Comedians Amy Schumer, Abbi Jacobson, and More Rally Around Stand-Up Struck by B Train

by Amy Carlberg

When comedian Liza Dye of NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade was struck by a B train on February 13, the New York Post said she was nothing more than a “straphanger” who didn’t have her wits about her.

In fact, the opposite is true. The very witty Liza Dye was not even looking at her phone that morning. Actually, she’s so witty that she even joked with the passengers whose train she inadvertently delayed: “I’m sorry I made you late for work!” If you were in the New York area you remember the blizzards that ravaged the city, and knocked us all off balance in one way or another. I’ve heard anecdotes of people fainting as a result of moving quickly from extreme weather conditions into the crammed, airless subway: this is precisely what happened to Dye.

She reports one second she felt like she needed to sit down, and then the next thing she saw was her leg wedged between the train’s wheel and the track. Dye has already had over eight excruciating surgeries on her mutilated leg to date, though the alternative was to lose the limb completely: “we were like well, the train stopped in just enough time, and God left it on for a reason, so let’s try to save it. And they did.”

Takeaways from the tragic situation: don’t demonize social media, the healthcare system is not working fast enough to take care of its young people, and laughter really can be the best medicine.

Dye is a “petite woman” “paying more attention to her cellphone than to a slippery subway platform” in the New York Post’s terms. If anything, social media has been a source of strength for Dye during these hard times. She used it to inform her Twitter followers after the incident, for example, “I’m alive.”

But barely–Dye confesses that she’s “always just been this 20-something-year-old without insurance, like millions of other people, like Obama’s constantly preaching about young people are not invincible. I’ve been very aware that I have no insurance.” America has culturally groomed its young people by the time they’re in their 20’s to think of the healthcare system as an available option, but not one which serves them. It’s pivotal to the future of America’s young people that they are taught not to be suspicious of healthcare, but given easy access to affordable options.

The progress bar on Liza Dye’s donation page inches across the screen–like a YouTube video loading, but instead it’s dollars crawling towards an astronomical goal in the tens of thousands. The irony is inescapable. The point of healthcare is that it’s supposed to be like a kind of crowdfunding run by the government, with no humiliating personal pleas and no frightening 28-day limit. Crowdfunding has become America’s Band-Aid solution to its healthcare problem. 

But what do Americans do with a Band-Aid? Put funny cartoon characters on it, of course! The support for Liza Dye is ultimately a reminder that talent, spirit and generosity even the can overcome the most difficult challenges. Zach Braff donated $9,990 to the cause, which Dye quips will help pay for her #hospitaLIZAtion. There’s even a rumor Louis C.K. pledged a similar amount. Amy Schumer, Sasheer Zamata, Abbi Jacobson and many more bombarded the site so heavily, that it had to be temporarily shut down, rerouting its pledges to its email. Numerous comedians, including Janeane Garofalo, Aziz Ansari and Hannibal Buress have performed at multiple fundraisers supporting Dye. So in solidarity for Liza and her cause, we wish her a speedy recovery!

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