Andy Ritchie, a stand-up comedian and improviser known for his big heart and impressively unique presence both onstage and off, died from complications related to his brain tumor on Thanksgiving. Ritchie was 39.
Born March 27, 1976, in Canada but raised in Minneapolis, where he started performing onstage at Academy of Holy Angels, Ritchie attended NYU’s Intensive film program before returning to the Twin Cities. That’s where he performed with the ComedySportz franchise there in the 1990s, worked on Mitch Hedberg’s 1999 movie Los Enchilados! as a unit production manager and began making his presence felt as a stand-up in his own right. Ritchie made the Montreal New Faces cut at Just For Laughs in 2009, and quickly followed that up with a slot on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham showcase.
Ritchie’s influence later extended to both Austin and Los Angeles. In the former, Ritchie won the Funniest Person in Austin contest in 2011 and met his fiancee, comedian Ruby Collins. In the latter, he made friends like Nick Swardson, Colton Dunn and Brendon Walsh, who four months ago put together the GoFundMe page to raise donations to help Ritchie pay for the costs associated with his tumor. It raised $102,000, with nearly half coming from Daniel Tosh gambling funds his Tosh.0 had earned in an auction, and also spreading the word on his Comedy Central series.
At the GoFundMe page, Walsh wrote: “*NO MORE DONATIONS PLEASE* Andy passed away this afternoon at Hollywood Presbyterian. His mom, Ruby, and his brother Simon were all with him. I don’t know what else to say. He was a great guy. Listen to his album on Spotify or download it or whatever. He’s hilarious. Thanks for everything you all did to help. Have a good Thanksgiving. Love, Brendon”
Many tributes have since poured in on Ritchie’s Facebook page.
Photo of Ritchie, above, taken at SXSW 2010 by Cassie Wright
This bit with his thoughts on the Middle East was recorded in 2010:
This funny sketch he recorded with his close friends and neighbors in Austin in 2012:
Here he jokes about his worst gig, opening for his childhood hero Weird Al, and then offering advice a few years ago for a parody of the It Gets Better project. This was called It Gets Worse:
And this was from Ritchie’s Live at Gotham taped in 2009:
Not that I suggest strangers attending Ritchie’s funeral. But if you do, please bring appropriate monocles for the spectacle.
Public memorials are planned already after New Year’s in both Los Angeles and Minnesota. If you have details about more formal or informal arrangements, or just want to share your memories of Ritchie here, please do.