If there’s one thing that most comedy fans lament more than anything, it’s the passing of Patrice O’Neal. The New York comic was beloved both in his hometown and around the country. He was a larger-than-life personality who could expertly demolish a person or idea in a way that, though brutal, was so hilarious and honest that anger always gave way to laughter by the time he was through. He was a brilliant comedic mind, one who had so much more to contribute to the world, which made his passing in November of 2011 all the more difficult to handle.
Since then, O’Neal’s friends and family have made it a point to ensure that the comic’s trademark wit and humor live on. Each year, O’Neal’s fiancé Von Decarlo and some of his comedian friends organize the Patrice O’Neal Comedy Benefit, a night of comedy performances featuring some of the best comics in New York. The point, quite simply, is to help keep O’Neal’s spirit alive.
Each benefit is a touching and hilarious tribute to one of comedy’s most legendary figures, and this year’s event promises to keep that trend going. Taking place on February 21th at the New York City Center, the Patrice O’Neal Comedy Benefit will feature performances by Bill Burr, Robert Kelly, Jim Norton, Keith Robinson, Leslie Jones, Rich Vos, Dan Soder and Gary Gulman. Having all of these heavy-hitters in one room is exciting enough as is; that it’s all being done in the memory of the late, great Patrice O’Neal makes it just that much sweeter.
Tickets for the show can be purchased via the New York City Center’s website; don’t wait to get yours, as they are likely to sell out well in advance of the show!