Comedy Central has announced a collaboration with All Things Comedy to produce a documentary about legendary comedian Patrice O’Neal. Set to begin filming this fall, the untitled documentary is a deep-dive portrait of O’Neal who passed away at 41 in 2011. The film, directed by Bonfiglio (Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh) will recount O’Neal’s life story and explore the hilarious and controversial material he left behind. Utilizing a vast archive including never-before-seen personal materials and featuring O’Neal’s family and friends, the film will include a who’s who of comedy — the comics who knew, were influenced and were affected by O’Neal — placing his work into the context of the time as well as today.
“Patrice was a tour de force in comedy who left an indelible stamp on the stand-up community and beyond,” said Sarah Babineau and Jonas Larsen, Co-Heads of Original Content, Comedy Central. “Comedy Central had the incredible opportunity to work with him throughout his career from Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, to the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen and to his last stand-up special Elephant in the Room. Patrice was a fearless and fierce comedian and we’re honored to be able to shine a light on his life and career with this documentary.”
“I am very excited and proud to have gotten this project in the hands of Comedy Central, and now with Bill Burr and All Things Comedy aboard, as well as, our director Michael Bonfiglio,” said Decarlo. “This makes for an absolute dream team to help his mother and I bring Patrice’s story to the masses, and solidify his legacy for generations to come.”
“So happy that Mike Bonfiglio and Comedy Central are going to make this happen,” said Burr. “Patrice was the best that I ever saw.“
Patrice O’Neal was born in New York City, and 22 years later, he began his comedy career in Boston, Massachusetts where he grew up since he was one year old.
After conquering the Boston comedy circuit in just under six years, O’Neal took his comedic gifts to New York City. Once there, Hollywood soon called. O’Neal’s first of many television appearances was on The Apollo Comedy Hour where he performed his now famous Malcolm XXL bit. From there, he moved on to prestigious appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, Friday Night Videos, and a brief stint as a writer for the WWE. O’Neal had a string of TV guest star appearances on MTV’s Apt 2F, Assy McGee, Ed, Z Rock, Yes Dear, Arrested Development, Chappelle’s Show and The Office. O’Neal was a regular on the FOX series The Jury, and he starred in the Comedy Central animated series Shorties Watching Shorties, along with Nick DiPaolo. He supplied the voice of Harold Jenkins on Noggin’s animated show O’Grady High and was featured as Jesus in Denis Leary’s Contest Searchlight.
O’Neal made his Def Comedy Jam debut in 2007, but had three prior half hour comedy specials with Showtime, Comedy Central, and HBO. He made several appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Show with David Lettermanand The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But, of all the many television appearances to date, his self-proclaimed favorite was Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. In addition, O’Neal’s movie appearances include Head of State, In the Cut, 25th Hour, Furry Vengeance, and deleted scenes from Scary Movie 4 and When in Rome. In 2011, O’Neal released his first one hour stand-up special Elephant in the Room on Comedy Central and delivered blistering burns as a roastee on the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen.
The Patrice O’Neal documentary is executive produced by Bill Burr, Al Madrigal and Michael Bertolina of All Things Comedy, Von Decarlo and Michael Bonfiglio who also serves as director (May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers, Doc & Darryl, an ESPN 30 for 30 film). Christian McLaughlin, Anne Harris and Gabriella Yacyk are the Executives in Charge of Production for Comedy Central.