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 Comedian Richard Jeni Killed Himself at 49 in California

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Gary Dee
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

LOS ANGELES Richard Jeni, a standup comedian who played to sold-out crowds, was a regular on the "Tonight Show" and appeared in movies, died of a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide, police said Sunday.

Police found the 49-year-old comedian alive but gravely injured in a West Hollywood home when they responded to a call Saturday morning from Jeni's girlfriend, Los Angeles Police Officer Norma Eisenman said.



Eisenman said the caller told police: "My boyfriend shot himself in the face."

Jeni died at a nearby hospital.

Eisenman said suicide had not been officially confirmed and the investigation was continuing. An autopsy on Jeni would be done Monday, said Lt. Fred Corral from the investigation division of the coroner's office.

Jeni regularly toured the country with a standup act and had starred in several HBO comedy specials, most recently "A Big Steaming Pile of Me" during the 2005-06 season.

Another HBO special, "Platypus Man," won a Cable ACE award for best standup comedy special, and formed the basis for his UPN sitcom of the same name, which ran for one season.

Jeni's movie credits included "The Mask," in which he played Jim Carrey's best friend, "The Aristocrats," "National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off," and "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn."

He had guest appearances in the TV shows "Everybody Hates Chris," "Married: With Children," and updated versions of the game shows "Hollywood Squares" and "Match Game."

Frazer Smith, standup comedian who often opened for Jeni and the emcee at the Ice House, where Jeni often performed, said young comedians looked up to him.

"He was probably one of the best standup comedians in the last 50 years," said Smith. "He had tons and tons of material. He was looked up to by all the young comedians, a total pro."

The Brooklyn-born comic first received national attention in 1990 with the Showtime special "Richard Jeni: Boy From New York City." Two years later, his "Crazy From the Heat" special attracted the highest ratings in Showtime's history.

Jeni became a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show" during Johnny Carson's reign and continued to appear after Jay Leno took over as host.

He also wrote comic material for the 2005 Academy Awards, which was hosted by his friend Chris Rock.

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1598143,00.html

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

<br>
Quote:
Police found the 49-year-old comedian alive but gravely injured


Quote:
"He was probably one of the best standup comedians in the last 50 years," said Smith


Never heard of him.

Quote:
He also wrote comic material for the 2005 Academy Awards


No wonder he shot himself. Once you fall that low, what hope is there left?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Tommo Shanter wrote:


Never heard of him.



Now you did Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

wonder if the firearm will end up on the wall of the hardrock cafe
next to kurt cobains

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have no sympathy for anyone who kills themselves. Sorry.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Stargate wrote:
I have no sympathy for anyone who kills themselves. Sorry.


It is written

Quote:
Eisenman said suicide had not been officially confirmed and the investigation was continuing


Maybe he got killed Confused

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I have no sympathy for anyone who kills themselves. Sorry.


I do. Cause suicide can be caused by many factors. Depressions often have the cause in a chemical malfunction of the brain, and the person commiting suicide cannot be blamed for something like this. It is a disease and it should be seen and treated like this.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I imagine anyone who kills themself had to be in a lot of emotional pain and for a long time. They are probably not thinking about the effect their death will have on their friends and family. It is a selfish act in some ways which is the intent I am personally taking from Stargate's comment. Life is too precious to needlessly throw away. I can't understand or judge those who do so until I've lived their experiences. And I hope I never get that chance. Peace.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As someone who has experienced a suicide in the family I can guarentee you it is not as clearcut as just a selfish act. There are an awful lot of emotional factors involved in somebody actually kiling themselves.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Agreed.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Depression has a nasty way of creeping up on you and taking over your life. Couple it with anxiety and it really causes problems. I remember the date well...2nd September 2004. I woke up and didn't want to carry on doing what I was doing. Depression...sleeping 18 hours a day, not eating, or washing, drinking too much, it ain't good.

It cost me my job, almost my sanity (no jokes please!) and nearly my home. Thanks to my family and friends, and this site, my equilibrium is just about restored.

My advice is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it's not just an oncoming train heading in your direction.

I'm too much of a coward for the suicide route, but I do feel sorry for those that choose that option and also the people they leave behind wondering why.

Sorry if this is a downer....here's a smiley to cheer you all up.... Laughing

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

breadcrumb wrote:
It is a disease and it should be seen and treated like this.
Your comment goes into the right direction. It's a very sad fact that psychic illnesses that affect everyone (Keep in mind that statistically vereyone has a major depression in his life that needs to be treated professionally) still put a social stigma onto a person. This perception was popular in the stoneage of Psychology/Psychiatry.

