RIP Michael Roof, aka “Chicken”

Michael Roof, a comedian known as "Chicken" who co-starred in the two XXX action movies, and had acting roles in both Black Hawk Down and The Dukes of Hazzard movie, died earlier this week. He was only 32. This sad news came to me from two knowledgeable sources overnight, both of whom alleged that Roof had taken his own life. Friends of Roof also began offering their condolences Tuesday afternoon and evening on Michael Roof's MySpace page.

UPDATED: A viewing and funeral are being planned in Roof's hometown of Dunnellon, Fla. The police report from Gwinnett County in Georgia confirmed that Roof did commit suicide Tuesday morning. Services will be held this weekend, with a viewing from 6-8 p.m. Friday, funeral at 10 a.m. Saturday at Roberts Funeral Home, 19939 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Dunnellon, Fla.

Here's what I can tell you with certainty…

Michael "Chicken" Roof had a wife and children. He got his nickname "Chicken" during college and started out his comedy career in Atlanta. After making his mark at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, he got cast in the WB sketch comedy show, Hype. But he got more notice as an actor, getting roles in the real-life war movie, Black Hawk Down, as well as a recurring role as the weapons nerd agent in the two XXX films. In fact, he gets more speaking lines in the trailer for XXX than either star Vin Diesel or Samuel L. Jackson.

In 2006, he got a reality show on cable network Spike, Raising the Roofs, based on his dad and uncle temporarily moving into his Hollywood digs, with the juxtaposition of their redneck Florida roots providing the "comedy" for the program. Here's a clip from that in which Roof's dad and uncle decided to bring their pet pig with them.

But Roof's career had stalled since then. He still was touring comedy clubs, as this Rooftop Comedy clip from Go Bananas in Cincinnati from March 2009 reveals Roof joking he could not take the pain of getting hit by a pitch in baseball:

Which makes you question: Suicide?! Really? But soon after this gig, Roof was publicizing his problems to anyone with Internet access. He wrote this on his MySpace blog April 14, 2009 (his last login to his MySpace page was June 7):

Ok I am sitting here trying to piece together exactly what is going through my mind and what is a thought that i have forced into my mind.  what popped in there on its own and what did I force there?  I think i have a social disorder and several mental disorders that i need o realize that are real and just not a word given to you because of symptoms.  I guess symptons point to one word or another but aren't all people different. hmmmmmmm
practicing medicine is just that, practicing medicine…even with psychiatry.  what combination of pills will ultimately keep us all from jumping. I went on the road in march and have had an experience now on the road.  I truley don't know if I like it. that sucks.  I can do it…..but i don't truley know if I want to do it. what else will i do if i do not do this? shit I dont know.  i am mean, moody and unpredictable right now and I guess that is supposed to be a comedian…..fuck that. I have turned bitter towards it because i am not young and naive like I was when i started.  I know where it leads and I know what comes from the work you put in.  More roadwork, more money, films and television.  sounds cool huh? the movie part is cool….thats about it.  Even that blows the sausage some time.  but ok i dont think i could ever get tired of films.  but(fuck capitalization and form right now. not so easy to get films.  especially when everyone that works for you thinks you are unpredictable and will dissapear for years at a time. (I do though) there has got to be something else interesting on this earth for me to do….something…shit.    I have to find it.  anyone have any career ideas or options for me.  I am taking advice from all as long as they are serious about it. oh well, know one will read this anyway.  I am a flake 

Any premature death is a sad one, and also often preventable. Please, if you feel like you're in trouble, reach out for help. People and resources are out there waiting to help you.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

32 thoughts on “RIP Michael Roof, aka “Chicken”

  1. Michael had been working every now and again in recent months at my club, The Punchline, in Atlanta. He was just as dynamic on stage as ever and we are all terribly saddened by his death.
    I guess it is a good reminder for all of us that we are only sometimes seeing a snippet of a person’s life as we see them at the club or pass by on the road. If you suspect someone is in trouble, maybe it’s worth a moment to ask if they really are. I wish I had.

  2. RIP Michael. He asked about places to get stage time in Atl a few months ago. we went to a few and then i didnt see him at any local places anymore. i had never met him before. man i wish i had just sent an email or two following up and inviting him out more often. i was just thinking about it earlier this week, wondering how he was doing. gosh.

