Re: Richard Jeni Dies; Apparent Suicide
- From: "Edgar Allenpoe" <bradfordw@xxxxxxx>
- Date: 14 Mar 2007 09:05:06 -0700
On Mar 13, 11:35 pm, kath...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
A statement from the family of Richard Jeni
Often times, when we are faced with a sudden and tragic loss, there is
a natural curiosity - a need to know what exactly happened.
The family of Richard Jeni would like to put to rest any assumptions
as to the cause of Richard's death. Despite the fact that the
coroner's office has publicly stated that a suicide ruling will take
two weeks, pending the results of an autopsy, Richard Jeni did take
his own life.
Rumors have been circulating as to the cause of his death and have
included speculation of Richard being depressed over the state of his
career or a physical ailment. His career was not even addressed by his
specialists when they were trying to diagnose Richard's illness. In
fact, he had just enjoyed one of his most financially rewarding years
to date. He was consistently creating new material for his busy
touring schedule, and during the last week of his life, he had
meetings scheduled with Chris Albrecht, Chairman and CEO of HBO, to
discuss future projects following his last HBO special. In actuality,
the past few years had been more prolific than ever. As his agents can
attest, prior to his illness, Richard only missed one engagement in
over twenty years, and that was due to weather.
The truth is: earlier this year Richard Jeni was diagnosed with severe
clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia. One only
needs to have a family member or friend with a mental illness to
understand that there is nothing rational, predictable, or fair about
these diseases. Mental illness is as serious as any physical
affliction and can be just as devastating.
He was not down or blue, he was ill. If you knew Richard, you could
understand, this was as much a shock to those close to him, as it is
to his fans and colleagues. Perhaps Richard's passing will encourage
people to have sympathy, compassion and understanding for those who
are afflicted with mental illness. As we are all trying to make sense
of this, take time to remember the joy and laughter Richard brought to
the countless people he touched during his much too short life.
And yet, according to an article in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune, Jeni
called a Chicago comedy club a week ago to cancel an appearance for
this past weekend adding to speculation that this wasn't a spontaneous
Jeni canceled Chicago dates before death
By Terry Armour
March 13, 2007
Comedian Richard Jeni was to appear at the Improv in Schaumburg over
the weekend. But a week before his scheduled appearances, Jeni
contacted the club to cancel the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Jeni died on Saturday in West Hollywood of a gunshot wound to the
head. As of Monday evening, police had yet to confirm the shooting was
Friends have said that Jeni, 49, battled depression. The Improv's Tony
Baldino said that while Jeni didn't give a specific reason for
canceling his Schaumburg shows, he did hint at personal problems when
he phoned Improv co-owner Robert Hartmann.
"He called us and just said he wasn't going to make it," Baldino said.
"At the time, he did not want to leave his house and make the trip. We
knew it was a problem at that point. For the past few months he hasn't
been feeling good, as far as his career was concerned. In the '90s, he
was a hot commodity."
Jeni first gained national attention with his 1990 Showtime special
"Richard Jeni: Boy From New York City."
He recently appeared in the film "The Aristocrats" and had a guest
appearance on "Everybody Hates Chris," which is written and narrated
by his good friend Chris Rock. Jeni also wrote material for Rock when
Rock hosted the 2005 Academy Awards.
"Whenever we booked him, we knew we were going to get a solid show,"
Baldino said. "Whenever we lose somebody like this, it makes us stop