For Kurtis Matthews, the devil was in the alcohol.
For Andy Gold, heroin.
After a car accident almost killed him and resulted in a second DUI at age 22, Matthews ditched the liquid poison and never looked back. He's been sober for more than three decades.
For Gold, a Salt Lake City guy whose Mormonism forbade even the use of caffeine, the siren song of IV drug use was irresistible. It almost claimed his life. He's been sober for more than five years.
The duo will bring their Addicts Comedy Tour to Stargazers Theatre and Event Center on Saturday.
"We're two guys doing comedy but going deeper than you might expect," said Matthews, who lives in San Francisco.
Matthews started the tour in 2015 with Mark Lundholm, another comedian who conquered substance abuse and got sober. Both use humor to cope and let their audiences, mostly folks in recovery, know they're not alone. Lest people think they're heading to a lecture disguised as a comedy show, Matthews wants to reassure them.
"The problem isn't drugs and alcohol," said Matthews. "The problem is Andy and I and guys like us on drugs and alcohol. There's no lecture coming, no big message, just truth for people like us."
Matthews and Gold will cover heavy topics but not in a heavy-handed way. Matthews likes to joke about cross-addiction and what happens when the main vice is gone.
"There's all sorts of cross-addiction," he said. "Love, being in a relationship, not being able to not be in a relationship, workaholism, overeating, sex. Every person is cross-addicted - that's addicts. Drugs and alcohol are just the entrées."
Matthews calls himself a typical Episcopalian alcoholic who started drinking at 16 and drank his way through Christian school and high school.
"There's a lot of shame in that," he said.
After getting sober, he began to make a name for himself in comedy, a landscape not known for its teetotalers.
"Alcoholics are all narcissists, but not all narcissists are alcoholics," Matthews said. "You've got to be some level of narcissist to get on stage and say my opinions are important. I ran into drug and alcohol addicts, sure, but I was responsible for my own recovery. What people did around me didn't affect me."