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Richard Jeni

Born: 1957-04-14 - Died: 2007-03-10
Cause of Death:
Suicide


Death Summary: Richard John Colangelo (Jeni being his stage name) was found by his girlfriend; he had apparently shot himself in the face. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California where he died.

After his death his family said that he had been diagnosed with severe clinical depression coupled with psychotic paranoia.

Who was Richard Jeni : Jeni was a stand up comedian and actor.

Jeni gained recognition through his many stand-up specials and appearances on The Tonight Show. HBO picked up his stand-up special in 1992 which was called “Richard Jeni: Platypus Man”.

He also appeared in numerous movies such as The Mask, The Aristocrats, National Lampoon’s Dads Week Off, Burn, Hollywood Burn, and his last role was in Chasing Robert.

Jeni appeared on The Tonight Show more than any other stand-up comedian.
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26 Signatures in Richard Jeni's guestbook

  1. Sharon C Says:

    I can definitely identify with where Richard was coming from as a fellow sufferer of mental illness (depression) and creative soul trying to cover up the pain that lurked so deep beneath the surface. Richard was and still is one of the most talented comedic geniuses of my time (in addition to George Carlin who was/is also one of my very favorites ). I first discovered Richard on Caroline’s Comedy Club, Night at the Improv and other shows back about 20 yrs ago. I always hung on every word of his comedy routine. Never had I come across someone with such brilliance and remarkable talent that made me laugh until my sides hurt. My only regret is that I never got to witness his act in person although I have enjoyed him via tv and internet throughout the years and am grateful that I can “relive” these moments at any time I so choose.

    There is something about his charisma and charm that always held me spellbound. The day I found out about his ‘passing’ I was devastated beyond belief and cried for hours trying to figure out why someone who was so immensely talented, so extremely popular, ambitious, funny and handsome could think that things were so bad that he had to take the ultimate remedy to escape from his inner pain. Then I knew because I’ve been there only I’ve never had the ‘courage’ to follow through.

    I still miss him terribly and believe that there were/are very few out there with such talent and genius and ability to make us laugh the way he did.

    RIP Richard … you’ll not be forgotten. We’ll always remember you for the truly extraordinary person you were.

  2. Matthew Palmer Says:

    Richard Jeni’s genius was in the way that he could relate any subject directly to his audience.

  3. Glenn C Says:

    The Lobster bit is the one I always remember. I still laugh about it. Miss you.

  4. KRISSY Says:

    WHAT A WASTE. AS A FELLOW CLINICAL DEPRESSION SOUL ON THIS PLANET, WHY DID NO ONE LOVE HIM ENOUGH TO SEE HIS PAIN, AND EXPLAIN TO HIM THE WORLD NEED HIS PERSPECTIVE AND THAT “THIS TOO SHALL PASS” WHY ARE YOU DEPRESSED WHEN YOU HAVE EVERYTHING (AS OTHERS SEE) CUZ IT IS TUESDAY… THE WORLD IS A LESSER PLACE CUZ RICHARD LEFT…..
    LOVED HIM AND MISS HIM

  5. wally Says:

    what did richard have to be so sad about ….millionaire…house in the hills……just never made the next level…self pity…i did love him …his worst day a thousand times better than my best…..

  6. shannon Says:

    lint-sucking coal mining stumps. Good shit! And: AT least charles manson has the decency to look like a nut when u meet him-richard jeni’s take on people being fake when 1st dating. RIP brother.

  7. BRUNO DI GIROLAMO Says:

    RICHARD, we never met, but i discovered your talent on line!I will never, have the chance to meet you, but your talent and memories, will always be, a click away.God bless you, and i know your making everyone laugh upstairs!Say hi to RODNEY, for me.THANKS A MILLE….BRUNO

  8. David Gold Says:

    I met Richard in San Diego around 1995 when he was the featured comedian on the 6am live remote radio broadcast on the San Diego morning radio show, “Dave Shelley and Chainsaw”. I now have a comedy-hypnosis stage show myself and can attribute my success in part to Jeni, whom I worshipped since the 80′s comedy surge when I was a mid-western radio announcer longing to step up to a real live stage show. I can relate to Richard’s situation as my own brother became schizophrenic in his 30′s. Thank you, Richard. I move forward in my career knowing your genius helped give me hope when you suddenly lost yours. God be with you.

