Otto Petersen, of the famed comedy ventriloquist duo, Otto and George was a great comedian, and a skilled performer. He loved comedy and was as much a comedy historian as performer with incredible respect for the legends who came before him. Otto’s death also hit us on a personal note. Otto had approached us last year, and said that he would like to write for the site. He was the first comedian to write for us, and the two pieces he authored were going to be the beginning of a series of writings. He was a true artist, who loved his work and he is terribly missed by everyone who knew him. Comedian Jim Florentine, who was a friend and neighbor of Petersen’s spoke to us about missing Otto.
To lose Otto Petersen this year, the one thing about Otto is, and with other comics is, you wanted to hear his old bits. Like you loved his new stuff and anything new that he came up with but he was almost like- no comic’s ever like, oh man he’s still doing that bit? That was never the thing with Otto. So Otto had to– was almost forced to do the classics. Cause his act was so good and his stuff was so great, that you had no problem as a comic hearing it whenever you saw him again. But other than that, besides being a great comic and super underrated, he was just an unbelievable guy in general that would help young comics out. There was so many young comics that he would help out. He was just a big comedy fan and if he took a liking to you, he took you under his wing, and got you a lot of gigs and gave you a lot of good advice. There was nobody better to go to advice about comedy than Otto who’s been around a long time and seen everything. And just as a human being, just a great dude. To lose him so young– I think he had way more in him. And we all miss our friend. It’s hard. I lived near him and …I’ve been over a couple of times to visit his wife, and it’s just weird because I think Otto’s going to open the door, ‘hey pal how ya doing?’ To this day, when I drive by there, I think he’s going to be there. That’s how much I miss him.
More on Otto Petersen. Otto wrote about the comedians who changed his life, and the greatest year in film. Read comedian Joe Conte’s farewell to his friend Otto. Otto’s own incredible history was recorded in an incredible hour long interview with Ron Bennington for SiriusXM’s Unmasked, and it is a must-listen. You can read excerpts here. More on Jim Florentine. You can see Jim performing around the country, hear his podcast, Metal Midgets, weekly and watch him on That Metal Show on VH1. Follow him on twitter for more information.