Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Rest In Peace Richard Jeni

Hey guys. Quint here with some sad news. Comedian Richard Jeni died yesterday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Of his movie appearances, the only one I really remember with any fondness or clarity is his portrayal of the best friend to the Jim Carrey character in THE MASK. He was very natural and likable in that flick and looking back on it now I'm surprised he didn't get more supporting work. My main memories of Jeni come from my adolescent years when his specials ran on cable. I was addicted to stand-up comedy at that age and I would watch anything I could, as long as there was a mic and a comedian trying to make me laugh I was happy. I loved the stand-up movies, like Eddie Murphy's RAW and DELIRIOUS and RICHARD PRYOR LIVE ON SUNSET STRIP and BILL COSBY'S HIMSELF. As much as I liked those films, there was something about watching a cable special, like George Carlin's stuff, or just random people I hadn't heard of and had no expectations of... I don't know, it was almost more personal, more affecting to watch a cable special than a feature. I caught Jeni's work there and I seem to remember him hosting some USA channel comedy specials. He always came off as a laugh a minute, happy man, which makes his apparent suicide all the more shocking. It's a shame whenever anybody takes their own life and I wish he was in a better place in his life and didn't feel he had to end it. My thoughts go out to Jeni's friends, family and fans.


Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • March 12, 2007, 4:39 a.m. CST

    They say..

    by Kristian66

    ..that comedians are deeply unhappy people

  • March 12, 2007, 4:44 a.m. CST

    I heard that also Kristian66.

    by mrfan

    Enjoyed his work. RIP.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:05 a.m. CST

    More on Jeni's Death from the LA Times

    by kevinwillis.net

    http://tinyurl.com/39ls2p

  • March 12, 2007, 5:11 a.m. CST

    he was alive for 1hr after he shot himself in the head

    by TallBoy66

    I think that's the most fucked up part about all this. Oh, that and whenever I saw him on anything, he seemed the most non-suicidal commedian I've ever seen. Yeesh.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:15 a.m. CST

    Sad...

    by Quintus_Arrius

    ... and disturbing news indeed. Hail Jeni!

  • March 12, 2007, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Damn Shame

    by Jinxo

    I'm probably the only one but I remember his sitcom that aired on UPN during it's first year on the air. Actually thought it deserved better success than it had. At the same time I thought he was a real true stand up comic. I mean, some comics clearly go into standup to eventually become a TV or film actor. Jeni seemed to be first and foremost about standup. Just recently saw one of his cable specials and he was just so funny. Damn shame.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:38 a.m. CST

    RIP but...

    by darquelyte

    He was a talented guy who seemed to get confused with Kevin Pollak. Maybe that's what really caused his suicide. I read this somewhere, and agree with it for the most part: I believe that unless you have a debilitating disease and can make a sane judgment to end your life, suicide is not a viable answer but a pretty good indication that you have a mental illness -- even if it is temporary. For Mr. Jeni to kill himself in such a violent way with his girlfriend in the house indicates that he was very selfish or crazy or both. The fact that she cared enough to cook breakfast for him tells me that she won't be getting over his passive aggressive "f--k you" any time soon. If he was doing this because he had a physical illness, really, he could have waited for her to leave or sent her away before he shot himself after he called 9-1-1 so he would have been found by emergency responders and not by somebody who cared about him. But that's not what he did.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:54 a.m. CST

    Um

    by Mister Man

    This talkback has already gotten weird.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:15 a.m. CST

    being a comedian doesn't sound very fun

    by durhay

    It always seems like a job for people who aren't well-adjusted.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:29 a.m. CST

    It's To Bad

    by CutAndPaste

    I think the problem with being a comedian is that everyone else gets to laugh, but you don't. I mean, everyone else in the room could be rolling on the floor, but they have to keep a straight face (or at least their composure) and move on. That must suck. And it's to bad about Mr. Jeni.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Anyone Remember

    by Ron Mexico

    that Family Guy where Peter was laying in bed fantasizing about Richard Jeni? "Oh and what a sweet ass".. that's some funny stuff. Too bad he did what he did.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:43 a.m. CST

    It is now 4:40 am where I live.

    by buttsniffertown

    I think I will pop in Jaws 4 and watch it in memorial.

  • March 12, 2007, 7:07 a.m. CST

    This has been a depressing weekend...

    by tonagan

    Andy Sidaris dies and now Richard Jeni? Man...

