Kevin Barnett was as friendly as he was funny. And he was so much of both, so much so his comedy cohorts probably named themselves Friends of the People because of him.
This tall kid from South Florida, who graduated from Florida State in 2009, and two years later, already was a New Face at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival, always had a smile on his face and a joyous mood to share with those around him. Even when he was bombing, he was laughing about it. And when he wasn’t bombing, he was joking about bombing.
And yet Barnett experienced so many successes in just his first decade out of school, graduating from CollegeHumor videos to MTV shows such as Guy Code and Money From Strangers, to writing for The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim, to co-starring and co-writing sketch comedy series Friends of the People on truTV with his comedy odd-couple buddy Josh Rabinowitz, Jermaine Fowler, the Lucas Brothers, Jen Bartels and Lil Rel Howery.
With Rabinowitz, he sold a comedy to NBC in 2015. They tried again in 2018 with Comedy Central, earning a pilot for Kevin vs. Josh. They also co-wrote for The Carmichael Show on NBC, and with Lil Rel, they co-created Rel, which premiered this past fall on FOX.
And suddenly he’s gone. Barnett was found dead early today in Mexico, where he’d gone on vacation. He was only 32. Rest in peace, my friend, our friend, Kevin.