RIP: Richard Jeni (1957-2007)

I first saw Richard Jeni perform in a huge student auditorim on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois during the mid 90s. He had the crowd in stitches and even managed to re-heckle a heckler who walked out in disgust. When I saw him again live, post 9-11, in Hermosa Beach, California, his material reflected the cautious climate of the time but he still ripped through the crowd like a tornado. His stand-up talent was undeniable and through many a HBO special his timing and delivery was unique. But nobody knew the extent of his severe clinical depression until his recent apparent suicide. The details are still sketchy but there will be many article exposes in magazines and TV news shows in months to come because it also highlights a psychological condition that many people suffer from. Personally, I would like to see an honest documentary made about him if there is some interesting behind the scenes footage collecting dust in some private locker. His film output however was limited. He appeared in "The Mask" and "Burn Hollywood Burn" and guest spotted in a few TV shows.  RIP, Richard Jeni.


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