  • March 12, 2007, 7:17 a.m. CST

    He just had an HBO special about a year ago...

    by RetroActive

    what a shame.

  • March 12, 2007, 7:23 a.m. CST

    awful news

    by BizarroJerry

    I always liked Jeni. I think I got most familiar with him back in the era when Comedy Central was basically 24 hours of stand-up comedians. It says he was most recently working with Chris Rock, wrote for the Academy Awards and showed up on his sitcom. This suicide always makes these stories even sadder, because you wonder how messed up he was. Sad news.

  • March 12, 2007, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Wow, this is a shock...

    by Otter

    Geez, I always liked the guy. When I saw that he'd passed, it bummed me out, but when I saw how he passed, that really was a punch to the gut. I really liked him in "The Mask" too, and I really liked his other appearances. Someone once said that he was sometimes confused with Kevin Pollak, who I always used to confuse with Kevin Spacey. Hope you can find some peace now, Rich.

  • March 12, 2007, 7:44 a.m. CST

    can someone shoot joe rogan and carlos mencia...

    by samuraiyao

    anyone???

  • March 12, 2007, 7:53 a.m. CST

    "seemed to get confused with Kevin Pollack"

    by bah

    Thank you! I've been trying to remember his name all morning. "Was he the one in 'A Few Good Men'? No, that was that other guy. 'Usual Suspects'? No that's that other guy, too." Thanks for giving me the name.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Platypus Man was the best- will miss him dearly

    by Jugdish

    His take on waking up and going to school as a kid was a riot. Platypus man on HBO was the best.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:12 a.m. CST

    I hate when people kill themselfs...

    by Drworm2002

    ...but I still shed a tear.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Not a good way to start the week...

    by tie3456

    Seems like celebrities go out in groups. Every time there is a RIP article on AICN, it's almost surely followed by a couple more in the same week. Like airplane crashes and train derailments...once one happens, there will be a few more shortly thereafter. Just one of those phenomenons. Anyway, sad to see Jeni go, he was surely a very funny man.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    First Brad Delp and now this...

    by ron2112

    This sucks. That's enough celebrity suicide for this week, please. Man, depressing as hell.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:21 a.m. CST

    RIP boy from NYC

    by theonecalledshoe

    There are a lot of sad souls out in the world. I figure he'd be up in heaven and Richard Pyror would be telling him he came too early.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:24 a.m. CST

    How to become a "genius" in comedy

    by Razorback

    Die.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    poor comic, but sad story

    by Rupee88

    He wasn't funny, but I guess lots of people loved him, just like they love Ellen who isn't funny either. That sucks that he sunk to such depths of depression....very sad.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:37 a.m. CST

    JAWS 4 stupidest movie ever made

    by NapoleonDynamite

    That was a classic bit.

  • March 12, 2007, 9 a.m. CST

    Jeni and Brad Delp?

    by Lerkst

    Anyone who compares the two is DEAD wrong. Delp died of health issues, not by his own hand...he will me missed. Jeni wussed out, and killed himself. Plus, he didn't even do it with originality---or even successfully! He died on the way to the hosipital! What a chump! Off yourself like a man.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Larry the Cable Guy: Read this

    by CTU Mole

    If you killed yourself, you could be remembered fondly just like Richard Jeni. Do it, Mr. The Cable Guy. Just one second's courage and it's done. Unless you fuck up like Richard and you linger on for an hour but no matter! Think of your legacy and more importantly, society. Do it, Larry. And if you can enter a murder/suicide pact with the rest of the Blue Collar comics, by all means. And not like the other pact you have, with all the buttsex. I mean a pact where you all die. But I digress.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Jeni's material always had a hint of rage...

    by Billyeveryteen

    Sure, most comics do, but I would never have suspected him of being happy. Damn shame...

  • March 12, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    too sad

    by Bloo

    I also remember Jeni from the MASK and a few other films I can't name off the top of my head. I too remember his cable specials because I was a stand up addit myslef, watched a lot of Night at the Improv on A&E that's probably where I caught Jeni first. It's sad that for whatever reason he felt he needed to take his own life.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Hmm...Richard Jeni...

    by SPECTRE Agent

    Your HBO comedy special brought pleasure to millions...And what a sweet ass.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:24 a.m. CST

    He was Terminally ill

    by tile_mcgillus

    A good friend of his just came out and said it. So he died on his terms. He was a fucking funny guy.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Very Sad

    by shellfishh

    I liked him. He had a very funny stand up act. <p>But the girlfriend is saying he shot himself in the face. The head, yes. But who shoots themself in the face? <p>Anyone else having a Phil Hartman flashback?

