–Kansas City Library says that "it's not so much the stories themselves that are side-splittingly funny – it's the combination of her histrionic storytelling style and her primitively mad skills with MSPaint that put her, if I may say, over the top."[15]

Style, influences and later work[edit]

Brosh intentionally makes her comics appear crudely drawn and says she spends time perfecting the figures since her characters are mostly from her imagination. Brosh sometimes spends hours on the character's facial expressions or body positions with multiple drafts.[16] She uses the Paintbrush software for drawing her comic. Her character which is supposed to be herself, loosely resembles a stick-figure with a pink dress sometimes with a grey hoodie, wide-grinning, unfocused eyes and a triangle-shaped ponytail—which she jokingly calls a shark fin.[13] Brosh said, "This character sort of evolved and doesn't look like me, but in a way it's an impression of me. It's this absurd, crude little thing, and that's really what I am inside, and it's a more accurate way to represent myself."[10] Her inspiration is from the internet meme "rage comics" [17] and Nick Gurewitch, author of “The Perry Bible Fellowship”.[6]

Her blog has been inactive since 2013. On October 29, 2013, Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened was released. The book included some material from her website, like "Adventures in Depression," and new content. Brosh comments on her website that she included "ten and a half" new stories.[18]


  1. ^ a b c Gee, Catherine (2013-10-29). "Hyperbole and a Half: how one of the internet's funniest writers finally made it to print". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  2. ^ a b Mohammed, Zaineb (December 2013). "Meet the creator of the cartoon blog (and new book) "Hyperbole and a Half"". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Gross, Terry (November 12, 2013). "Even When It Hurts 'ALOT,' Brosh Faces Life With Plenty Of 'Hyperbole'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  4. ^ Emerald Gilleran (2010-09-08). "UM grad draws dysfunctional doodles". Montana Kaimin. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  5. ^ Liz Shannon Miller (2011-01-19). "Hyperbole and a Half: A Web Comic Gone Wild on YouTube". GigaOM. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  6. ^ a b Emerald Gilleran (2010-09-17). "UM Graduate Blogs into a Career". Her Campus. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31.
  7. ^ Emerald Gilleran (2010-09-08). "UM grad draws dysfunctional doodles". Montana Kaimin.
  8. ^ Liz Shannon Miller (2011-01-19). "Hyperbole and a Half: A Web Comic Gone Wild on YouTube". GigaOM.
  9. ^ a b c d e Holmes, Linda (October 29, 2013). "Present Tense: Allie Brosh, Donald Glover, And Hurting Right Now". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  10. ^ a b "'Hyperbole' Creator Considers All The Things". NPR.org. October 29, 2013. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  11. ^ Michael Humphrey (2010-05-03). "The life and lines of Allie Brosh: Hyperbole and a Half". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Mark (June 5, 2011). "The Funniest Sites on the Web". PCWorld. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  13. ^ a b c Bielskib, Zosia (October 31, 2013). "Meet candid cartoonist Allie Brosh – an unlikely poster girl for depression". The Globe And Mail. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  14. ^ Rottenberg, Jonathan (May 9, 2013). "What Is It Like to Be Severely Depressed?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  15. ^ Amy Dobek (2010). "Web pick - Hyperbole and a Half". University of Missouri–Kansas City Library. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  16. ^ Gee, Catherine (2013-10-29). "Hyperbole and a Half: how one of the internet's funniest writers finally made it to print". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  17. ^ Aldrich, Elizabeth (December 1, 2016). "But Seriously, Where's Allie Brosh? - Rawckus Magazine". www.rawckus.com. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  18. ^ "About the Book". hyperboleandahalfbook.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2016-02-18.

External links[edit]