  9. saul chapa Says:

    this man was very funny.i liked his short lived tv show.he made me laugh alot. to bad laughter could not cure him.

  10. Eric Jackson Says:

    Richard Jeni was the first big name comedian at my club and I rememeber how weird it was that he had terrible stage fright and it took a bottle of Chambord to calm him down. Yet through all that he was f-ing funny and I enjoyed seeing him everytime he was in town. The way he died did not surprise me but I wish he could have pulled back from the comedy to deal with his demons. He was a genius and “we were thankful…” for what he meant to us.

  11. Lyn Smith Says:

    no no no you had so much more to do

  12. Bowen Glover Says:

    Love his comedy,He is up there with George both at the Gates of heaven making ever one so happy with their genius behavior.
    I will miss him tremendously, 1 of an kind.

  13. Bowen Glover Says:

    Bowen H. Glover
    Ronan, Mt.

  14. CHERRYL TRACY Says:

    all i can think is why????????????????????????????

  15. Mark Travis Says:

    The mind of Richard Jeni…….smart, quick and brilliant. You are missed by many, my friend.
    May God be with you………..RIP

  16. Lynne Says:

    There’s never been any other comedian I can view repeatedly and still enjoy. His death… well, it totally sucks ass. :(

  17. Oscar Reyes Says:

    Such a great loss of talent…

  18. Pamela Osburn Says:

    You were so funny but I guess we will never know
    what you felt inside. We’ll miss you.

  19. Samson Natal Says:

    You were one of the greats R.J I remember listening to you on The Bob & Tom show,I’m at a loss for words….miss ya buddy.

  20. Miriam Says:

    so sad and violent. he was funny, true, and right about so many things in this life.
    sorry he saw no other way to live but to die.

  21. William Thomas Linville Says:

    I’ve suffered for depression for 100% of my life , my life was almost ended twice and i am in the same boat as you RJ , I laugh and make jokes about everything just to hide the pain . Where’s Oprah when ya need her . LOL . But the only thing that would make me even concider that again and thats if someone killed my wonderful daughter . Now all i wish for is taking care of her . And in this economy , its not even close to easy . As the Poet Roger Waters said ” Then 1 day you wake to find that 10 years have got behind you , No 1 told you when to run , you missed the starting Gun. ” That has NEVER been more true than me.
    Rest in pease R.J.

  22. William Thomas Linville Says:

    And then the one day you find. Ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun .Some of the greatest words ever written but i muffed em’ up !

  23. peggy Says:

    how can someone who was loved by and brought up out of depression with his comedy not know how valuable he was to so many

  24. Tommy Daly Says:

    I was blessed to say I met Richard on a number of occasions when he played the Improv here in SoCal. I ran a very nice restaurant/bar in the same mall and he’d always eat our fare. I even hand-delivered him take-out when he didn’t have time to stay. I met many celebs in my years as a model and a restaurateur and he was easily the least affected one I ever knew. I once asked him to autograph a take-out menu and asked him to personalize it, I said “please write this: To my friend Tommy, you aren’t even remotely funny, Love, Rich”..First time I ever got a belly laugh from a famous comedian. I’ve always read people very well, I never saw a hint of depression within him, his death really busted me up. Hope God has a special place for him to make others laugh. To this day, Platypus Man is one of the top 5 standups ever recorded, own it.

  25. Tommy Daly Says:

    To those of you posting about how rich and famous he was and he should have been happier than you, you don’t understand clinical depression, your staus in life has less than nothing to do with it.

  26. william lee Says:

    u will be missed a lot


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