I did my civil service in a home for people with severe psychic illnesses and a woman who lived there told me once: "Well, if your leg is broken or your appendix is inflamed then you go to a regular hospital and if you have a depression or anything else is wrong in your head then you'll go to a psychiatry."
I think she's spot on. If you condemn suicide than you've to condemn all other (psychic) diseases, too.

However, I find it problematic if suicide candidates sometimes don't think about the outcome of their suicide to other persons. Countless Train-drivers get a shock for life when they drive over a suicide-candidate.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^I agree with you TSC. Plus you must never forget, that these people dont choose to be suffering from it. You cannot blame someone for being sick.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As someone who suffers from severe depression, i`ve stared down the barrel of the gun many times. when i saw this posted earlier today i knew there would be at least one reply like Stargates. i`ll gladly swap you an hour of my really bad depressions, and believe me, you will understand. but seeing as that is impossible, try for a minute to understand what must be going through someones head while contemplating suicide, some people say the person is being selfish, self comes into it alright, but in the most horribly negative way possible, and they believe fully that they are absolutely worthless and that everyone they know would be better off without them. the only thoughts that go through a depressed persons head are dark negative ones, they can get so bad that the only possible relief a person can have is to end their lives. the strange thing is, people who go through with it actually don`t want sympathy, but rather empathy.
then there is the category of spoilt selfish *DELETED* who pretend to commit suicide as a form of attention seeking, for example using blunt knifes in a feeble attempt to slash their wrists in front of a crowd of people, usually after consuming to much vodka. most people will have experienced one of these or heard about them some time in their lives, and then categorise real suicidal and depressed people the same way.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Dated a guy for about a year that put a gun in his mouth. Told me on the phone that he was going to do it. I told him he was crazy and I hung up. Ten mins. later, I thought he might and tried to stop it and did not succeed. We both had 20th birthday in a few months and were going to celebrate together. He was into alot more than I realized. He did not do it over me. He and I were fine. I felt guilty for a long time because if I had taken him serious at the first moment, I could have stopped it. Later in life I realized, he would have done it another time. He told me two other times that he was going to take his life and the third time he did. I go to his grave every year on that day and I fuss at him and shed a few tears. He was a hoot to be with. That is a big chapter in my life and since then take people serious.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It is too bad. He was one of the truly funny comedians in Hollywood.

I had a friend who had a coworker/casual-friend who they found in his apartment after couple of days. No notes or anything. After 5 years she still had nightmares about being somehow responsible for not seeing the signs and doing something.

It is bad juju all around.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi all,
I know of a very close family member, who has a psychosis under control with medication. When the medication fails to control it, (due to outside medical problems) then he hears voices....and the voices tells him all kinds of things, even that the father is going to kill him.
This person does not have suicidal tendencies, but is under a great deal of stress when the situations occur.
So until you walk in someone else's shoes, please do not make assumptions.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

That sounds like someone i know, absolutely fine on medication, but way out there when he decides to go off the meds. he tried to set a gas cylinder alight while sitting on it in an attempt to fly during one episode, He was also convinced secret agents were after him, which made him so paranoid he tried to jump under a train, not to kill himself, his reasoning was the secret agents would have followed him and they would have been killed. The human mind is so much more fragile then we think,

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Depression has a nasty way of creeping up on you and taking over your life. Couple it with anxiety and it really causes problems. I remember the date well...2nd September 2004. I woke up and didn't want to carry on doing what I was doing. Depression...sleeping 18 hours a day, not eating, or washing, drinking too much, it ain't good.

It cost me my job, almost my sanity (no jokes please!) and nearly my home. Thanks to my family and friends, and this site, my equilibrium is just about restored.


