First Day Back

First Day Back
First Day Back is a documentary podcast series about people facing and trying to overcome life’s most challenging moments. Each season, host and creator Tally Abecassis tells the story of someone attempting their own personal comeback.In 2019, First Day Back is back. On May 3rd 2017, comedian Jason Weems collapsed on stage from an asthma attack. His heart stopped beating for a full 5 minutes. Jason was lucky enough to be revived by a member of the audience. Now the Baltimore comedian is dealing with his death the only way he knows how: by making jokes about it. Jason wants to turn these jokes into a 1 hour special that he hopes will make him a household name. For the past year, Tally Abecassis and the First Day back team have been following the life and career of Jason Weems, a man who lives and died for comedy.

S3E6: Unknown
Feb 27, 2019 • 29 min
We follow Jason in the hours leading up to the taping of his much-anticipated special. The excitement builds as his friends and family all gather at the theater. When Jason steps onto that stage, will he have transformed his near death experience into…
S3E5: The Countdown
Feb 20, 2019 • 25 min
There’s one month to go before Jason is set to perform his new special and the pressure is on. It’s a mad dash to sell tickets, finalize his set, and get everything in order to film and shoot the special. Will Jason make it to the special or will the…
S3E4: Pulling for Every Breath
Feb 13, 2019 • 26 min
It seems like asthma is always with Jason Weems. In this episode, Jason’s constantly being confronted by health scares - on stage, at home, even with his family. But at every turn, he surprises Tally with his resiliency. See for…
S3E3: Absolute Certainty
Feb 6, 2019 • 29 min
Twelve years into his comedy career, what keeps Jason hopeful that his big break will still happen? We get a peek inside his creative process and find out what family drama pushed him to stay in a city that isn’t great for his national career ambitions…
S3E2: Almost Famous
Jan 30, 2019 • 21 min
How do you build a career in comedy? Jason takes us through his journey and how a childhood filled with health issues drove his desire to be the funniest man in the room. See for privacy information.
S3E1: The Attack
Jan 23, 2019 • 19 min
What happens on stage to set in motion comedian Jason’s Weem’s first day back story? On May 3, 2017, Jason collapsed at a Philadelphia comedy club after suffering a near fatal asthma attack. We hear a blow-by-blow account of Jason’s night as it shifts…
Introducing First Day Back Season 3
Jan 9, 2019 • 2 min
First Day Back returns this season with the story of Jason Weems, one of Baltimore’s biggest comedians. Jason’s life changed on May 3, 2017 when just minutes into a set, he had a severe asthma attack. It was so bad, his heart stopped. Sixteen hours later,…
Season 3 Update, and Introducing Dear Franklin Jones
Feb 28, 2018 • 3 min
We are hard at work on season 3 and are following another story that is unfolding as we speak. In the meantime, if you like First Day Back, check out Dear Franklin Jones by my friend Jonathan Hirsch. Growing up, Jonathan’s family was a little different.…
S2E6: The Refuge
May 16, 2017 • 22 min
Lucie obsesses over Gerry’s death, her regret about what she did and her inability to remember what happened the night she killed him. How will she find some sliver of peace? Her search for forgiveness leads her to an unlikely source. See…
S2E5: The Doubters
May 9, 2017 • 20 min
Six years after Gerry’s death, close friends from Lucie’s past make a startling accusation. How will Lucie cope? See for privacy information.
S2E4: Lucie Island
May 2, 2017 • 25 min
Even as Lucie reconnects with family and spends more time outside the transition house, she finds herself increasingly isolated. See for privacy information.
S2E3: The Transition House
Apr 25, 2017 • 27 min
Once Lucie gets her day parole from prison, she has one foot in the correctional system and the other in the regular world. She gets tiny rations of freedom in the transition house where she lives, but she soon realizes her crime is going to follow her…
S2E2: The Prelim
Apr 18, 2017 • 28 min
Lucie is charged with first-degree murder after police arrive at her home and find her husband shot dead. She hires a top lawyer, but there’s one huge problem: How do you defend yourself when you have no memory of what happened? See…
S2E1: Lovebirds
Apr 11, 2017 • 27 min
Lucie and her husband Gerry were together for 13 years. People called them lovebirds. Until the fall of 2010, when she shot and killed him. And here’s the thing: Lucie has no memory of killing him. This season on First Day Back, how do you come back from…
Coming Soon: First Day Back Season 2
Apr 4, 2017 • 2 min
First Day Back returns this season with the story of Lucie and Gerry, lovebirds who were together for 13 years. Until the fall of 2010, when Lucie accidentally shot and killed him. And here’s the thing. She has no memory of killing him. Lucie’s story…
S1E10: On Death and Space Clouds
May 7, 2016 • 8 min
A short piece for Mother’s Day. Something different that is not part of the First Day Back storyline. Stay tuned for details on Season 2! See for privacy information.
S1E9: Generations
Aug 27, 2015 • 19 min
What happens when Tally’s life starts mirroring the subject of her film? Also she talks to a 97 year-old woman and a Millennial who both reject the idea of “having it all”. See for privacy information.
S1E8: Your Stories
Jul 10, 2015 • 18 min
In this episode, listeners sent in recordings of themselves talking about work, parenthood and, how hard it is to know what to do with your life, with kids or without. See for privacy information.
S1E7: Good News, Bad News
Jun 11, 2015 • 19 min
Tally gets news about her film project, compares notes with a friend who didn’t have kids, and hears about her youngest son’s turnaround. See for privacy information.
S1E6: Searching for Sally
May 10, 2015 • 20 min
This episode is a little departure. In it, Tally goes looking for a teacher who had a huge impact on her life and career. See for privacy information.
S1E5: Curveball
Apr 15, 2015 • 19 min
In this episode, Tally meets her old producer, who cautions her that she is re-entering a different documentary industry than the one she left and Tally’s son Jack throws her a curveball. See for privacy information.
S1E4: Fear and Insecurity in Las Vegas
Mar 22, 2015 • 19 min
An episode about creativity and insecurity. Questions are raised about Tally’s ability to jump back in after 6 years off and she talks to a painter who says some things she is afraid to say. See for privacy information.
S1E3: Patti Smith Made Me Feel Better
Feb 22, 2015 • 18 min
What’s the difference between taking time off to take care of your kids versus taking that time to travel the world? Tally and her producer discuss it. Also, Patti Smith knows about mothering. See for privacy information.
S1E2: This Discussion is Retro
Feb 2, 2015 • 21 min
Tally looks at gender roles in hers and other households and asks her father what feminism means to him. Spoiler alert: he has no clue. See for privacy information.
S1E1: Getting Back Out There
Jan 11, 2015 • 21 min
In which Tally lays out her situation and tries to jump-start her filmmaking career, asking big questions to her family members along the way. See for privacy information.