Patrice O’Neal is one of my favorite comedians of all time. He died just when the world was going to know his name. I’d been watching him for a few years before his passing, on Comedy Central specials. I couldn’t believe how open and honest he was. When he finally released Elephant In the Room I was so happy for him. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.
He was larger than life in more ways than his size. He was unapologetic about being a black man. A man period. He accepted his frailties, and opened his heart up in a way that made me love almost every word that came out of his mouth, on stage.
Watching Elephant in the Room (for the hundredth time) is really eerie. He literally said his days were numbered. He mentioned his diabetes, how he felt about working out, about trying to change one’s life after 40, and he kind of sounds like he’d given into the inevitable. We all have our own truth, and he accepted his, and his role in it.
His passing was just way too soon. His is one of those voices that’s much needed. He had one of those spirits that could change your day, and cause you to laugh at yourself while laughing with him. I miss him.
This special aired on Comedy Central, February 19, 2011. On November 29, 2011 he passed away from a stroke.
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