|Honda Presents: Comedy Del Sol||1995 1994 - 1995||Actor||Host||19957|
|Richard Jeni: A Good Catholic Boy||1998 1997 - 1998||Actor||n/a||19987|
|Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile of Me||2005 2004 - 2005||Actor||n/a||20057|
|Richard Jeni: The Boy From New York City||1989 1988 - 1989||Actor||n/a||19897|
|Shorties Watchin' Shorties||2004 2004||Voice||(Stand-Up Routine)||20046|
|Comedy Central Presents...||2002 2002||Actor||n/a||20027|
|Platypus Man||1995 1994 - 1995||Actor||Richard Jeni||19957|
|What a World||1997 1996 - 1997||Actor||Host||19977|
|Richard Jeni -- Crazy From the Heat||1991 1990 - 1991||Actor||n/a||19917|
|Richard Jeni: Platypus Man||1993 1992 - 1993||Actor||n/a||19937|
|New Year's Eve '94||1994 1993 - 1994||Actor||Host||19947|
|Showtime Comedy Club All-Stars||1988 1987 - 1988||Actor||n/a||19887|
|It's Just a Ride||Actor||n/a||7|
|The Twelfth Annual Young Comedians Show||1989 1988 - 1989||Actor||n/a||19897|
|Suzanne Somers Presents: Showtime's Triple Crown of Comedy||1989 1988 - 1989||Actor||n/a||19897|
|Caroline's Comedy Hour||1996 1989 - 1996||Actor||Host||19967|
|National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off||Actor||Bernie||7|
|Burn, Hollywood, Burn||1998||Actor||Jerry Glover||19987|
|Showtime Presents: Jonathan Winters & Friends||1989 1988 - 1989||Actor||n/a||19897|
|The Mask||1994||Actor||Charlie Shumacher||19947|
|The 1995 ESPY Awards||1995 1994 - 1995||Actor||Presenter||19957|
|100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time||2004 2003 - 2004||Actor||Guest Panelist (Part 2)||20047|
|Laugh!s||1990 1989 - 1990||Actor||n/a||19907|
|Everybody Hates Chris||2006 2006||Actor||White Cop||20067|
|CityKids All Star Celebration||1996 1995 - 1996||Actor||n/a||19967|
|Baseball Relief: An All-Star Comedy Salute||1994 1993 - 1994||Actor||n/a||19947|
|Later||2001 1993 - 2001||Actor||Guest Host||20017|
|Catch a Rising Star 50th Anniversary -- Give or Take 26 Years||1996 1995 - 1996||Actor||n/a||19967|
|The 14th Annual CableACE Awards||1993 1992 - 1993||Actor||Presenter||19937|
|Full Frontal Comedy||1997 1994 - 1997||Actor||n/a||19977|
|Comics Only||1993 1990 - 1993||Actor||n/a||19937|
|Comic Relief VII||1996 1995 - 1996||Actor||n/a||19967|
|Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist||2000 1994 - 2000||Voice||n/a||20006|
|The Test||2002 2000 - 2002||Actor||Guest||20027|
|The 77th Annual Academy Awards||2005 2004 - 2005||Writer||Special Material Written by||1|
Born on April 14, 1957 in Brooklyn, NY, Jeni was raised in an Italian-American home in the Bensonhurst neighborhood and later graduated with honors from Hunter College with a bachelor's in political science. After graduating, he began performing at local open-mic competitions in the early 1980s and made friends with the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Joy Behar and Rosie O'Donnell. From early on, audiences appreciated Jeni's knack for observational comedy and keen ear for dialogue. Among his fellow comics, he was revered, not just for his brave talent onstage, but for being supportive and brotherly - a good guy in a cutthroat industry. After honing his act on the road for several years, Jeni had his first break in the mid-1980s when he made his television debut as a featured performer on the cable comedy showcase, "Just for Laughs" (Showtime, 1986). Two years later, he made his debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (NBC, 1962-1992), and subsequently appeared regularly on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC, 1992-2009; 2010- ), on which he appeared more times than any other stand-up comic.
Continuing to rise up the ranks, Jeni landed his first comedy special, "Richard Jeni: The Boy from New York City" (Showtime, 1989), which performed impressively in the ratings and led Showtime to invite the comic back for a return engagement, "Richard Jeni: Crazy from the Heat" (Showtime, 1991). In 1992, rival cable network HBO lured Jeni over for their own highly rated comedy special, "Richard Jeni: Platypus Man" (HBO, 1992). Despite his genius on stage - where he covered varied topics like dating, football and women nagging men trying to drive - Jeni watched as his fellow New Yorker comics like Seinfeld and Ray Romano became household names and very rich men. Meanwhile, he waited for his big turn, which many fellow comics and diehard fans felt was inevitable. His profile continued to rise, thanks to his frequent appearances on Leno's "Tonight Show" and "The View" (ABC, 1997- ), and was elevated considerably when he played Jim Carrey's best friend in the runaway hit, "The Mask" (1994). Better suited for the small screen, however, Jeni returned to television to star in his own short-lived sitcom, the semi-autobiographical series "Platypus Man" (UPN, 1995-96), which cast him as the host of a cable cooking show that dispenses recipes for meals and advice about relationships. Unfortunately, like most of the fledgling network's earliest outings, "Platypus Man" failed to find an audience and was duly cancelled. He followed with a forgotten turn in the critically maligned "Burn Hollywood Burn" (1998).
Undaunted, Jeni kept busy with his stand-up engagements as well as the occasional national commercial, pitching for Certs, Arby's and the American Dairy Association. Although his career hit a plateau in the new millennium, he remained consistently employed. Jeni starred in his final live stand-up show, "Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile of Me" (HBO, 2005) and made a guest-appearance on the highly-rated "Everyone Hates Chris" (UPN/The CW, 2005-09) alongside long-time close friend, Chris Rock. Behind his amiable smile and likeable demeanor, however, Jeni was a haunted man. In December 2006, he was involuntarily hospitalized on a 5150 involuntary hold after showing up to a hospital emergency room with suicidal depression and claiming that he was going to jump off a building. Three months later, on March 11, 2007, fans and friends alike were shocked to learn that Jeni had committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a gun. He was only 49. A week prior to his death, Jeni's girlfriend had heard him talking to himself about actually killing himself. His family attributed his hectic work schedule, and his diagnosis of clinical depression and schizophrenia as causes. Meanwhile, comedians like Chris Rock, Rosie O'Donnell and Bill Maher all paid tribute to their fallen friend.
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