The world lost one of the greatest comics of our time when Patrice O’Neal passed away on November 29, 2011.  He was a “comic’s comic,” one that everybody admired, and for good reason.  He was absolutely hysterical, challenged conventional thought, and always brought original material with a truly unique perspective.  He was, deservedly so, also a true champion of the art form.  O’Neal made many television and radio appearances defending stand-up as an artform, and the freedom of speech that it both demanded and required.  He was amazing, and one of my all-time favorites.

About six months or so before his death, Patrice O’Neal released the brilliant DVD special “Elephant In The Room.”  Shortly after his death, the label Gladys & Dude Productions announced that it would posthumously release a new CD of O’Neal’s material called “Mr. P.”  Also brilliant.  Another six months later, the same label released a second posthumous album, a 20 minute EP called “Better Than You.”  With that, I thought for sure that I would never again be privileged enough to hear any more of O’Neal’s words.

I was therefore shocked to learn that a third post-death album was being released, this time called “Unreleased.”  The album is ten tracks, 64 minutes long.  And, after everything I’ve written above, would it surprise you to learn that this album is also … brilliant?  Of course it wouldn’t surprise you, and it is brilliant.

I am not sure if the material on this album was pulled together from several sets, or was one long set.  If it is pulled together from various sets, it has been edited perfectly.  If it was one long set, I cannot believe that this was not already earmarked for a release.  That is how good the material is on this album.  After the death of Mitch Hedberg, his family released an album called “Do You Believe In Gosh?”  The album was funny, and undoubtedly adored by his fans, but was unquestionably unfinished material.  You could hear (and feel) Hedberg stumbling through some of the material, even commenting that some of it needed work.  Here, “Unreleased” has none of that.  This is all quality material.

About the only negative criticism I can make of “Unreleased” is that it also contains the same 20-minute bit found on Patrice O’Neal‘s “Better Than You” EP.  If you do not already own “Better Than You,” this is a little over an hour of new material.  But, if you already own “Better Than You,” this 64 minute album is actually only 44 new minutes.  That having been said, who am I kidding?  I would have been thankful for 10 new minutes from this comic, and will gladly take whatever I can get.

Rest in peace, Patrice.  You are missed.

Patrice O’Neal
Gladys & Dude 2013

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