Thanks Tommo. I'm right there, embedded it the middle of it right now. It's been off and on for 10 years. I sleep 16 hours a night, because, I don't have to be awake with the mind running wild. Sleep is no fun either, loaded with nightmares and long nights watching CNN, as you're just laying there. I know I've posted some dumb ass comments in these forums, and this is why. A new company took over our work, cancelled our insurance for 4 months, and the USA has the "best healthcare on the planet", if you're a millionaire. Otherwise, go bark at the moon. I can't afford anything to help me, and I just ride it out. It's not a good time. I'm a 47 year old man who has worked his whole life, and some days I just cry all day. Sucks! My wife says "It's a beautiful day out"! And it is! To me, is just another 24 hours to endure. It's horrible, especially for her. I lost my Mom ay Christmas, 8 years ago. She raised this only child alone since 1964. After all the arrangements were made, I couldn't sleep. The doc scribed me some Atavan. I thought I was OK. Then I ended up in ICU in a very depressed and OD'ed state. I woke up 3 days later, in leather restraints. Apparently, I took out 3 orderlies, but never recall it. I wrote them letters of apology, as I guess I busted one them up pretty bad. (I'm fairly large. 240 lbs., 6' 1". Described as a Gentle Giant, who goes deep and fast about every 3 years. I speak softly, which pisses people off, but carry a Big Stick. Don't be there at the wrong time. Do not mess with my wife, or my dogs and cats! ). Depression is a very difficult disease to understand, but it is real. Much research has been done, and new drugs developed. Not everyone can afford them. Well, I've rambled on way to much about this. Stargate, I respect your opinion, but do a little research, it won't hurt a bit. If it doesn't change your opinion, that's cool too. But it's free to just check it out. Thanks for listening, and hopefully understanding this commentary. I've shared this with very few people in my life, including relatives. I refuse to have a gun in my home and all my scripts go to my wife ASAP! Watch out for the dog and the baseball bat however! Wink
Joe.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:45 am Reply with quoteBack to top

For those of you, who do not know about what depressions are about, and if you like reading, the book from John Bentley Mays "In the Jaws of the Black Dogs" should be excellent stuff explaining what is going on in someones soul.

Quote:
John Bentley Mays' "In the Jaws of the Black Dogs" takes an entirely different tack. Mays states early on: "There are a great many books about depression. This is not one of them. It is pain written, not observed; a depressive writer's writing, a testament transcribed from wounded flesh to paper."

The author is the art and culture critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail, and this book began as an essay for the Canadian magazine Saturday Night. It is, in a sense, a testament transcribed. Where Smith investigates the nature of depression writ large and tries to make sense of himself within the myriad definitions, Mays unwinds the memories of his life (his defeats and losses and humiliations), rescuing scenes and events from oblivion and reimagining the crucial moments. Growing up in the American South, he lost his alcoholic father (who may have been murdered) when he was 7. His mother died of lung cancer when he was 11. He was already thinking about suicide when he went to live with his father's parents. In 1968, as a graduate student in English, he made his first suicide attempt.

Mays writes eloquently of his ongoing struggle, of the ever-present pull of death, of his family, of literature, of his Christianity. However, the book is less a literary memoir (that is, a nonfiction narrative that is dependent on the formal devices of fiction) than Mays' memoirs, by which I mean the kind of birth-to-now record of one's life usually reserved for celebrated public figures. What raises "In the Jaws of the Black Dogs" to the level of art is its language, which at its best has an elliptical lyricism reminiscent of Vladimir Nabokov's "Speak, Memory" (though at its worst it plummets toward narcissistic bathos). All in all this is a moving, uncomfortable record of a joyless life in which every moment has been one to endure.

At this point, memoir presents the seemingly endless possibilities that the novel did at the end of the last century. What the form needs now is writers willing to take risks.


Quote:
Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Reflecting on a lifetime of chronic depression, Mays, the visual arts critic of Toronto's Globe and Mail, charts his illness with reasoned intelligence and emotional honesty. His chronicle, a bestseller in Canada, begins in the American South, where Mays grew up on a cotton plantation he remembers for its physical beauty and sullen silences. When he was seven, his alcoholic father died (perhaps by murder). He and his mother moved to a nearby city to which he was unable to adjust. Five years later, Mays's mother succumbed to lung cancer. He recalls not weeping, and acknowledges the self-annihilation manifest in his inability to express griefAindeed, suicide beckoned as a sweet possibility. He went to live with his paternal grandparents and was later, in high school, voted most likely to succeed. Mays pursued English studies in college and graduate school, aiming for a career as a scholar, imagining he could sustain himself in a world from which he felt increasingly estranged. In 1968, he attempted to kill himself while he was in a doctoral program, leading to his hospitalization and the first of two courses of therapyAwhich have enabled him to achieve periods of normality, though the dogs of depression always lurk. A strong religious faith, a solid marriage and his writing career have provided Mays with further emotional support. Though his prose can be so elliptical that some important events and figures (including his wife and step-daughter) slip through the gaps, implicit in Mays's story, as in William Styron's Darkness Visible, is his enduring courage in the face of unrelenting mental illness. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
First-person accounts of depression have become a cottage industry, with best sellers such as Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind (LJ 10/1/95), celebrity tell-alls like Patty Duke's Call Me Anna (1987), and serious literature like William Styron's Darkness Visible (LJ 8/90). Mays's entry in this crowded field is justified for two reasons. First, it is a fine literary effort, a best seller in Canada, where it was first published in 1995. Second, Mays is by no means curedAdespite years of psychotherapy and treatment with Prozac, he is still chronically depressed. This account is a good corrective to the many accountsAincluding those aboveAwritten after depression had lifted or been tamed by treatment. This is not an easy book to read. It offers no happy ending and conveys an all-too-vivid picture of enervation and self-loathing. Nonetheless, it is recommended for public libraries serving the many individuals who have friends or relatives battling depression and for academic libraries serving training programs in clinical psychology or psychiatry.
-AMary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Quote:
Author John Bentely Mays in his book, "In the Jaws of the Black Dogs" (Harper Collins, 1999), is after more than a simple magic pill. After a lifetime of depression, he demands nothing less than "the infinitely tedious...untangling of tiny self-hatreds and regrets, the legacies of a lifetime of attacking and abasing the self with the obscene language of the depressed."

