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Exclusive: Dane Cook reacts to Patrice O’Neal passing – “Truly a force to be reckoned with”

Exclusive: Dane Cook reacts to Patrice O’Neal passing – “Truly a force to be reckoned with” (photo)

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Dane Cook may be a comedy superstar with chart-topping albums and sold-out arena shows, but at the beginning of his career he was simply a young comic starting out in Boston alongside a fellow newcomer named Patrice O’Neal.

With the tragic passing today of O’Neal, we asked one of his oldest industry friends for his remembrances of the boldly funny comic.

“I started with Patrice,” Cook tells IFC. “Patrice is part of my graduating class. Our roots are in Boston. We were new comics together and I watched Patrice develop into what I feel is one of the greatest comedy voices ever.”

With frequent appearances on “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” and VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” O’Neal quickly garnered fans of varying backgrounds, breaking out of the box that sometimes inhibit black comedians. Cook, for his part, wasn’t surprised by O’Neal’s ability to reach different groups.

“When you talk about somebody who is in that Pryor-esque place where you connect across any audience, Patrice had a blunt force trauma about him, where he was so hilarious but at the same time so painfully truthful,” Cook recalls. “I remember one of the first jokes he ever told that I thought was absolutely brilliant. He said, ‘I’m a big guy. I wear a big size. But at the same time I’m a big black man. I’m very opinionated. Basically I wear Malcolm XXL.’ The guy was just truly a force to be reckoned with.”

Cook also found himself relying on O’Neal for career direction, looking at his friend with a reverence usually reserved for older comics espousing age-gained wisdom.

“Not only did Patrice bring incredible laughs to people, but he had insight,” says Cook. “Patrice gave me some of the greatest advice of my life. There are moments that I had sitting with him at the back of the old Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston, that I felt like direction-altering moments with him. For the family and all his friends and fans, we’re all so sorry and at the same time we are immediately looking and trying to share our favorite Patrice stories and I hope that people will just continue to YouTube him. His comedy is timeless.”

At the end of the day though, O’Neal’s loss is felt on a more personal level by those who knew and loved him. “It’s a huge gaping hole in the comedy world today and I will miss him as a performer, but mostly as a friend,” says Cook.

Leave your own remembrances of Patrice O’Neal in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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