A tribute to comedian Richard Jeni
It appears that Rich took his own life this past weekend. I, like many others who had occasion to see him in person or on television, to meet him, to spend some time talking with him, am deeply saddened by this news.
Rich was a superb comic... and a superb human being. He was admired by other comics not only for the brilliance of his material and his prolific writing of new material, but for his generosity of spirit. He was a good guy. He had a good soul.
Back in the day when I was kicking around and doing a little stand-up, going to see Rich was a pilgrimage of sorts for up-and-coming comics. He was the best. A master. In total control with brilliant stuff, incredible timing and body language, totally at ease on the stage.
And after the show, he'd hang out and talk with us like we were his peers (and none of us were). He was funny, self-deprecating, encouraging.
I'll miss him, as will many, many others. He was never as big as many thought he deserved to be, but I think he was one of the two greatest comics I have seen in my lifetime, the other being Richard Pryor.
Goodbye, Rich. On a nice note, your death has made me go back and look at some of your brilliant work, the kind of stuff that made me laugh so hard, my sides were sore for days after seeing you.
Here's one of my many favorite bits:
Rich Jeni describing staying up after a show to watch the insanely bad film, "Jaws IV: The Revenge."
Labels: Richard Jeni