  3. Michael left behind 2 children, not three, very minor detail. His wife and children need your prayers right now- they are devastated. Let’s definitely remember Michael for the terrific actor and comedian the was. I hope that will be his legacy to his kids, that and the fact that he was a wonderful dad. Michael, you will be missed.

  4. This is really really sad. I knew chicken. I worked with him back in 1998 at the stardome. He was a good, fun-loving guy and we had a blast hanging out that week. My condolences to his family. R.I.P. Chicken.

  5. We will miss you, Chicken. You are the #1 Wonder Woman! I will think about you now and again my friend. It was a pleasure knowing you.

    1. We had the whirlwind pleasure of meeting and enjoying Chicken in Dunnellon on the Rainbow River. He was staying next door. He spent the weekend as a deputy, keeping boats below idle speed, lol. He had on cowboy boots, pink baggies, a kid’s cowboy hat and a belt with cap guns on it. I don’t remember laughing that hard before or since. We had no idea who he was except a spark-plug that kept the party going. RIP

  6. I last saw Chicken when he “popped in at the Funny bone in Baton Rouge unannounced and ended up being the mc that night. RIP Michael.

  7. Actually, he has 3 children. 2 with his wife and one from a previous relationship.

  8. Honestly…let his family grieve!!!! I am his neice and i dont want to go on the internet and find this bull…it is nobodys business!! let him rest in peace

  9. I am from Dunnellon, Fla. and went to high school with Roof, we played football together. All i can say is the guy was unreal, we use to have to run extra because he was always doing something so funny coach would get mad because we were laughing. This is some of the worst news i have heard, we will miss you and we will always love you Roof. R.I.P

  10. I worked at the local pizza place that Michael used to frequent. Over the course of three years, he went from being just a customer, and became a good friend. I onlywish I knew the demons he was battling, I would have helped him any way I knew how. I expect that he would have done the same for me if the situation was reversed. I cannot imagine the pain his family is going through.
    RIP Michael Roof

  11. As a 20 year veteran of this business Chicken impressed me with one of the top five sets that I’ve ever seen in my entire career. At times he was unfollowable. Period. He treated me the same way as an amateur as he did as a star. My heart is broken today. I know he’s only been in heaven a short time but I’m sure he’s making some heavenly headliner really nervous.
    Watch the light Chicken. Fifteen tight. Stay out of the crowd. Keep’em wanting more.

  12. I was driving home last night around 2am from Alabama to Gwinnett, and my brother text message me and asked me what happened to Mike….when I first got the text (that late) I thought something was wrong with my family, however growing up in Japan anyone that was there, was family so I was right. That was a long hour home, thinking about how Mike would put a smile on my face just by being him. I am very sad and my prayers go out to his family and close friends! I’m in total shock especially now knowing that he literally was down the street from me 🙂

  13. Chicken played my room in March for 3 weeks to try and get his groove back on the stage. He was just a funny as in the old days. We talkied about his family and how much he loved his kids. The whole staff and myself had so much fun with Michael. I was just totally shocked when I found out he was gone. I had called him to try and set up a date in the fall a couple of weeks ago but nothing worked on the books so we just decided to wait for early 2010. He seemd just fine on the phone. Rest in peace Michael , we will miss you here in Baton Rouge, Mike Rogers, Baton Rouge Funny Bone.

  14. we were on the drama team together in japan and he helped me get disqualified only because i was too chicken go up infront of everyone and perform so he pretended to be me (a girl) …I will always love him for that

  15. i had the pleasure to open for chicken a few times in K.C., which was always the spot you wanted when he was on the venue. nobody ever wanted to go on stage after him, itd be like a raindrop following after a typhoon just hit. off stage he was a really good guy and a lot of fun to be around . i will miss him, my heart goes out to his family.

  16. Micheal, This is Heather Schrecengost! I grew up with you ! Havn’t sen you since Lubbock Tx probably 12 years or so but am saddened by your death! I will always remember and cherish my thoughts of you!!!!!! You are and will be greatly missed! Miss you!!!!!

  17. i always wondered if other high schools had the funniest kid in the school(not class). and what the chances were for those of them who take advantage of thier money’s on mike roof.high school must be tough for kids without a mike roof in thier school. we’re on our way mike. R.i.p. till then.thanks for the insperation.

