Monday, March 12, 2007

Subtractions: RICHARD JENI

The best thing about working in a place with 10,000 employees, is that there are so many great people to choose from when making friends. In the early 90's that was the case when my casino opened. On a given break you could always count on someone decent to hang with. Moreover, there were times that so many friends gathered together that seats had to be reserved at the long tables for the latecomers.

One off-shoot of those days became our monthly poker nights...which just celebrated its 15th anniversary...even though we only meet about five times a year now. Another scion was the formation of a (Thursday-Friday days off) clique. At a time before family responsibility overwhelmed us and new casino venues around the country splintered us, large groups of couples, plus singles would meet on our days off. A lot of my MORE GLIB ThAN PROFOUND readers will remember that because you were in the group. We went to the movies, bowling, the Greek Fair, restaurants and the like. But mostly we went to each others houses.

I remember FrankieRio once brought a VHS tape of a comedian that I never heard of to Doreen's house. Frankie hyped the guy as the funniest up-and-coming stand-up superstar, and the tape was indeed hilarious. The comic's name was Richard Jeni and I unfortunately stress the word "was" because I just read that Jeni died today of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Jeni (49) from Brooklyn, never became a household name nor did he reach the heights that Frankie projected for him. But if you examine his list of credits, he was quite successful and seemed to have plenty to live for. I'm sure an investigation will shed some light into the underlying motives that led to this tragedy.

I liked being a part of our "rat-pack" and sometimes wish those days could be recaptured. And in those remembrances, I'll always associate Richard Jeni doing his Platypus-Man routine. Even if you are not familiar with his work, trust me, we lost a good one.

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