Monday, March 12, 2007

March 12, 2007

So, Richard Jeni took his life over the weekend.

I really liked him, even the overplayed, overexposed old lobster bit. He was both more talented and more successful than I am. Why am I still here?

Comedian Jeni Dies In Apparent Suicide
WEST HOLLYWOOD, California (March 11) - Richard Jeni, a standup comedian who played to sold-out crowds, was a regular on the "Tonight Show" and appeared in movies, died of a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide, police said Sunday.
Jeni regularly toured the country with a standup act and had starred in several HBO comedy specials, most recently "A Big Steaming Pile of Me" during the 2005-06 season. Another HBO special, "Platypus Man," won a Cable ACE award for best standup comedy special, and formed the basis for his UPN sitcom of the same name, which ran for one season.
Jeni's movie credits included "The Mask," in which he played Jim Carrey's best friend, "The Aristocrats," "National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off," and "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn." He had guest appearances in the TV shows "Everybody Hates Chris," "Married: With Children" and updated versions of the game shows "Hollywood Squares" and "Match Game."
The comic first received national attention in 1990 with the Showtime special
"Richard Jeni: Boy From New York City." Two years later, his "Crazy From the Heat" special attracted the highest ratings in Showtime's history. Jeni became a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show" during Johnny Carson's reign and continued to appear after Jay Leno took over as host. He also wrote comic material for the 2005 Academy Awards, which was hosted by his friend Chris Rock.

Not a hell of a lot in there about his family, about friends' or police comments,
motives or where and when it happened. Hmmm. Maybe I should find a better article (I did find out later today that the man was making breakfast with his girlfriend Saturday morning, then went into the bathroom to take a shower, where he put a gun to his head. Does the fact that he picked the shower--an easily-cleanable locale--mean anything?).

In other news, on Friday, literally half of the people in my department at work were laid off.* It was kind of shocking, but even more so, is that I kept my job. Again, I ask, why am I still here?
I'm not sure I should go into that.

In semi-related news, Boston's lead singer Brad Delp (cool last name, really) also died over the weekend. He was only fifty-five. Not to attack Anna Nicole Smith or more of America's sick obsession with people who deserve no mention, I am really surprised that this was not bigger news. Sure, Boston's musical success was a long time ago, but this band was HUGE. Their self-titled first record remains to this day one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, and tracks like "Peace of Mind," "Rock & Roll Band," "Amanda," "Long Time," and "More Than A Feeling**" get airplay every single day on Classic Rock stations across the globe. And if they don't, well, they should.

Regardless, this guy was a real celebrity, who reached more people than the majority of today's bubble-gummers, one-trick-ponies, flavours-of-the-week, cover or sample artists, and "American Idol" rejects put together. Boston was monster huge in 1976, and and Delp WAS Boston. Or am I wrong?


*What's the difference between fired and laid off? Well, laid off is what happens to other people. Fired is what happens to me.
**While typing this, I put on Boston to remind me of how excellent a band they are/were. And I was reminded that one of my first scripts written in college was entitled "More Than A Feeling." That really means nothing, but hey, if it did, I wouldn't have mentioned it in a footnote.

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