Patrice O'Neal

Patrice O'Neal
Full name
Patrice Malcolm Oneal
Country
USA

Patrice Malcolm Oneal (December 7, 1969 – November 29, 2011), usually credited as Patrice O'Neal, was an American stand-up comedian, radio personality, and actor. Oneal began his comedy career in Boston at an open mic at Estelle's Bar and Grill in October 1992. In the late 1990s, he moved to New York City, where he became a regular at the Comedy Cellar, before relocating to Los Angeles, in the hopes of finding greater fame. "I tap danced like you wouldn't believe... trying to get something," he said in a 2008 interview with Ron Bennington . "I'm telling you, if I'd have had a gun back then, I would have shot myself." His inability to achieve success on other people's terms motivated him to prioritize his own integrity first. "At the end of the day I just want to know that I was true to myself." Later in his career, Patrice would walk away from successful shows like The Office, Arrested Development, Web Junk 20, and a writing position on the WWE. "I'm a professional bridge-burner," Oneal stated in an interview. Unwilling to yield to the demands of American club owners that he change his often confrontational act, Oneal relocated to the United Kingdom to work on his comedy there. He worked harder as an outsider and a foreigner to gain the respect of his peers. "It took about 5 months... for them to go 'Ok, this guy's not playing around,'" he told Bennington. It was also during this time that he caught the eye of British comedian Ricky Gervais, still early in his stand-up career. Gervais frequently mentioned Oneal as a favorite comic. He returned to the New York area in 2002 when he got the offer to do his first half-hour special for Showtime. Later that year he joined the cast of The Colin Quinn Show and then Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. The following year, he recorded a Comedy Central Presents special. Oneal's first television appearance was on The Apollo Comedy Hour where he performed his Malcolm XXL bit. From there, he moved on to appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, FNight Videos, and a brief stint as a writer for the WWE. He appeared in guest-starring roles on MTV’s Apt 2F, Assy McGee, Ed, Z Rock, Yes Dear, Arrested Development, Chappelle's Show and The Office. Oneal was a regular on the Fox series The Jury, and he starred in the Comedy Central animated program Shorties Watching Shorties, along with Nick DiPaolo. He supplied the voice of Harold Jenkins on Noggin’s animated program O'Grady High and was featured as Jesus in Denis Leary’s Searchlight. In 2005, Oneal filmed a half-hour One Night Stand special for HBO, and shortly thereafter became the first host of VH1's Web Junk 20. Oneal left the show after two seasons, expressing concerns that the show's audience was too different from his own. In 2006 and 2007 he joined Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour, playing large outdoor concert arenas across the country. After moving back to New York in 2002, Oneal became a recognized radio personality as a regular guest and occasional co-host on the Opie and Anthony program. Along with Bill Burr and Robert Kelly, he filled in as co-host for comedian Jim Norton while Jim filmed Lucky Louie. From 2006 to 2008, Oneal hosted a call-in relationship advice show on XM Radio, which ended when the satellite network merged with rival Sirius. Initially promoted as Bitch Management, the show was titled The Black Philip Show, a reference to Dr. Phil. Dante Nero co-hosted, and a rotating cast of female comedians played third mic. The show aired until the station suspended much of its Saturday night programming when they were unable to reconcile budget concerns with the new management following the merger. Oneal had also appeared as a guest on other radio shows such as Alex Jones along with numerous political talk shows on the Fox News channel. Living in the New York area, Oneal performed at comedy clubs in the area, including headlining appearances at Comix Comedy Club and Caroline's. He was also popular in Montreal, making five appearances at the Just for Laughs festival, including one of the most memorable in fest history: a one-man, one-week show at Théâtre Ste. Catherine in 2008. Oneal had also been slated to do five sold-out, one-man shows at Les Katacombes at the 2010 Just for Laughs Festival, but he was refused entry into Canada at the U.S. border and the shows were cancelled. In February 2011, Comedy Central aired his first hour-long special, Elephant in the Room. He eventually began a web series and podcast called The Patrice Oneal Show - Coming Soon! showing various episodes as of May 15, 2007. He performed with a five-person group—Bryan Kennedy, Dante Nero, Vondecarlo Brown, Harris Stanton and Wil Sylvince—touching on many fictional scenarios. The show was produced by For Your Imagination and can be found on Oneal's website. He guest-starred in another For Your Imagination-produced show, called Break a Leg, playing Adult-Sized Gary Coleman. Oneal voiced Jeffron James in Grand Theft Auto IV, on an in-game radio show, Fizz!. On September 19, 2011, Oneal was one of the many roasters at the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. This would be his final television appearance before his death two months later. A little more than halfway through the show in a small interview, leading up to the commercial break, Oneal says "this should be my last show ever." Oneal's final recorded interview was with Jay Mohr on his "Mohr Stories" Podcast #17, uploaded October 27, 2011, shortly after news of his stroke. Shortly after O'Neal's death, BSeen Media announced the release of his first album, Mr. P, to be released February 7, 2012. It was recorded at the D.C. Improv. Although announced after his death, the album had been completed before his illness, with the comedian's full involvement. On Nov 6, 2012, Better Than You, a 20 minute "digital single" of previously unreleased material was released on O'Neal's website and via iTunes.