Monday, March 12, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Richard Jeni

I generally don't write posts about the death of a celebrity (Anna Nicole Smith was a notable exception), but again, I feel the need to write about someone who has recently left this mortal coil.

I was on the phone with a friend last night, and we were discussing celebrity gossip and she asked me to find a particular story on Perez Hilton. As I scrolled down the first page, I came across the story regarding Richard Jeni's apparent suicide.

You do not want to find out about something like that from Perez Hilton, even though the blog was very respectful of his passing. I had to pause the conversation for a minute to allow the enormity of the event to sink in(and to seek additional verification).

I was stunned to hear about this turn of events, and saddened as I remember the playfulness of his comedy and the personality that made those same jokes so appealing.

The world has lost another great comic before his time.

Elayne Boosler wrote a fitting farewell for Jeni at the Huffington Post, and I think it is worth reading as is an entry about his suicide by Andy Nulman, the CEO of Just for Laughs entry. There is some real insight from these two people who knew him, though it doesn't make the event seem any less momentous.


niteowl said...

Jeni was brilliant, too bad the mainstream never took notice of it. I saw one his HBO/Showtime (I forget which) specials back in the late 80's and thought he put on a fantastic show. Sad stuff.

Semaj said...

So long Jeni. His last HBO special was great.
I actually remember his old sitcom from UPN too

Schadenfreude said...

Damn -- very sad. And I really liked his last HBO special. No doubt he was talented.

Though most comedians it seems have that dark side.

But of all the way to do it -- shoot yourself in the face. Ugh, the horror.

MC said...

Niteowl: I think my two favorite joke/premises he performed were the Ultimate movie, where he sketched out the plot for a movie that would appeal to both men and women equally, and the Dating Card table, where both parties had to be completely honest on the first date. *sigh*

Semaj: I think you can tell how influential he was just by doing a search for the term "punkfaggot"... and he made it work in his act. He took a threat and made it funny.

Schad: That is the detail that I think will live on with his comedy... that painful, disturbing detail.

DutchBitch said...

I don't know him from anything else than The Mask, but I guess he was a great comedian.


MC said...

He was very good as a movie executive in Burn Hollywood Burn as well.

It's Me, Maven... said...

I agree with Boosler's comments.

I was lucky enough to see Richard Jeni, not once, but twice, at Rascals in West Orange, NJ, which is a nice, cozy venue. I sat so close to the stage, I could see him sweat.

He and his humor were full of insight and humanity.

MC said...

I am sort of envious... I never got to see him live.