A vitriolic stand-up comic and occasional actor whose withering comments about politics, race and his own life drew praise from the comedy world, Patrice O'Neal was a staple of television specials in the late 1990s and early 21st century before his sudden death at the age of 41 in 2011. A larger than life figure in every sense of the term, he was part of a cadre of confrontational stand-ups that included Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Nick DiPaolo and Rich Vos, whose no-holds-barred humor found favor with young audiences, if not always critical praise. After a slow-starting career that saw him move from his native Boston to the U.K. in search of a break, he returned to the States in 2002, where he became a favorite on comedy series and specials, as well as in occasional features like "The 25th Hour." After filming a one-hour special for Comedy Central, O'Neal's health took a precipitous turn in 2011, resulting in a stroke that eventually ended his life in November of that year. His untimely passing devastated fans, comedy observers, and the countless performers who shared bills with him over the course of his decade-plus career and who mourned the loss of a comic whose true potential had not yet been tapped.