Prozac, he tells us, only started to work the day he took it. "I cannot," he says, "rewrite the life-histories I have created ... before that time, reverse the damage I have wreaked upon myself, obliterate the terrible memories, get back to the pleasures and days I could have had."

No, instead of a super pill this guy needs a super man. Unfortunately for Mays, in his own words:

"Psychiatry is haunted by a dark dream of its own unreality as a medical discipline.

"In that nightmare, the psychiatrists see themselves at day's end, squatting in some lower ring of hell along with Victorian mind-curists, phrenologists, animal magnetism experts and other discredited would-be helpers, being poked and scolded unto eternity by the depressed and mad folk they did nothing for. Meanwhile, far overhead, flutters the smug angel of psychopharmacology - humourology, biodeterminism, call it what you will - tooting a tinny trumpet and proclaiming: Told you so!"

In his letter of resignation, Dr Mosher laments the fact that more and more psychiatry is disengaging itself from both the patient and the healing process. But even the most dedicated practitioners with no managed care company breathing down their necks would be hard-pressed to fill the very tall order of John Bentley Mays. And that brings us to the nub of the issue: Do we really want them to?



http://www.amazon.com/Jaws-Black-Dogs-Memoir-Depression/dp/0060192887

http://www.salon.com/books/review/1999/09/09/smith_bentley_mays/index.html

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Depression is horrible. I have been there. I remember it , but thankfully brought by circumstance and cured by the correct medication treatment over 6 months. Stopping the medication was worrying, but I felt I was ok.

While I don't really remember how bad I was, I was incapable of working, lacked concentration, couldn't eat, sleep was poor, wasn't rational and I did not know it either. It was work friends who pulled me up, made me see myself and push me to going to the doctor.

A girlfriend of mine took an overdose and then Hung herself.
Somehow she is still alive but only because a friend arrived in time to get her down. That was not a gesture, it was the real thing and her survival was pure luck. She is much better now thankfully, but unfortunately with her depression she took it out on me. After 17 years on my own and finding her, and having such a good relationship, that was sad, and was pure self destruction that I could do nothing about.

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Ziggyzap
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

breadcrumb wrote:
Quote:
I have no sympathy for anyone who kills themselves. Sorry.


I do. Cause suicide can be caused by many factors. Depressions often have the cause in a chemical malfunction of the brain, and the person commiting suicide cannot be blamed for something like this. It is a disease and it should be seen and treated like this.


What he said^^

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I had a boss who told me to get my act together, and "Right now Mister, the big boss is coming". I quit. Threw down the keys. Walked out the door. She's going hey, wait, hey, wait! She was fired within a month when I told the big boss she was forcing me in to being "Normal" around him when I was very depressed. Never saw her again. She was a Nazi SS she devil as it were, worried about her own butt. We were tools to be used, broken, and tossed out. In the end, she got the shank, and I got the summer off in Tahoe. Very Happy I have worked for this company many times since then, for the Big Boss, and have done well. Ignorance of depression can work for you at times. She was a first class Bitch! Now she's unemployed and looking for more screwdrivers to bend. No luck so far and a horrible reputation . Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Stargate wrote:
I have no sympathy for anyone who kills themselves. Sorry.


We have heard stories of victims becomeing suicidal because of what lads did to them and what not, which might make a lot of people oppose what Stargate said.

I'm really with you there though. There's only one way to lose in life and that's to drop out. If you're not dead, you've got a chance to turn things around and make good.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ It is an illnes like any outher if someone has cancer they could die. It is the same with depression.

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