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7 Comedians Who Died Young

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 3

It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. There have been many studies that show that laughter can help ease stress, increase happiness, and extend your life. You can actually live longer by cracking jokes and laughing often. If this is true, then it is ironic that many great comedians die young.

Many of these truly funny people lived in the ideal world for humor, yet tragically died young. These young comedians may have been involved with drugs, alcohol, or other contributing factors. It is easy to get caught up in the world wind of using drugs when they are so readily available to the professional comedian.

When a well known comedian visits a new town to perform his set there are many people in the area who have access to drugs and would love to party with a famous person. It is easy to get drugs when you have fame and fortune.

Marijuana use is common among many comedians on the semi-professional and professional circuit, yet marijuana is not a killer. Marijuana can help people to brainstorm funny ideas for possible routines, but it will not cause a comedian to overdose and die. The killers have been prescription drugs mixed with alcohol, cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. These drugs have taken many young comedians away from us.

Here are some funny comedians who died tragically young because of various reasons. This is not a complete list as there are way too many comedians to detail here, but these are among some of the most notable deaths.

Chris Farley

Chris Farley was the ultimate comedian according to many of his fans. The movie Tommy Boy is still one of those movies that can be watched repeatedly. Chris Farley was part of some of the most memorable sketches ever on Saturday Night Live. He often played his movie roles as the fat buffoon, but was very loveable.

Chris Farley passed away at age 33 of a cocaine and morphine overdose. He was overweight and the drugs combined with his weight stressed his heart out to much. If it was not for the drugs we would have had numerous more movies with him in to laugh at.

Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce was one of the original dirty comedians. What he said orally was golden to his fans, but offended many people. Because of Lenny Bruce we have been able to have “free speech” as comedians and it was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

Lenny Bruce violated many obscenity laws and was arrested. Hs conviction was later overturned. What Lenny Bruce did was pave the wave for the free speech that applies to all the comedians of today. Without Lenny Bruce we may not have had any of the current comedians such as Louie C.K. who perform sets that would have been considered obscene when Lenny Bruce was first performing.

Lenny died at age 40 of an accidental morphine overdose. Because of Lenny adults can visit nightclubs to hear comedians drop the “F-Bomb” and not have to worry about getting arrested or charged. Lenny Bruce truly helped along the cause of free speech.

John Belushi

John Belushi was one of the original actors and comedians on Saturday Night Live. John Belushi became famous for his work on Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the movie Animal House. Animal House is one of those rare films that can be found funny regardless of how old or young you are. Animal House is the epitome of the college comedy movie and paved the way for more modern college films such as Road Trip.

The movie Continental Divide was a movie liked by a wide audience, including many people who may not have liked Belushi’s style of dirty humor. Continental Divide showcased his ability to act and not have to rely on potty humor.

John Belushi died at age 33 after injecting heroin and cocaine together. Hardcore fans of Belushi will always remember the Samurai Futaba character he portrayed on many Saturday Night Live Skits.

Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac passed away at age 50. 50 is a longtime to love when compared to the early deaths of such comedians as John Belushi and Chris Farley who both died at age 33. 50 is still too young to die. The death of Bernie Mac came as a surprise to most of his fans.

The official cause of death was complications from pneumonia. Bernie Mac had also suffered from Sarcoidosis, which had supposedly gone into remission 3 years prior. The Sarcoidosis was a major contributor to Bernie Mac’s death.

Bernie Mac did not die from a drug overdose like many comedians who die young, but he was tragically taken from us far before he should have been.

Sam Kinison

Sam Kinison was a Pentecostal Preacher until he got divorced. After his divorce he turned to comedy. Kinison was known as a loud, funny, and definitely dirty comedian. Sam Kinison died at age 38. When Kinison died he was found to have cocaine, various pain killers, and tranquilizers in his blood stream. Kinison however did not die from drug use; he was killed when a young man plowed into his vehicle while drunk. Kinison may have eventually died from his drug use, but instead was killed by a drunk driver.

Jim Varney

Jim Varney was best known for playing the character “Ernest”…”Know Whatta I mean Vern?”. Jim Varney had used cocaine often including being high as hell while he filmed kid’s movies such as “Ernest Goes to Camp”. Jim Varney had smoked cigarettes heavily most of his life and died at age 50 of lung cancer.

John Ritter

John Ritter was best known for his role on the sitcom “Three's Company”. John Ritter died unexpectedly at age 54 of Aortic Dissection. Ritter’s death was sudden and there was no sign that he had a problem that would take his life.

Death of Comedians

We all die eventually, but most of us would like to live to be a fair age. You can take all the pre-cautions possible such as exercising, not smoking, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but even with all of these precautions you may die young if you get hit by a drunk driver or have a medical condition.


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Comments

Jul 9, 2011 9:34am
mooncat22
Good article Ernie. One you didn't mention was John Candy who died at 43 of a heart attack. He was one of my favorites, a great comedian and actor.
Jul 9, 2011 12:22pm
Ernie
Good point. I had John Candy on my rough draft and somehow forgot to add him iin. John Candy was very funny.
Oct 19, 2011 2:31pm
pastorkayte
Very interesting article Ernie, I thought it was a very good article.
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