Saturday, September 04, 2010

RIP Robert Schimmel, Gone Too Soon At 60

It seems that many of my blog posts are about people who have passed away, and while I'm far from obsessed with death, I tend to move at such a pace that I don't take the time to appreciate people while they are alive or I take for granted that we'll all always be around forever.  This is another one of those "Death Posts", as I woke up this morning to learn about the tragic death of comedian Robert Schimmel.

Robert Schimmel 1950-2010
Schimmel first came to my attention with appearances on HBO and Showtime in the late 80's and early 90's.  But his first TV appearance was some years before that on The Gong Show.

Robert Schimmel's comedy was not for the easily offended or the faint of heart, as he proves in this clip from a 1994 cable special.

Schimmel was diagnosed with cancer, took a couple years off of the standup circuit, and returned to the road with a different act, talking about his cancer, his treatment, and what it meant to be a survivor.  I had the chance to see him a couple times after the cancer, and his comedy was somewhat less edgy, but still brilliant.

About a year ago, he sat down with the editor of Punchline magazine

Here's the story of Robert Schimmel's death, and life, courtesy of E! Online
Standup comic Robert Schimmel passed away Friday after a week-long battle with injuries sustained in an Aug. 26 car accident, his rep confirms to E! News. He was 60.
Known for is his raunchy HBO specials, as well as countless, equally explicit appearances on Howard Stern's radio show (as was his style), Schimmel was well loved by his peers in the comedy realm.
While traveling in Arizona last Thursday, Schimmel's 19-year-old daughter Aliyah swerved to avoid an oncoming car, causing the vehicle containing herself and her father to flip multiple times. Aliyah survived the accident and is currently in stable condition.
No stranger to health woes (or tragedy), Schimmel lost his son Derek to cancer at age 11, then won his own a battle with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma back in in 2000. The comic was currently awaiting a liver transplant, after learning in January that he'd contracted cirrhosis from a Hepatitis C-infected blood transfusion. No word on whether the diseased liver played into his untimely death.
The comedy community was rocked by Schimmel's sudden passing Friday, and took to various social media outlets to say a sad so long to their friend.
"Robert Schimmel was one of the funniest and nicest guys in comedy," Jimmy Kimmel tweeted Friday night, noting that he hoped he'd be given "bad information" regarding the loss. Added his friend Dane Cook: "Robert Schimmel was one the first people in comedy to call when my folks were fighting cancer. No ego no bs no small talk just inspiration."
Schimmel's brother Jeff Schimmel also took to his Facebook page, confirming the death with an emotional tribute to his sibling:
"ROBERT SCHIMMEL. Son, Brother, Father, Grandfather, Comedian, Generous Man. I have always loved you, admired you, and was proud to be your biggest fan. I will never forget a single moment. R.I.P."
Schimmel is survived by his six children.
Robert Schimmel.  Brilliantly funny, cancer survivor, amazing storyteller, and gone too soon.  If you're not familiar with him, take a few minutes to watch him on YouTube.  He's definitely for mature audiences only, but his work will make you laugh, and much of his post-cancer work will make you think.

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