Breakout Comedy Central special Elephant in the Room and incendiary live shows ensured O’Neal would soon graduate from club favorite to mainstream fame. “Everyone discovers you, and all of a sudden you’re the 20-year overnight success,” says event organizer Maureen Taran, now talent head of Original Programming and Development at TruTV. “Patrice was headed there.”
Burr and Taran knew O’Neal’s death meant he wouldn’t achieve the success he earned and rightly deserved. “We wanted to create a night where we could bring together his comedian friends to honor him, pay tribute to him and keep his comedy memory alive,” Taran continues. “We didn’t want to make it a big TV special or anything like that. No agenda: Just a night like the old days in the clubs having fun.”
Tomorrow evening in New York City Center’s Mainstage Theater, Burr, Artie Lange, Jim Norton, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, Russ Meneve, Godfrey, Al Del Bene and Rich Vos celebrate the quintessential Comics’ Comic at the Fourth Annual Patrice O’Neal Comedy Benefit.
Taran has been in close contact with O’Neal’s mother Georgia leading up to the evening, which donates 100 percent of proceeds to the comedian’s family. “Georgia is so grateful to us for the financial support, but seeing all the comics who loved Patrice do this every year is what means the most for her,” says Taran. “It’s the greatest feeling when I see her face light up.”
Fourth Annual Patrice O’Neal Comedy Benefit
Tuesday, January 26 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $75 at NYCityCenter.org