Sad news to pass along – Richard Jeni, a very funny comedian, one I was very fond of (not in a gay way), passed away over the weekend. According to some reports, it looks as if he committed suicide. I guess sometimes it doesn’t matter how successful one is, because success doesn’t always equate to happiness.
Jeni was very good with observational humor, much like Jerry Seinfeld, but probably with a little harder of an edge. He was one of the best at working a room, and he was able to generate new material rather quickly. He did manage to make it to the silver screen, landing a part in The Mask as Jim Carey’s bank work buddy. He was pretty good in this limited role. Additionally, he’s done a lot of commercial voiceover work in his time. Quite honestly, I’m shocked he never really hit it big with a sit com or a lead role in a movie. Sometimes, those are the breaks, I guess.
The suicide thing connects to me, not because I’ve ever tried to commit suicide, but because my older brother committed suicide. Don’t worry, I’ve learned to deal with it, but it is something I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over. But, I do want to make a sort of a public service announcement to you all.
In case any of you (or people you know) ever contemplate taking your life, just remember this – it’s never the easy way out, even though at times it may seem that way. I have had a difficult time forgiving my brother for what he did, not only to me, but more-so to my parents. The strong foundation that I had growing up was rocked by this, and has never fully been the same. My parents are very strong people … sometimes too strong for their own good. They have been conditioned to internalize many feelings - probably a product of growing up in World War II Germany.
I was used to this … but when their first son took his own life, not even they could hide their emotions. It was one of the most depressing moments of my life … I wasn’t even as depressed that I lost a brother – I was more depressed that my parents lost their son. Even as we approach the 15-year point of this tragic event, my parents have still not fully recovered. They thought, and continue to think, that it is a sign of weakness to go and get professional help in dealing with this. The worst part is that they think it is their fault TO THIS DAY that he ended it.
This is why I have trouble forgiving Albert for what he did. For even though he “took the easy way out,” he ended up taking part of my parents with him, and dumping his problems on the rest of us. During the time I should’ve been mourning, I cursed him. I couldn’t believe that he would do something so selfish, and never consider the consequences. It’s hard for me to put myself in that position, though. I understand from talking with others who have contemplated suicide that it’s not about being selfish, it’s about feeling lonely, and thinking the world would be a better place without their existence.
It took me 5 years to visit his grave. I’ve only gone back a few times since. I was lucky enough to have some great friends to help me through this. At the time, I probably should’ve gone for professional help, but I just didn’t know my options, I guess. My friends became my rock. They helped me through those first few years. I wish my parents could get over this, and I hope that this post at the very least puts things into perspective for any of you who may be feeling overly depressed.
Sorry for the depressing post – I just got off on a tangent with it. I promise I’ll be funnier next post.