Richard Jeni bigraphy, stories - American comedian

Richard Jeni : biography

April 14, 1960 - March 10, 2007

Richard John Colangelo (April 14, 1957 and Social Security Death Index. – March 10, 2007), better known by the stage name of Richard Jeni, was an American stand-up comedian and actor.

Showtime specials

  • Richard Jeni: Boy from New York City (1990)
  • Richard Jeni: Crazy from The Heat (1992)


  • Bird (1988) as Morello
  • The Mask (1994) as Charlie Schumaker
  • Dad's Week Off (1997) as Bernie
  • An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998) as Jerry Glover
  • Chasing Robert (2007) as Rich the Bookie

HBO specials

  • Richard Jeni: Platypus Man (1992)
  • Richard Jeni: A Good Catholic Boy (1997)
  • Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile of Me (2005)

Early life

Richard Jeni was raised in an Italian-American Roman Catholic family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He graduated with honors from Hunter College, earning a bachelor's degree in comparative politics.


On March 10, 2007, Jeni was found by his girlfriend, Amy Murphy (a weather anchor and reporter for KTTV in Los Angeles." Retrieved on November 2, 2012.) with a .38 caliber Colt Detective Special between his feet and an apparent self-inflicted handgun wound to the head in the bedroom area of his West Hollywood, California home. Jeni and Murphy had been conversing in bed, discussing breakfast and their plans for the day, when Murphy left to cook breakfast downstairs. After a few minutes she heard the sound of a gunshot, ran upstairs, discovered the body, and called 911.

Police and paramedics arrived and transported Jeni to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he died. He was 49 years old. His family later stated with certainty that the death was a suicide, and that Jeni had recently been diagnosed with "severe clinical depression coupled with fits of psychotic paranoia.""." Associated Press via Washington Post. March 13, 2007. Retrieved on March 13, 2007. According to the coroner's report released in June 2007, Jeni had a history of schizophrenia and had been taking antidepressants and a sleeping aid. The report further indicated that his girlfriend heard him talking to himself about a week earlier, saying "just squeeze the trigger.""." Associated Press via Washington Post. June 29, 2007. Retrieved on August 16, 2009. Jeni's death was marked by many tributes, including specials on XM Satellite Radio, Turner Classic Movie Channel, and Bill Maher's HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. The fifth episode of that show's fifth season was dedicated to Jeni's memory.


Jeni first received recognition through a series of Showtime stand-up specials and frequent appearances on The Tonight Show. Top executives at HBO picked up his first appearance on The HBO Comedy Hour in 1992, titled Richard Jeni: Platypus Man. The show was well received, and Jeni returned for two more shows, going on to receive a CableACE Award for one of his HBO specials. Jeni also starred on the short-lived 1995 UPN sitcom Platypus Man and appeared in the Jim Carrey film The Mask. Jeni composed the theme song ("I'm A Platypus Man") for his TV series. He appeared in The Aristocrats, Dad's Week Off, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, and Chasing Robert. He starred in commercial campaigns for Certs and Arby's, and won a Clio Award for his work as a writer/performer in an advertising campaign for the American Dairy Association.

After making his Tonight Show debut in 1988 with Johnny Carson, Jeni appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno more than any other stand-up comedian. Jeni's death was mentioned on the show by Jay Leno on March 12, 2007, with accompanying footage of Jeni's last appearance on The Tonight Show.

In 2004, Jeni was ranked #57 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

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