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Richard Jeni
Jeni.jpg
Birth name Richard John Colangelo
Born (1957-04-14)April 14, 1957
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died March 10, 2007(2007-03-10) (aged 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Medium Improv, stand up
Nationality United States
Years active 1982–2007
Genres Comedy
Notable works and roles Charlie Schumaker in The Mask
Himself in Platypus Man

Richard John Colangelo (April 14, 1957 – March 10, 2007), better known by his stage name Richard Jeni, was an American stand-up comedian and actor.

Early life

Jeni was raised in an Italian-American Roman Catholic family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He graduated with honors from Hunter College, earning a bachelor's degree in comparative politics. After graduating, Jeni went on to do public relations work, but was let go from five different firms in two years before doing an open-mic night in Brooklyn and deciding to pursue standup comedy as a career in 1982.

Career

Jeni first received recognition through a series of Showtime stand-up specials and frequent appearances on The Tonight Show. After making his The Tonight Show debut in 1988 with Johnny Carson, Jeni would return often and later made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, with more appearances than any other stand-up comedian. In 1989, he won Comedy USA's Best Nightclub Comedian, as voted by comedy club owners and comedians, and his first Showtime special Richard Jeni: The Boy From New York City won a CableACE Award.

Top executives at HBO picked up his first appearance on The HBO Comedy Hour in 1992, titled Richard Jeni: Platypus Man. The show was well received, and Jeni returned for two more shows, going on to receive another CableACE Award for one of his HBO specials. Jeni starred in the short-lived 1995 UPN sitcom Platypus Man and appeared in the Jim Carrey film The Mask. Jeni composed the theme song ("I'm A Platypus Man") for his TV series. He appeared in The Aristocrats, Dad's Week Off, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, and Chasing Robert. He starred in commercial campaigns for Certs and Arby's, and won a Clio Award for his work as a writer/performer in an advertising campaign for the American Dairy Association.

In 2004, Jeni was ranked #57 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

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