By now everyone knows that Patrice O'Neal passed away this week from complications of a stroke he suffered last month. This is of course sad news to everyone. He was one of my favorite comedians and ranked as my top five favorite comedians of the new generation. I loved his act. I loved his personality and the way he took serious subjects such as racial profiling and America's insistence that we are the best country in the world and reflected on them in such a way that the message was well received with a hearty belly laugh. He was only 41. As an overweight black male he lived to just about his life expectancy but the news of his death still stings like the dickens. Maybe you knew of him from his many appearances on various Comedy Central Roasts. Or maybe his guest spots on the Opie and Anthony show. Maybe you were familiar with his work on the first season of the Chappelle Show. One of my favorite Patrice moments can be found here from one of his many sharp and sardonic stand-up routines. The thing that I enjoyed most about him was his ability to be at the same time well informed and funny. It's hard to strike that balance without going too far in either direction and coming off as either aloof of the world's problems or condescending. O'Neal walked this tightrope very well and for that he reached the top echelon of new generation comedic legends in the like of Mitch Hedberg and Greg Giraldo. It's no surprise to me that at this level their work was mostly (and sadly) appreciated post-mortem.
|Only one of these dudes was selling out stadiums. Yeah... you read that right.|
I don't even have the words to explain just how rotten the above picture makes me feel. I'll let O'Neal's own words tell the truth for us here...
He makes a great point about comedians... those that have reached a certain level of stardom that probably don't deserve it. I swear every time Whitney Cummings appears on NBC or CBS while truly funny female comedians such as Maria Bamford and Amy Sedaris are relegated to playing weird moms in Christmas commercials an angel gets it's wings ripped off by some tattooed dude named Jesus Ramirez. Ever since Leno beat out Letterman for Carson's gig (and probably way before then) the less witty, watered down funny folks of the world have been given the red carpet treatment and with guys like Mitch Hedberg and Greg Giraldo gone while Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia (who has the balls to have a new comedy special chocked with
--- Vanity in Peril