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Published: Mar 12, 2007
Richard Jeni, Stand-Up Comedian, Commits Suicide At 49
by Jim Brogan


Correction: Richard Jeni, one of Comedy Central's Top 100 stand-up comics of all time, is dead.  Richard Jeni, 49,  was found dead from what is being reported as a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, March 10, 2007.  

Jeni was in his West Hollywood, CA apartment. He had reportedly been scheduled to perform at the Chicago Improv last night, but cancelled several weeks ago.

The Post Chronicle was one of the first to report on the story.

The LAPD received a radio call at just before 10:00am Saturday morning from a female caller regarding an attempted suicide.

According to the AP, police found Jeni alive but severely injured after responding to the call from Jeni's girlfriend. She reported the comic had shot himself, Los Angeles Police Officer Norma Eisenman said.

He died after being rushed to a nearby hospital.

Eisenman said she was unable to confirm that Jeni had killed himself and said the investigation was ongoing. She said the female caller told police: "My boyfriend shot himself in the face."

ET cites investigator Betsy Magdaleno of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office with saying that Jeni was later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Saturday at 10:36 a.m.

Jamie Masada told ET that Jeni's girlfriend was making him breakfast Saturday morning when he apparently went in the shower and shot himself.

Autopsy results are expected Monday.

Bio

Richard Jeni was an American stand-up comedian.  He was raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.

Jeni first received recognition through a series of Showtime stand-up specials and frequent appearances on The Tonight Show.

HBO brass noticed Jeni's talent, and he was soon picked up for his first appearance on the coveted HBO Comedy Hour in 1992, entitled Richard Jeni: Platypus Man. The show received critical acclaim, and Jeni would return for two more shows.

Throughout the 90's, the awards and accolades continued to grow and Richard's growing cult following was making him a sold-out attraction in concert venues.  A particular thrill was when George Carlin handed Richard the American Comedy Award for "Best Male Stand-up" on ABC TV.

Jeni hosted A&E's "Caroline's Comedy Hour" for two years and the show won the Cable ACE Award for "Best Stand-Up Comedy Show". He hosted the infotainment series "What A World" for The Learning Channel, and was nominated for "Best Magazine Host". He became a popular guest on all the major talk shows.  He also was a repeat guest on "Entertainment Tonight" as a sardonic and hilarious correspondent.

Jeni would also star on the short-lived UPN sitcom Platypus Man and appear in the Jim Carrey film The Mask.  He also has starred in various TV commercials for Arby's, Certs and won a CLIO Award for his contributions as a writer/performer in a campaign for the Milk Association.

In 1998, a Coca-Cola executive in Atlanta heard some of Richard's routines on the radio and was inspired to create "Concession Stand-Up Comedy Starring Richard Jeni", a series of short stand-up pieces that ran during the trailers on over 10,000 movie screens in 1998, and were seen by over 48 million people.

Jeni's website biography claimed that he has appeared more on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno than any other stand-up comedian, dating back to when the Tonight Show was hosted by Johnny Carson.

In 2004, Jeni was named number 57 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time.  Jeni was a graduate of Hunter College, where he majored in political science.

Farewell

Our condolences go out to Richard's friends and family. Leave a message of condolence wishes on Richard's MySpace Page.

YouTube has some of Jeni's work see below.

A family spokesperson released the following statement: "Our hearts are broken. Richard brought us all a lifetime of laughter. We hope his fans remember that and nothing else. We ask the media to please allow the family to grieve in private during this difficult time. Thank you for your support and love."

Richard Jeni: 1962 - 2007, RIP Platypus Man.

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