From the Archives: Unmasked with Patrice O’Neal

Interviews Patrice O’Neal for Unmasked

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“Now, to answer your question, what I’m trying to do is be righteous. And when I say “righteous,” I don’t mean God. You know? God-righteous. I mean just when I wake up, I know I was honest to myself.”

“So, right now the front of the bus people run the business. And I’m a back of the bus dude. Me and – I fuck with everybody. And the people who were at the front of the bus, I go and go “Hey, I got these ideas.” And they go “Yeah, right. Remember when you smacked me in the back of the head? Remember when you was talking about my mother?” And it was all in due fun. Because I attack myself. I just like to laugh, right? So right now in this game I’m trying to find people in the middle of the bus that didn’t want to quite commit to being a fucked-up person and didn’t want to commit to being a cornball.”

When Patrice O’Neal died in 2011, comedy lost a true original. He was underappreciated while he was here, but not by other comedians, and not by his fans. Since his passing, his reputation has grown and now you’ll find Patrice’s name listed among the greats everywhere lists are made.

Back in 2007, sat down with Patrice O’Neal at Comix Comedy Club, and taped the second episode of Unmasked. That hour set the tone for the entire series that followed, and if we were ranking the entire series, this one would undoubtedly be in the top 5, and in contention for the top spot. Patrice was as candid as you would hope he would be- and as brilliant during the hour. Right up front, he talked about the mutual respect he and Ron have for one another, and that respect laid the groundwork for one of the best conversations in comedy. It’s also one of the most quotable episodes of Unmasked.

In the course of the hour, you will hear Patrice talk about being a “back of the bus dude,” and why he’s turned down opportunity after opportunity in his career.  Patrice talked about still being a soldier in comedy, why he wasn’t ready to become a general just yet, and what it means to be “righteous”. He explains what separated Carlin and Pryor from the rest of the pack, and why “golden handcuffs” are more dangerous than anything else. And that’s just scratching the surface-  apologies, lunchboxes, political correctness, using the n-word, Opie and Anthony, wrestling, making mistakes, dreams and diamond hats! It’s an hour full of wisdom, and it’s about as inspirational as you can get while still being real and grounded in truth.

If you have any aspirations to perform comedy, this is must listen, or if you’re just a fan of hearing someone speak their truth, this is a must listen.  And the episode of course, is full of laughs. One of the best hours in radio, the episode was taped on July 12, 2007 at Comix Comedy Club in New York City.  Patrice is gone, Comix Comedy Club, where the hour was taped is gone, but the hour, the wisdom and the comedy are still here. And you’d be crazy not to listen to it.


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