Man… this one sucks.
Comedian Kevin Barnett (aka. the Bird Luger) has died at the age of 32. Barnett was a rising star in the comedy scene, not only performing at clubs around the country but he also saw success as a writer and producer in TV. Additionally he was always a positive spirit and incredibly liked man.
Originally from Florida, he was a New Face at Just For Laughs shortly out of college at Florida State. Rising from the ashes of a defunct In Living Color reboot, Barnett and some of his comedian pals became cast members, writers, and co-creators of the truTV sketch comedy show, Friends Of the People. A show that featured Barnett, Jennifer Bartels, Jermaine Fowler, Lil Rel Howery, The Lucas Bros, and Josh Rabinowitz as they performed some of their earliest work. All of which would go onto to starring and producing future TV shows, movies, and projects.
Barnett most recently produced and wrote on Rel,Broad City and The Carmichael Show. He’s written on TV shows like Lucas Bros. Moving Co, The Eric Andre Show, and Guy Code. He most recently wrapped on the TV movie, Kevin Vs Josh with Rabinowitz that’s due out later this year.
The news of Barnett’s passing came this morning on social media as The Stand Comedy Club shared an R.I.P that was shortly followed by The Last Podcast Network releasing a statement. Barnett was a host on The Roundtable of Gentlemen podcast on said network.
Dear Last Podcast family, It’s with a heavy heart we inform you of the passing of Kevin Barnett. The joy he brought to our lives is the greatest gift we have ever received. Remind your friends you love them because you never know when you’ll see them again. We love you KB.
The details of Barnett’s death have not yet been revealed. Regardless of how, 32 is way too young an age to lose someone, especially a talent as bright as Barnett. His most recent update on social media post came while 2 days before his death, a photo of him posing in a poncho he just purchased while on a trip in Mexico. At the time of this writing (and according to other sources) it’s believed Barnett died while still on the same trip in Mexico.
[Update: January 24] A cause of death has been revealed: A U.S. Department of State official confirmed Barnett’s death and released the statement. “We offer our sincerest condolences to his family on their loss, and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.” However, the Chief of the Forensic Medical Service of Tijuana revealed that the body had been received by them and an autopsy was performed, “The corresponding autopsy was carried out, which determined that the cause of death was: Non Traumatic Hemorrhage, caused by pancreatitis,” the statement included. “At the moment his body is still in facilities of the Forensic Medical Service of Tijuana, waiting to be delivered to his family members who are performing the legal proceedings.”
Many comedians have taken to social media to praise Barnett’s comedic mind and character, one of the most poignant coming from the Lucas Bros. who came up in comedy with Barnett as they have often contributed to each other’s projects.
The thought of never hearing another one of your brilliantly layered stories saddens us. You were a comedic savant. Being able to absorb your genius during our many wonderful experiences together fundamentally changed our perspective on life. About a week before your passing, we had dinner along with Ilana and Josh. You were your usual birdluger self: confident yet fully capable of displaying your vulnerabilities in a humorous way. Your story about harassing Josh during New Year’s literally had us in tears. As we were walking into an elevator, you said to me: what is evidence? Per usual, I had a difficult time deciphering the meaning of the phrase. We stayed up til 2 in the morning, laughing and reminiscing about the good ole times. That night, the evidence was clear: It reminded us why comedy is such a beautiful art. And why your particular brand of comedy stood above the rest. The friends you make along your journey make the ride so much more enriching. Your spirit was ubiquitous. You inspired us to be better artists. But more importantly you inspired us to be better humans. Upon the conclusion of our night, we hugged and said we love each other. We never thought that’d be the last time we saw you. We will miss you so much. Love you brother. Rest easy my nigga. Kevin may be gone. But:
BIRDLUGER is forever!!!
Rest in peace Kevin.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where the Bird Luger nickname came from, it started a few years back with this photo as Barnett was in New Orleans at a bar, wearing a bird shirt, standing in front of a bird painting, then got his hands on a bird book. He was texting with a friend and sent her that photo with the tag “Bird Life.” His phone auto-corrected his words to “Bird Luger” and it was all over from there. Barnett tells the story way better in an episode of Roundtable of Gentlemen podcast that bears the same title. Check out the story starting around the 3min mark.
[UPDATE: January 25th] Kevin’s comedy friends have set up a fund to send money to his father, Michael to pay for memorial service expenses. It’s raised a really great amount of money in a very short period of time. Just clicking through the names, it’s great to see so many fans and comedians giving what they can to the cause. If you’d like to donate yourself go here.