  • March 12, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    After Larry the Cable Guys reads this . . .

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    please forward to Tim Allen, Jeff Foxworthy and Carlos Mencia - the comedy Axis of Evil.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Amazing how everyone wants to pass judgment...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    Based on the inital news story, minus any facts. Save the coward comments at least until something close to the full and real story is known. <p> As to Jeni, well I think it is interesting that he was a better known and more popular comic than Seinfeld, Roseanne, Tim Allen or any of the other stand-ups that got sit-com breaks and went on to fame in the late 80s early 90s. <p> Oh, and the Jaws IV routine was great... http://tinyurl.com/24akd7

  • March 12, 2007, 9:53 a.m. CST

    RIP whether it was suicide or not

    by Doctor_Sin

    Funny guy - one of the few who *stayed* funny.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Yes he was very sick

    by torontoxic

    and had just given it all to charity prior to shooting himself. <P> Not exactly cowardly you stupid pricks. <P> Lerkst, do everyone a favour and be original when you kill yourself. Maybe see if you can choke on your own ass?

  • March 12, 2007, 10:24 a.m. CST

    RIP

    by veritasses

    He performed live at my school. Unlike most of the "comics" who think they're funny just because they have a mike in their hand and stand in front of a fake brick wall, this guy was genuinely funny. RIP.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Those Clowns

    by gusradio

    always crying on the inside. Tally ho

  • March 12, 2007, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I'm fucking crying.

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    Jeni was by far my favorite comedian since I was 17.<p> I loved Hedberg, (another one gone way before his fucking time,) and I think Eddie Murphy was untouchable when he did "Delirious," but in terms of longevity and continuous entertainment value, Jeni has always been my favorite. In fact, he's the only comic I ever put down money to buy tickets for. I saw his record his "Good Catholic Boy" special back in '97 in Santa Ana.<p> God damn it. Rich, I hope you've found yourself in a better place, and I don't know whatever the circumstances were that made you do it, but fuck... I hate that you're gone.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:47 a.m. CST

    what exactly

    by Jeff Rodie

    does "My thoughts go out to" mean? I mean really? Such a wierd phrase when you think about it.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Jeff

    by Mister Man

    I'd guess it is a secularization of "My prayers go out to...." And, it's spelled "weird."

  • March 12, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Insane...I've worked w/ him for years!

    by ElectricDreams

    I am sitting here in Awe. I worked with him in both Radio and TV since 92 helping to get him on shows I worked for to promote his stand-up club gigs and the last one being the NFL show he did on HBO, unbelievable...I dont know what to say right now! Speechless.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    'The Kid from New York City'...

    by JohnRevik

    ...Funniest stand-up special Showtime ever aired. His disgruntled Drive-thru bit had me in tears. RIP, brother.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Goodbye, Platypus Man.

    by MC Vamp

    My friend called and told me to check the news last night and this one really hit home. The second worst thing about this is we had basically made a pact to catch Jeni next time out because his area shows always coincided with things we couldn't cancel... sad but true. The absolute worst thing about this is how it reminds me of my late father, who died of cancer 2 years ago. Jeni was absolutely his favorite comedian. I remember we both got pissed about 10 years ago when "The Comedy Tape" got stuck in the VCR and we had to take it in for repairs. It was a VHS cassette of the old Platypus Man Special, Tim Allen's first special (back when he was actually funny, I swear) a damn hilarious Mike MacDonald Showtime special (no one else has ever heard of him but it was good) and a couple of Young Comedian-type deals (on the 6-hour setting obviously.) When we got the VCR back, the tape had vanished and the repair guy swore that they never threw away tapes, even busted-up ones. My dad (unreasonably but funnily) decided that someone at the repair shop had swiped his favorite tape on purpose and actually brought this up about five times a year for several years. If Jeni was terminally ill, I can forgive how he took himself out... (though apparently the poor guy could have aimed a little better--but he was a comedian, not a sniper.) If we go to a better place, I hope Jeni's up there getting ready to do a show, and I hope my dad has a ticket. Sorry for the ramble, but I had to get that one off my chest. Viva Jeni!

