Patrice O’Neil is a comedian that I knew quite well, but didn’t know it. His aired stand up performances ducked me because I’ve never had cable television and his radio performances ducked me because I never listen to the radio. However, O’Neil was a journeyman in his career as a film and television star providing voice over work for video game Grand Theft Auto VI, appeared in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour, made brief appearances on shows like Arrested Development and The Office. So despite not knowing him until recently, I had seen him around in unrelated projects.
O’Neil, sadly, suffered from a stroke in 2011 and later passed on due to complications. This posthumous recording of O’Neil’s stand up routine pays tribute to the man’s genius and to keep his voice alive for those fans and would be fans out there looking for some great laughs.
Right off the bat Patrice O’Neil’s Unreleased is a no holds barred laugh fest that combines intelligently designed humor with ad-lib comedy made possible by audience participation. O’Neil has an amazing knack for getting his audience involved by either complimenting them or blasting them with a one man good cop/bad cop routine that would probably suck if you were the target but makes for side splitting comedy that everyone else can enjoy.
I’ve seen quite a few comedy shows, covered some stand up albums, and I’ve seen everything from floor notes to topic cards floating around the podium, stage, what have you. Even though you’re unable to see the visual performance it’s absolutely easy to tell that O’Neil is running the game from the top of his head. One minute he’s talking about oral sex and the next he’s having an in-depth conversation with a man, woman or both in the audience. I’m hard pressed to remember a moment where O’Neil paused to throw in an “um” or an “uh” while shooting off rapid fire responses in the conversation, and let’s be honest, it’s a conversation, he’s in complete control of as he either compliments or belittles his target. Even more impressive is how in control of the entire environment he has. It’s his house and he knows it.
The stand up routine ranges anywhere from hilarious observational comedy to heavy hitting slants about his girlfriends kid from a different guy or the difference between men and women (men just being better). It’s all good fun with O’Neil raising and lowering the level of crassness in-between punch lines. I personally couldn’t stop myself from cracking up the whole time. A great posthumous album from a comedian that seems to have been taken far too soon. Hopefully there will be more stand up albums, specials, what have you coming out of the vaults. Definitely mature adult humor for those who know what they like. I highly suggest checking it out. Enjoy.