13 Hall of Fame Jokes and Moments from Patrice O’Neal
One of the most universal sentences within the stand-up community is, “Patrice O’Neal was taken way too soon.” In an industry where “taken too soon” is unfortunately common, O’Neal was in a class of his own. Cutting his teeth in Boston’s comedy scene, his outspoken, take-no-shit nature led to some hard takes that, even if you didn’t agree with, would still have you laughing your ass off. He was a large presence that hit hard but made sure you were having a good time, too.
A high-quality writer, in addition to being an unforgettable performer, O’Neal’s comedic thumbprint touched everything from specials to sitcoms to even a short stint in the WWE. His lasting genius and the inspiration he has cultivated since his passing led us to grab some choice bits of his work for our Comedy Hall of Fame...
On Being Solitary
“Men want to be alone, but we don’t want to be by ourselves.”
As a Shortie Watching Shorties
As a baby version of himself, O’Neal co-host a show animating several stand-up comedy bits on Shorties Watchin Shorties.
On Cigarette Boxes in the U.S. versus Canada
“The pack of cigarettes used to say things like, ‘Cigarettes possibly might cause you to be ill at some point in your life.’ Now they say, ‘They will kill you,’ and you still smoke. The cigarette boxes in Canada have dead babies on the box. Can you imagine smoking and rationalizing, ‘Man, I’m glad I made it passed his age, goddamn’?”
“I’m too afraid to not believe in God. Like, I’m not an atheist; I’m like before that. I believe in God when I’m on planes — that’s when I really believe in God.”
On the Military
“People always say, ‘Don’t you support the troops?’ But the troops are an entity that just follows orders. It’s not about individuals or people. So when I say I don’t support the troops, I’m saying I don’t support the bankers and politicians who are making them do what they do.”
“When I came up, football was gladiator; it was angry. When we hit somebody when I played, and he didn’t get up, we didn’t hold hands with the other team and pray for him to get up. We used to do a hump dance circle around him, and our crowd’s like, ‘HE’S-PA-RA-LYZED!’ We’d be looking for his mother crying and be like, ‘That’s right, lady, that’s what you get for letting him out here with killers!’”
On ‘Fight Club’
On Relationships Between Men and Women
“Women have to like you to sleep with you. Men have to like you to sleep with you again.”
‘The Black Phillip Show’
After several appearances on Opie & Anthony, O’Neal got his own radio call-in show to give advice in the vein of The Dr. Phil Show. Was it helpful? Who knows? But at least it was entertaining.
Attacking Marc Maron
Early in both of their careers, an ongoing bit between O’Neal and Maron would see O’Neal as a plant in the crowd and then “attacking” Maron during his set to get a rise from the audience. It grew to the point that the two brought it to Late Night with Conan O’Brien when Maron was booked as a guest on that show.
On Trying After 40
“I’m getting tired of famous people making me give money to the disease that they got. I don’t mind that, but it’s selfish. Just be honest with your selfishness. Now, Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s disease, and that’s terrible, but I just want him to be honest with his selfishness. I just want to ask him a question, ‘Hey Mike, listen, I know you have Parkinson’s disease, but what about cancer and AIDS? Isn’t that important, too?’ I just want him to say, “Yeah, they’re important, but you know what? I ain’t got that shit!’ Or: ‘I’m not gonna give money to something I don’t have.’ If somebody famous don’t have your disease, you’re dead.”
On ‘Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn’
If you didn’t know him from stand-up, you probably knew O’Neal from his several appearances on the news talk/roast/hot take show Tough Crowd. Whenever O’Neal appeared, he made his thoughts known as loudly and funnily as possible.