Posts Tagged ‘Comedy Central’

RIP Patrice O’Neal of Tough Crowd; the best comedy shows no longer on TV

December 1, 2011

Another comic has died. Patrice O’Neal, 41, died after complications from a stroke. He had diabetes, high blood pressure, and was obese. O’Neal was a regular guest on Colin Quinn’s “Tough Crowd” years ago. He was a good comedian – spontaneous, genuine, fun loving, and funny. A while back Greg Giraldo also died. He was a great comedian – probably one of the best in the country and also a regular on Tough Crowd. I saw Giraldo do standup in ’05 but he was drunk or on something then.

Tough Crowd was a great show. There were so many excellent shows that are no longer on, many of them on Comedy Central. They seem to last a few years and then they’re gone — they’re almost too good – not dumbed down enough for the American public. With that said, here are some of the best comedy shows that are no longer on the air.

  1. Buzzkill: Classic hidden camera show on MTV that preceded Jackass. Travis Draft and crew pulled pranks on unsuspecting public. Classic bits included pretending to transport a kidney in a cooler and dropping it (if I remember right) while stopping at 7-11 for a snack.
  2. Trigger Happy TV – out of England, this show starred Dom Joly doing bizarre stunts and interviews, getting incredible reactions from bystanders. Watch the clips on Youtube.
  3. The Man Show – Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel will never do anything remotely as funny. With the Juggies and bits such as trying to end women’s suffrage and, the self-deprecating duo was pure gold.
  4. Tough Crowd – Colin Quinn’s roundtable show was just a bunch of comedians talking about current events, but it worked. They had a great rapport, and constantly ripped on each other. Regulars included Jim Norton, Patrice O’Neal, Greg Giraldo, Rich Vos, Nick DiPaolo, and Keith Robinson.
  5. Late Show with Craig Kilborn – better than any of the current talk shows, Kilborn had a unique sense of humor. He quit years ago and other than a cameo in “Old School,” hasn’t been seen since.
  6. Crank Yankers – Brilliant crank call show featuring puppets, with voices from Sarah Silverman, Jim Florentine, Adam Carrolla and many others, it’s hard to believe they got away with some of the stuff they did.
  7. Too Late with Adam Carolla – a late night show, this show lasted just one season but was excellent.
  8. Dog Bites Man – an obscure, short lived show about a fake news team, they once lectured a college journalism class, giving outlandish advice. The class thought the show was real. Who knew Zach Galifianakis would be the one to make it big.
  9. Tom Green Show – Canadian rose to stardom with brazen skits and interviews. Green has since made several movies that have all bombed.
  10. Crossballs – This show was a fake news/debate show. The great part about it was that the guests thought it was real.
  11. Jaime Kennedy Experiment – Another hidden camera prank show. Kennedy once posed as a lifeguard and waved everyone out of a pool, then proceeded to act like he was urinating, making some swimmers laugh and leaving others horrified.
  12. Reno 911 – Fake reality bumbling cops show was a takeoff on the show “Cops.”
  13. Jackass – combination of stunts and pranks led to three movies and multiple spinoffs.
  14. Sarah Silverman Show – the show was a little too strange, but it featured the multi-talented Sarah Silverman.

Comedian Greg Giraldo dead at 44, reportedly from accidental overdose

September 30, 2010

It was pretty shocking and weird to be watching the Daily Show last night and hear Jon Stewart mention the death of comedian Greg Giraldo at the end of the show.  Giraldo died yesterday, four days after an accidental drug overdose, possibly from prescription medication.

Giraldo was a great comedian, and in my opinion, may have been the best in the world.  I’m not just saying that because he’s dead.

I’m a good judge of comics.  In the early 80s I thought the best comedians who regularly went on the David Letterman show were Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Jay Leno, and Dennis Miller.  All of them made it big, though Miller became a political commentator — very boring, Leno became vanilla, and Seinfeld had one of the greatest shows ever, though I like Curb Your Enthusiasm better now.  Lewis had the least commercial fame, but continued to be one of the best comics in the business.  A little like Giraldo.

I first saw Giraldo about ten years ago on Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd,” a show in which comedians would sit around a table and talk about issues of the day.  The show was hosted by Colin Quinn.  Of course, it was one of the best shows ever so they had to take it off the air.

I saw Giraldo perform at the Improv in Washington, D.C. five years ago.  It was overall a decent performance, but disappointing because expectations were so high.  He was clearly drunk or high during the set.  It always struck me as odd because he didn’t seem like the type of comedian who would need to do that.

In the last several years Giraldo came to prominence because of his spectacular performances on Comedy Central roasts.  His delivery, material, and ability to trash people in a good natured way was legendary.  A running joke was that comedians like Larry the Cable Guy were millionaires while truly great ones like Giraldo were relatively unknown and probably not making a lot of money.

It’s not good to be so much smarter than most people like Giraldo was.  I just read tonight that he was a graduate of Harvard Law. His honesty was like that of another great, late comic, Robert Schimmel, who also died recently although Schimmel had cancer.