  • March 12, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    The horrible face shot...

    by Serious Black

    ...is not actually that uncommon among attempted suicides. It seems to be perpetuated by movies where you see someone off themself by pointing a gun at the underside of their chin and then pulling the trigger. Unfortunately, the bullet's trajectory just manages to take off the person's mouth, nose, and maybe one or both eyes. Often the brain is missed entirely, and even if it is hit one can live a long time with only damage to the frontal lobes. Jeni is just damn lucky that he actually died and isn't lying faceless in some hospital bed somewhere.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Goodbye, Platypus Man

    by TheUglyBaby

    Goodbye, Richie You were a good friend for over 20 years and I will miss you. We never had a bad show together and never met a couple of drunk babes that we didn't ry to hit on. May angels guide you to your peace. Namaste'

  • March 12, 2007, 11:31 a.m. CST

    "The most non-suicidal comedian...."

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    Sorry, but to steal an analogy, that's like being the fattest Red Hot Chili Pepper.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:41 a.m. CST

    BABA booey

    by iwontwin

    last thursday on howard stern, baba booey said he wasnt a good cohost on the howard stern show...did that push him over the edge? yea right.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:56 a.m. CST

    oh god damn it!!!!

    by Varakor

    I can see anna nicole offin herself, but Jeni? FUCK!! He was my all time fav comedian, since his showtime special. but watching his "Big Steaming pile of me" sheesh there were since. He looked sick, but damn that show was funny. FUCK!!! rest in peace my friend, you will be sorely missed...

  • March 12, 2007, 11:59 a.m. CST

    CTU Mole

    by LarryTheCableGuy

    ok, i will. but still sad about jeni, i always thought he was a good comedian.

  • March 12, 2007, noon CST

    see yas.

    by LarryTheCableGuy

    im gonna gitterdun. kamikazzi!!

  • March 12, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Sucks

    by ByTor

    Always thought he was funny. I even watched the Platypus Man UPN show (which, while overall not very good, had a few funny moments here and there and a couple of real laugh-out-loud bits), and his appearance in the Mask definitely stayed with me.<P>But nothing beat his standup stuff. Very funny guy. RIP Richard.

  • March 12, 2007, 12:21 p.m. CST

    platypus man

    by Shakes

    Yeah, I remember seeing commercials for this show when UPN first came on. They had 3 or 4 days of sitcoms and then Star Trek Voyager. The sitcoms lasted for that one year before they dropped most of their programming and focused on a more urban audience.

  • March 12, 2007, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Shocked.

    by AllPowerfulWizardOfOz

    This was a very funny man. Check out his skit PMS and Red Wine http://tinyurl.com/3bdvcz <BR><BR> VERY funny stuff. He will be missed.

  • March 12, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    ...sad...

    by donwithnoname

    I saw him in Austin in January, he was performing at a corporate event where I was doing grip work and I saw him backstage. Very sad. I watched his Jaws 4 bit yesterday. Funny stuff... R.I.P.

  • March 12, 2007, 1 p.m. CST

    "Jeni, Jeni..."

    by Anna Valerious

    "Oh Richard Jeni, your HBO standup specials have delighted millions! And what a sweet ass..." We'll miss you, Platypus Man.

  • March 12, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Poor Platypus Man!

    by biggles2_22

    Met the guy a couple of times, here in Detroit. Loved his stand-up work. Actually dug his TV show (was in the minority on that one). Hate to see talent wasted. Suicide, Just Say No.

  • March 12, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Andy Sidaris

    by Barry Egan

    This guy had to have made some of the worst movies of all time. When I was in college there was a series of his films about 2 blondes who were some sort of secret agents (the films were never clear about this). There would literally be scenes in the films where they would take their shirts off while the scene played out, show their tits, and then put their shirts back on again. His films were the sort of horrendously bad movies that are huge fun to watch.

  • March 12, 2007, 2:48 p.m. CST

    AICN obits

    by Barry Egan

    I love how every obituary on AICN winds up somehow being more about the person writing it than about the actual person who died.

  • March 12, 2007, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Barry Egan

    by Bloo

    I always view that kind of like a wake where you share memories you have of the person who died, kind of like "i remember that one time bob and i got so stinking drunk we ended up spooning" kind of deal

  • March 12, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    And what a sweet ass, too...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...I feel "Family Guy's" reference to him in a bit is a proper farewell.

