Comedian, writer Robert Schimmel will be missed
Life is so ironic. And death is too apparently.
Comedian Robert Schimmel, 60, died on Saturday, Sept. 4, after a week-long battle for his life after surviving a car accident in Arizona.
According to reports, on Aug. 26, Schimmel and his 11-year-old son were passengers in a car driven by Schimmel's daughter Aliyah, 19, who swerved to avoid another car accident causing the car she was driving to flip over several times.
Aliyah is reportedly in stable condition as is Schimmel's son. The elder Schimmel, however, the great, raw, self-depricating and usually racy stand-up comic with a brilliant mind, passed away Saturday after a week clinging to life.
A life he's successfully had to cling to many times over the past decade.
Schimmel's death, according to reports, was caused by the accident as well as his dire need for a liver transplant. Schimmel revealed, earlier this year, that he was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver (due to an air force blood transfusion tainted with hepatitis C).
Schimmel's ailing liver prevented him from properly healing from the car crash.
The tainted blood that would lead to the end for Schimmel came before a series of horrific events that would follow in the comedian's life. In 2000, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The diagnosis came after Schimmel lost another son to cancer (at the age of 11) and survived a heart attack.
Schimmel's will to fight for his life, along with his humor, was perhaps one of the most powerful and striking aspects of his life.
He is being remembered throughout the Internet and sites such as NPR have moving dedications to him. Right now, NPR's "Fresh Air" site has an interview with Schimmel from 2008.
In Twitter land, fellow comedians have chimed in, with Dane Cook tweeting: "Robert Schimmel was one of the first people in comedy to call when my folks were fighting cancer. No ego no bs no small talk just inspiration."
Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller, who appear in Atlantic City in November, tweeted: "I'm so sad about Robert Schimmel dying. I've been checking the news for 3 hours hoping it wasn't true. He was very funny and wonderful."
In November 2007, Schimmel graced the cover of Atlantic City Weekly. He was interviewed in advance of a gig at Trump Marina that was taking place right around Thanksgiving that year.
When asked what he was thankful for, he replied: "I'm really thankful for every day. I've got the biggest gift you could get ... and I get to talk about what I went through and make people laugh about it."
Schimmel, who performed several times in Atlantic City over the course of his lengthy career, will be missed in the resort and around the world. Over the past 10 years, he became a symbol of hope for many people and a mighty fighter.
He fought for his life until the very end.
Hopefully, Atlantic City can put together a comedy tribute to the late comedian who stood on so many of the city's stages. Some of the folks who he had worked with in the past — from Jimmy Walker to Conan O'Brien — could pay tribute, along with other comedians whom he inspired.
And there are a lot of them out there.
To read the November 2007 cover story interview with Robert Schimmel, click here.
To hear audio excerpts from this 2007 interview, click here.
Leave your memories and thoughts about Robert Schimmel in the comments portion below.
Two years and 70 pounds ago, Carlos Mencia would have gone on stage after the Colorado theater massacre and attacked his audience with blunt force comedy about an unthinkable tragedy that left a dozen dead and 58 people wounded.
When answering the question, "What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?" most of us could fill a few minutes talking about our families, our homes and being able to put food on the table. But when...
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
Rush to the Taj