On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, Patrice O'Neal died at age 41 of complications from a stroke suffered in October. Here is a fond memory of the hilarious comic and thinker - our 2010 interview with O'Neal in advance of his show at the Trump Taj Mahal.
UPDATE 11/29/2011: On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, Patrice O'Neal died at age 41 of complications from a stroke suffered in October. Here is a fond memory of the hilarious comic and thinker - our 2010 interview with O'Neal in advance of his show at the Trump Taj Mahal.
Patrice O’Neal may not be a household name when it comes to stand-up comics, but his list of credentials speaks for itself. O’Neal has appeared on TV, radio shows and the Web for several years now and he’s one hell of a funny guy. Although he is probably most widely known as the former host of VH1’s Web Junk 20 and from his guest spots on Opie and Anthony, he has sometimes made surprising career choices. O’Neal briefly wrote scenarios for the WWE in 2000 and was once even a frequent guest on various Fox News shows, until he explained some of the raunchier parts of his act live on air. O’Neal, who comes to the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City with Robert Kelly, as part of the Trump Comedy Series, spoke briefly to Atlantic City Weekly about his style of comedy, some of the opportunities he’s had and politics.
I’ve heard that you encourage heckling and audience interaction at your shows.
Heckling? No, no comic encourages heckling. I mean I might encourage interaction if people feel that way, but heckling is nightmarish. Interaction is always good, though. I tend to want dialogue instead of monologue ... it’s more like I’m talking with the audience as opposed to talking at the audience. Hecklers are doing something that’s contrary to the show, they’re not doing something that’s with the show, they’re doing something that’s against the show. So, maybe it could be confused with heckling, but if somebody has something to add that’s along the lines of what I’m talking about, that’s dialogue and I’m always open to that. But I’m never open to heckling. No comic’s open to heckling!
Could you talk about the short amount of time you spent writing for the WWE?
It was actually a dream situation, but I think if I had kept doing it, it wouldn’t have been a dream. When I stopped doing it, it was perfect. It was just to be able to say I did it and it was like, ‘Wow, I actually got the job!’ You know, you had to audition to get it so I actually wrote a scenario where they wanted me to write a finish to an existing beef and conclude it in a Pay-per-View match. I think I was doing the Undertaker and Triple H and I had to escalate it for three weeks and then end it with a Pay-per-View. At the time I was really into wrestling so that was easy to do and my writing sample got the job. It was fun; I flew around on a WWE jet, [got to] roll with some of the big-time wrestlers ... and directed a couple of vignettes. [WWE chairman and CEO] Vince McMahon was one of the few people I’ve ever seen that I was in complete awe of his presence, you know? He was the man, he was the boss. I learned a lot of things in like three days looking at Vince McMahon and how he operates; it was a hell of a thing. So when that ended it was almost like it should’ve ended cause it was a good experience and I didn’t have to see anything I shouldn’t see and didn’t have to deal with anything I shouldn’t have dealt with. It was just short and sweet.
What was it like being featured as a guest on Fox News?
I haven’t been on there in awhile, but that’s another thing that’s short and sweet. I’m in the world I’m in — comedy. I’m deep in that. So there’s a lot of things you learn over an 18-year span and I’m kind of glad I didn’t get that deep into the news thing. I definitely wouldn’t want to make that my living. It’s kind of a manipulative business ... it’s not an honest business and you can’t do that business without getting dirty. You know, it’s a dirty business to decide what people should and shouldn’t know and should care about and getting people fired and galvanized against one group. It’s just a bunch of shitty confusion. It’s always fun to be thought of in certain circles where it kind of legitimizes your existence, so to speak, but after awhile you don’t want to continue to do that just for exposure. Who needs it?
So by the same token, did you watch the Healthcare summit?
Nah, not interested. I’m a big believer in globalization, the New World Order, the Bilderberg Group, Illuminati, whatever you want to call it. I think it’s all horseshit. It’s all a huge plan to get the small people believing that there’s something going on, but if this was about doing good for people, the government would just do what’s best for the people. It seems like there shouldn’t be any red tape to do what’s best for the people, which tends to have me believe that no one’s trying to do the best for the people. So this health summit, I think, is just more horseshit to distract. It’s just distracting from whatever is the real agenda by all these guys who are in cahoots.
Seen any good viral videos recently?
The epic beard man was certainly a very fun watch, where the 67-year-old guy put the mash on that dude. That was a hell of a thing to see. And maybe the gypsy lady getting smacked by the cop, that was interesting too.
See a Patrice O’Neal stand-up clip (Warning: Adult Language and Content):
“I was honored that he chose to direct Long Story Short. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think [Seinfeld] was going to be as involved as he was. I thought he would do some things, but he exceeded my expectations."
Three friends born and raised in Atlantic City have teamed up to present an event called the Comedy 4 Peace Laugh Out Loud Jam — a show not just designed to lift local spirits in tough times for an affordable cost, but to help revive the same sense of camaraderie in a community that their longstanding friendship may best reflect.