Thoughts on Richard Jeni (and Mitch Hedberg)

I was in New York City, celebrating with comedians and Comedy Central folk after a successful night of tapings for the second season of Live At Gotham, when the audience coordinator delivered the news to us. "Did you hear Richard Jeni died?" My first reply: "You’ve got to be kidding. That must be one of those Internet rumors going around." Nope. No rumor. Although it took until Sunday morning to find out anything that might confirm the tragic news, and that came via my friends at Shecky Magazine. The official Richard Jeni site first went black, then emerged first with his dates (1957-2007), and later with a note from the family on Monday, and now a note from one of his good friends. It’s good that Jeni’s family and friends have come out quickly with an explanation — well, not a complete one, but how can you for a suicide — so all of his fans don’t spread falsehoods about him. Couldn’t help but immediately think of Mitch Hedberg’s sudden death two years ago this March. These two great comics took different paths to self-destruction. Jeni, a gun; Hedberg, drugs. They both needed much more support and comfort than we gave them. It’s just so sad. I knew Hedberg a lot better than I knew Jeni. I had the good fortune to both perform with and interview Hedberg, so...

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