This past Tuesday, comedian Patrice O’Neal died at age 41 following complications from a stroke suffered in October. O’Neal, well-known in the stand-up community, received what was likely his highest exposure only a month earlier when he participated in Comedy Central’s Roast of Charlie Sheen. The overweight funnyman arguably stole the show, taking earnest-toned shots at fellow roasters Mike Tyson and Steve-O. After a night of being consistently made fun of for his age, career and purported senility, an astonished William Shatner proclaimed that O’Neal, of all the comedians present, was “telling it like it is.”
Even during the roast, O’Neal made references to his impending death. As the crowd reacted to his unflinchingly honest insults, he responded, “How the @#$% can I be too mean after this shit? I can’t believe it. I’m dying of diabetes and you mother@#$%ers are like, ‘Oh, that evil fat @#$%.”
O’Neal made very few appearances as an actor, but his guest spots on television were always memorable. He appeared in the second episode of “Arrested Development” as T-Bone, George Sr.’s prison buddy who briefly works at the banana stand (and unabashedly burns down the family storage unit). He also recurred on “The Office” as Lonny, the warehouse employee deemed “Sea Monster” by Kelly Kapoor.
O’Neal’s first stand-up special, “Elephant in the Room,” which aired on Comedy Central in February, is currently streaming on Netflix Watch Instantly. The video below is just a sample of what to expect:
Ricky Gervais called O’Neal “one of my favorite stand-up comedians.” If you’re in need of a study break this reading period, join us in celebrating his career, cut way too short. In addition to “Elephant in the Room,” the Sheen roast, his “Arrested” episode (1×2 Top Banana) and his “Office” appearances (1×5 Basketball, 2×15 Boys and Girls, 3×19 Safety Training) are all up on Netflix.