  • March 12, 2007, 4:41 p.m. CST

    fattest red hot chili peppers

    by BadMrWonka

    that's from penn and teller! good reference, man!

  • March 12, 2007, 4:41 p.m. CST

    pepper

    by BadMrWonka

    singular

  • March 12, 2007, 5:24 p.m. CST

    he did a great SHAT

    by caravaggio

    rip

  • March 12, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Bloody hell...

    by Gabba-UK

    Well this is a shock. The first time I saw Jeni was on Channel4's Just 4 laughs here in the UK about 20 yrs ago. He was ripping the shit out of Jaws 4: The Revenge. I nearly choked on my drink laughing. I've always kept an eye out on things he did since. I thought he was excellent in The Mask and other stuff since. I remember him in the documentary about Bill Hicks 'Its just a Ride' speaking about how Hicks was such an influence within the stand-up community. He stuck me as a good guy. To hear he was ill and then to do this is really sad. I hope he's at peace now.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Damn it Richard Jeni

    by Anino

    I loved the man's comedy--especially the bit about ordering live lobster in a restaurant as if you were a Roman emperor (yeah, you had to be there). His stuff's available on YouTube--what a damn shame. RIP and my prayers go to his family and friends. May you have a captive and more understanding audience in that comedy club in the afterlife.

  • March 12, 2007, 6:47 p.m. CST

    R.I.P

    by wackybantha

    He made me laugh.

  • March 12, 2007, 8:37 p.m. CST

    funny guy

    by BadMrWonka

    "I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.' "<p>"I always look for a woman who has a tattoo. I see a woman with a tattoo, and I'm thinking, OK, here's a gal who's capable of making a decision she'll regret in the future."

  • March 12, 2007, 9:28 p.m. CST

    RIP

    by FakePlasticGuava

    Richard Jeni was a background man. Never in front, but always pulling some strings. Chances are you've laughed at some of his jokes and didn't even know he wrote them. A good friend of Chris Rock's, Jeni has helped write his standup, award shows, and film scripts. I've seen him on cable and laughed. Rest in peace.

  • March 12, 2007, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Too Sad.

    by Evil Chicken

    A “Has Been” is always better than a “Never Was” and a “Has Been” may “Be” again. Too bad – sad story. By the way… RIP Brad Delp (“Boston’s” lead singer). I loved that band.

  • March 13, 2007, 12:02 a.m. CST

    Jeni bit: "You know the difference between...

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    ...Charles Manson and every woman I've ever dated?? Charles Manson has the decency to look like a maniac WHEN YOU MEET HIM. You'd never make it all the way to dinner with the guy and then start thinking, 'This guy is fucking nuts! He asked for a children's menu and ordered a CHILD!"

  • March 13, 2007, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Another Jeni bit:

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    "I used to work at a shoe store selling ladies' shoes. I figured, I'm young, I'm surrounded by women all day long with short skirts, and I'm down there putting their shoes on - what could be better? Turns out that if I had to choose now between that job and, say... giving birth to a flaming porcupine, I'd probably look into the latter as a career choice."

  • March 13, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    I always though he was

    by Leatherneck11527

    I always though he was hilarious. His bits on Carson were classic. I love stand up comics and he was a true pro. I hate suicide. My nephew took his own life last April. The only reason for it that I could ever understand and forgive would be for grave illness. While I would not wish that on anyone either I just hope if this was the truth that Mr. Jeni has found the peace and relief he was seeking.

  • March 13, 2007, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Rest In Peace Platypus Man!

    by RedRum1977

    He was one of the funniest comcis out there. I think I'll go watch the Belch Gourmet now. Sad news indeed!

  • March 14, 2007, 5:23 a.m. CST

    On rifle under chin popularity in films

    by JackRabbitSlim

    I wonder if this style of suicide in movies became popular as a result of the gun-in-mouth looking a bit too much like fellatio. Ye olde visually-stylized cock-in-mouth syndrome needed to be changed and thus the "Yes - that's it - we'll have him stick the gun UNDER the chin - looks purty cool too!" Just a thought

  • March 14, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST

    "The last thing that went through his mind"

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Ah Shawshank - thou truly deserve your vaunted IMDB status.

  • May 16, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Last...

    by Quintus_Arrius

    !