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Today, the Komplicated crew pays our respects to comedian Patrice O’Neal, who passed away on Monday due to complications from a recent, diabetes-related stroke.
Boston-born O’Neal was a tireless performer who moved to Los Angeles after becoming a fixture at New York City’s Comedy Cellar in the late 1990s. When his L.A. aspirations yielded insufficient reward, he relocated to the UK to try his hand in British clubs, before returning to New York in 2002, where he recorded his first Showtime special and became a regular on radio’s The Opie and Anthony show. O’Neal’s return to the U.S. proved to be far more fruitful, as he landed a slew of television appearances (on Chappelle’s Show and Arrested Development, among many others) and a regular gig as a talking head on Vh1, including hosting the first two seasons of Vh1’s Web Junk.
By 2011, O’Neal had become a go-to comic for his own blend of topical, confrontational humor. In February, Comedy Central aired his first hour-long special Elephant In The Room; in September, he turned in a blistering performance on the network’s Roast Of Charlie Sheen, in which he was also a frequent target on account of his mounting health issues.
In October, those issues turned tragic, as O’Neal suffered a stroke. He passed away a month later in Jersey City.
It seems as if we’re writing too many of these “In Memoriam” pieces these days. It’s particularly tragic when writing about someone as young and talented as O’Neal. Today, we at Komplicated pay tribute to an incredibly talented, influential comic mind, offering our respect to someone who, at 41 years of age, was certainly taken from us too soon.