Patrice O’Neal may not have ever been the most popular stand-up comedian in the world, but a strong case could be made that amongst his peers, he was one of the most universally appreciated. Carefully crafted, yet delivered in an effortless flow, his style was known for its aggression, yet it never lacked intelligence and insight. He was a wonderful mix of thoughtfulness and sand paper, a brilliant mind that liked his comedy mixed with a tinge of filth.

Stand-up comedy success is often measured by sitcom deals and movie roles, but O’Neal’s career is a scathing indictment of that barometer. He was wonderful as a fill-in third microphone on Opie & Anthony. He crushed nightly while Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn was on the air, but mostly, he went out and won audiences over night after night in stand-up comedy clubs around the country. In doing so, he pushed his peers to higher levels and perhaps most importantly, carried on a tradition of amazing, socially-conscious comedians willing to discuss any topic, no matter how hot button or potentially inflammatory. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is.

Following a stroke last month, Patrice O’Neal passed away today at the age of forty-one. His loss is a miserable blow to the entire stand-up comedy community, where his friends were numerous and his admirers too many to count. There was truly no one like Patrice O’Neal, and I’m comfortable in saying he was easily one of the best five stand-up comedians of his generation.

Pop Blend sends out its sincerest well-wishes to the beloved comedian’s friends, family and all those affected by his loss. No one will ever replace his voice, but hopefully, his words were enough to inspire a new generation of comedians to strive for greatness. RIP.

In Patrice’s honor, here’s a look at him explaining why white women are the reason why he collects receipts…

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