Veteran stand-up comic Patrice O’Neal died Monday night following a stroke in late October, according to published reports. He was 41.
Though not quite a household name, O’Neal was well on his way. Having easily spawned a million laughs over the course of his halted career, O’Neal’s resume reads as colorful as he was funny.
Most recently performing at Charlie Sheen’s roast in September, O’Neal frequently appeared on the Sirius XM radio show, Opie & Anthony. Other notable guest-spots include Chapelle’s Show, Arrested Development, and The Office.
On the solo front, he hosted the first two seasons of VH1′s Web Junk 20 (and although he left due to concerns about the show’s audience being “too different” from his own, that was precisely why it worked!)
But his best work was probably that which brought him into the biz: Stand up. Honing his skills in the UK club circuit when his efforts seemed limited in the states, he was offered a Showtime special not long after his return. Comedy Central and HBO followed.
Often described as “a comic’s comic,” O’Neal certainly earned the respect and admiration of his peers, who’ve been unsurprisingly vocal about the loss. Never one to mince words, Charlie Sheen declared, “I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent.”
Nobility withstanding, Sarah Silverman probably put it best: “RIP Patrice O’Neal. You made us laugh til we cried.”
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