I just got the sad news that Patrice Oneal left us last night. He’s been on my mind every day since I heard he had a stroke on Oct. 19th. Mortality is always a weird concept to try and grasp. To think that one day you’re suddenly not here anymore is a sobering thought. When it happens to someone old you kind of expect it. When it happens to someone young who you know it shakes you to the core.
Patrice had so many friends in the comedy community and I’m proud to say I was one of them. Patrice was like a comedy philosopher. I respected his intelligence. He had a well thought out philosophy. And I respected his allegiance to his style and his choice of material. He wouldn’t bend to those who asked him to change his style, or to soften things up a little bit. He had to be who he was. I used to love watching him work. He’d take the stage, sit on a stool, and just pontificate.
One year I was honored as part of Black History Month for creating comedy workshops for inner city kids. It was a beautiful event at Hunter College. The workshops were held at Gotham Comedy Club and one of my honored guests was Patrice Oneal. He took the stage and held court for a while as was his style. He was only supposed to do a short set, but he was so kind, and the crowd loved him so much, he just kept on going. He even did a Q & A afterwards and posed for photos will all who asked.
When I did my book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive” I knew I could count on Patrice to give me some killer jokes. I had written jokes for the Friars Roasts for many years and was asked by journalist Tripp Whetsell, to do a book on celebs favorite nasty jokes. I got 250 celebs to tell me nasty, nasty shit! Paul Provenza wrote the foreward to the book, and Patrice had one of the longest entries. I gave him a full two pages, where most comics had one joke. And I kept a bookmark on Patrice’s page so when people came to my house, I showed them Patrice’s jokes as a representation of what to expect.
He began by asking women,” How would you keep your man if you didn’t have a pu**y? Say there was a terrible train accident, and the doctor was like, ” We gotta remove your pu**y right away or you’re gonna die.” How would you keep your man past the three months of like, ” I can’t leave the bitch, cause she just lost her pu**y in a train accident!” It goes on and on and gets funnier as you go. Only Patrice knew how to pull off material like that!
He also described weird sexual techniques that he felt Black men needed to learn from White men,including “The Fishhook”, “The Blumpkin”, “The Omelet”, “The Donkey Punch”, “The Fish Eye”, “The Chicken Cutlet”, “Puff The Magic Dragon”, “The Angry Pirate”, “The Houdini”, and last but not least “The Spider Man.” It’s all in the book.
After I did my first Black Phillip Show with him, which was part of Opie and Anthony’s “Virus” he was so jazzed about how we performed together he left me this really sincere, and meaningful message on my phone at 4 A.M. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be respected comedically by someone like Patrice!
He asked me to be his co-host along with Dante Nero, not only because we were funny together but because he said I was the only white man he ever met who knew all the words to “Bitch Betta Have My Money”, a hip-hop classic from AMG from back in 1992. It happened to be his theme song.
He loved when I brought “hot” girls on the show which I did each time I came on. Dante said I had magical powers and he and Patrice named me a “Level 12 Pimp”, a title I wore proudly, because they meant it with the kind of respect one guy gives another when they brag about how crazy their friend is!
The last time I saw him was on September 27th when he came to The Comic Strip to be one of the judges on The Lottery Show. He had been asked by host Sherrod Small, and when Sherrod told him on stage how much he appreciated it, Patrice said, ” You better appreciate it motherfucker!” I’m so glad I got the chance to catch up with him, and get some video and photos with him as I always did when I saw him.
When I heard what condition his stroke had left him in and that he was only able to blink his eyes but yet still had his consciousness, which meant he was aware of what was happening, I thought to myself, no one deserves that kind of a nightmare. This is only my opinion. I have no way of knowing. But I think that no matter how much Patrice loved his wife Von, and his Mom Gloria, and I know he loved them with all his heart, he wouldn’t let himself live in that kind of condition. Patrice did things HIS way! I could see him willing himself to leave the planet, rather than stay in that kind of helpless state.
In any case, I know he knew he was loved, and I hope he knew how much he’ll be missed! I’m very, very sad right now!
R.I.P. my friend! And thank you for all of your kindnesses!!!
In honor of Patrice, Comedy Central will be re-airing his one hour special tonight, Wed. 11/30, “The Elephant In The Room” with an edited version at 8 P.M. and an unedited version at midnight.
See the previous Comedy Matters post on Patrice for more photos and video – http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Aj