Patrice O’Neal was a goddamned funny man. I remember his early appearances on The Opie & Anthony Show (then an afternoon show on WNEW) where he seemed larger than life in both size and wit. Patrice embodied everything a great comedian strives to be; quick on his feet, always in the mood to bust chops, loyal to other comedians, and completely in possession of the ability to get to the center of something and make it funny. He demonstrated these abilities countless times appearing on radio shows, in comedy clubs, hosting shows on TV, on webs clips, releasing stand-up specials, and most recently completely crushing during the The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen.
Unfortunately, just a few days after the roast, some of his comedian friends gathered on The Opie & Anthony Show to announce that O’Neal suffered a stroke. Little information was given and privacy was asked for, from that moment on not much information was shared publicly about the comedian’s status, until around 12noon this afternoon when Twitter rumblings began stating terrible news that Patrice passed on due to complications from the stroke. The rumbles became confirmations by O&A staff and other comedians, then it was followed by his management’s following statement confirming Patrice O’Neal’s death at the age of 41.
It is with terrible sadness we must report that Patrice O’Neal has passed away this morning at 7:00am due to the complications of the stroke he suffered on October 19. Many of us have lost a close and loved friend; all of us have lost a true comic genius. His mother, who was also his best friend, was at his side. Patrice is survived by his wife, Vondecarlo; his step daughter Aymilyon, sister Zinder, and his mother Georgia. The family wishes to thank all of the fans and friends who have expressed an outpouring of love and support for Patrice these past weeks. We ask that you please respect the family’s request for privacy at this difficult time.
Earlier this year we interviewed O’Neal right before the release of his stand-up special, Elephant In The Room he spoke about his legacy as a comedian 20 years into the game and why it’s still very much a struggle for anyone to remain relevant after doing the same thing all this time. It was 100% honest and offered insight as to where he felt his career stood; a reminder to us all laugh more and just how great someone can be at the art of storytelling.
Rest in peace Patrice, you will be missed.