  18. I’m so sad! I can’t believe I was just talking with my friends about my all-time favorite comic – I wanted to see what became of him. I saw him in Columbia, Missouri, both years he came to town in 1997 and 1998…his incredibly demanding physical stunts where he ended up in the bar stool, to him transforming himself into every racial character…so we all could laugh at our own stereotypes…to the simple improv remarks he’d make about the fake brick wall behind him made him feel like the Kool-Aid Man…he was nothing short of exciting brilliance. I’m sad my friends will never get to see his genius…unless someone made recordings of him? Someone should have a fundraiser in his name to help raise awareness of the silent pain many suffer. He will be missed even by those who only knew him from the audience.

  19. I am a big fan and wish to do a tribute by doing a drawing on a jacket and i need to know when he was born

  20. I knew and hung out with Michael back when he first moved to Atlanta in the mid to late 90’s. He lived in an apartment off of Peachtree Street that was provided to him by Uptown Comedy Corner. I always thought that he was a selfish asshole who thought of no one but himself and now I know it to be true. He killed himself without thinking of the people that depended on him. What an asshole, rot in hell biatch. Because that is where you go if you commit suicide you selfish, egotistical bastard.

  21. I met Chicken the first day of Pre-Season Camp at UWA in 1995. I didn’t really like him much at first but even still, I knew he was special. One night at a UWA volley ball game the opposing team’s coach refused to let her team go back on the court because Mike was crying from the stands rather loudly, accusing one of the players of breaking his heart and refusing to return his calls. It was crazy funny. The campus police had to beg him to stop. Not sure if it was his first performance but he brought the house down at the talent show later that year. Mike came back to B-Ham some time in 2000 or 01 and took all of us old UWA buddies out after the show, he told us then about the Black Hawk Down part.
    I was talking about Mike to some old teamates just this week that didn’t know that Mike had made it big. I googled him to prove and at that time I saw the news of his death. I’m sad and I’m sure all of the UWA family are too. I wished I would have tivo’d him that day he humpped the fox 6 report. :):)

  22. I knew chicken from College (UWA). He was always cracking us up. He made Football practice bearable on those hot and miserable summer days. Michael will be greatly missed.

  23. i went to dunnellon high,i was in the 9th and mike was in the 12th. i thought he was the funniest thing. he used to play jim carey’s character fire marshal bill. he was so hilarious. when i seen him in that xxx movie i was so proud to say that i knew and went to school with him. i had thought about him earlier today and googled him and found out that he had died.i was like wow. and im just twenty miles away from dunnellon and didnt know that.My sympathies go out to his family. you had an awsome person in your life.Also for the person j-dog that talked bad about mike, you dont know what he was going through to even judge what he did. you’re not god and mike doesn’t have to answer to egotistical asswhole of a person. And may you rot in ya mike

  24. I lived 2 doors down from Chicken in Livingston. He was the best. He would perform for us in our living room before he performed in Tuscaloosa. He was the funniest person I have ever known. I had the pleasure of connecting with him again on Myspace. I also was able to see him perform again this past April in Baton Rouge. He was just as funny then as he was 13 years ago. The whole audience kept talking about how funny he was and I was like yea and he is one of my friends. I even got to hang out with him afterwards and tell him how proud of him I was and he never lost his touch. He will truely be missed.

  25. Oh man! How awful! Chicken lived next door to me in an apartment on Franklin Street in LA. We were buddies. We partied alot, had great times. When he moved to Reseda, he even came and got me when I was too trashed to drive and lost my car on the 101. He was great for a laugh, even in my darkest hours. I wish I couldve been there for him in his darkest hours. And to think i lived nearby the whole time, here in Roswell, GA. My heart goes out to his wife, kids, and his dad and family. He was a rare jewel, a real crack up, and a stand up guy. Rest in Peace, Michael. I have thought of you often and now when I do, I will know that heaven is that much more amusing when I get there. XXX

  26. I worked for a company and had spoken with Michael on a customer service call. He was a goof from second one which i loved! We joked back and forth for a few while taking care of his account /service. That call is something that has stuck with me for years. I was having “that day” and he made me laugh. Something I will never forget. Prayers and piece being with his family.

  27. Thats sad, i saw him live and he gave us the finger cause we were cracking up so bad that made him laugh almost peed my pants. Sad news always wondered how come never saw him anywhere.

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