AN UPDATE March 13: Apparently a few months ago Richard was diagnosed with severe clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia. It seems this got the best of him.
I got to open for Richard Jeni early in my career, when I was still on the comedy club circuit. He was as genuine offstage as he was funny onstage. This is a guy who was already embracing the big time, he was shooting “Mask” with Jim Carrey at the time we met and he gave me his home phone number.
“If you ever want advice or just want to gripe about the showbiz, call me.” … so I did. He always took a few moments whenever I contacted him. We corresponded via email for a little over a year. I would still hear from him occasionally; “How’s it going? How’s your family? What’s it like raising teenagers? Come on … the big time is still waiting for you!”
He loved his audience, he loved his job, but apparently he was deeply troubled. Saturday night he shot himself in the face, and died later at the hospital. He was brilliant. He made people happy. This was a waste.
I have this belief that suicide kills the soul as well as the body. That makes this SO much more tragic.
Sorry for the ramble, I’m just stunned. I’d like to say that I can’t imagine someone being in so much mental anguish that they would choose oblivion over life.
But I can’t honestly say that. It’s the main reason I don’t own a gun myself.
God Bless Richard’s friends and family. He meant a lot to me.