Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Comedian Richard Jeni 1957-2007: Today's Cartoon

I think for a lot of people around my age, Richard Jeni will probably be best remembered as the host of TV's "Caroline's Comedy Hour" on A&E. For those starting to watch stand-up comedy for the first time, Jeni was the main fixture on a show that also introduced many of us to the early work of some of today’s top comedians. And though despite not achieving the same breakout success as some of the acts featured on that program, Jeni's weekly M.C. duties on national television (plus numerous re-runs) easily made him one of the most recognizable stand-up comics to the teens of my generation.

So obviously it came as a huge shock to read of Richard Jeni's sudden passing at the age of 49; only then to receive an even sadder jolt, with regards to the way in which he decided to check-out.

Now, I'm not going to speculate as to reasons why someone of that status would ultimately decide to claim their own life; to me, the whole topic seems as alien as grown-ups who diddle children. But the message it seems to send out is a rather sobering one; especially to those who grew up watching Jeni's comedy on television and were inspired by it to follow in his path into the wonderful world of show business :(

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