Comedy Entertainment

Comedians that died too young

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There are many comedians who have died too young. Though they are no longer with us, their work continues to bring laughter to all of us. Here are a few unfortunate examples:


John Belushi

Belushi was a talented comedian and actor best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and films such as "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers." He died of a drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 33.

Chris Farley

Farley was a popular comedian and actor known for his energetic and physical style of comedy. He appeared on Saturday Night Live and in films such as "Tommy Boy" and "Beverly Hills Ninja." Farley died of a drug overdose in 1997 at the age of 33.

Phil Hartman

Hartman was a talented comedian, actor, and voice actor known for his work on Saturday Night Live and in films such as "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" and "NewsRadio." He was tragically killed by his wife in a murder-suicide in 1998 at the age of 49.

Mitch Hedberg

Hedberg was a stand-up comedian known for his unique style and clever, absurdist one-liners. He died of a drug overdose in 2005 at the age of 37.

Greg Giraldo

Giraldo was a stand-up comedian and television personality known for his appearances on Comedy Central roasts and his stand-up specials. He died in 2010 at the age of 44 due to complications from an overdose of prescription medication.

Garry Shandling

Shandling was a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer known for his work on The Larry Sanders Show and It's Garry Shandling's Show. He died in 2016 at the age of 66 due to complications from a blood clot in his lungs.

Bill Hicks

The tragic death of Bill Hicks has been regarded as one of the most influential voices in comedy. Despite passing away prematurely, the comic was a brilliant satirist and darkly honest comedian who could eviscerate any subject with the ferocity of a chain-smoking attack dog.

One of the best comedians ever, he influenced a generation of comedians, for better or for worse (Patton Oswalt, Denis Leary, who some claim lifted Hicks' act wholesale).

In 1994, Hicks passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 32. The comics that he inspired continue to carry on his legacy, even though he died too young.

Bernie Mac

A year after paying his dues in comedy clubs, Bernie Mac finally gained national exposure in the early 2000s, after participating in Spike Lee's "Original Kings of Comedy" concert tour. His success continued, as he got top billing in feature films and starred in his own Fox sitcom, "The Bernie Mac Show."

In his comedy, he often focused on how difficult life can be, but always in an honest, funny way. At age 50, Mac died of complications from pneumonia after suffering from the autoimmune disease sarcoidosis.


Sam Kinison

He influenced a whole generation of comedians with his long hair, hard partying, and screaming delivery of "Oh OOOOOOOOHHHH!" He was the first heavy-metal comic.

Formerly a preacher, Kinison's routines often resembled sermons: he drew you in and made you listen to his gospel of comedy. While Sam Kinison also struggled with substance abuse problems, it was neither drugs nor alcohol that killed him. Six days after getting married, he was killed in a car accident in 1992.


Andy Kaufman

From lip-synching "Mighty Mouse" on "Saturday Night Live" to playing Latka Gravas on "Taxi," Andy Kaufman was one of comedy's greatest oddballs.

In the late part of his career, he performed as an alternate personality, Tony Clifton, a nightclub singer. There appears to have been nothing but offbeat, anti-comedy stunts in Kaufman's comedy ventures.

A health freak his entire life, Kaufman was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer at age 34 and died just one year later. His comedy might have taken a different turn in the future!
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