Robert Schimmel

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Robert Schimmel
Robert Schimmel.jpg
Schimmel in 2009
Birth name Robert George Schimmel
Born (1950-01-16)January 16, 1950
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died September 3, 2010(2010-09-03) (aged 60)
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
Nationality American

Robert George "Bob" Schimmel (January 16, 1950 – September 3, 2010) was an American stand-up comedian whose material was often X-rated and controversial.[1] He was best known for his comedy albums and his frequent appearances on HBO and The Howard Stern Show. Schimmel is number 76 on the 2004 program Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups Of All Time.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Schimmel was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Betty and Otto Schimmel, Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.[3] He was voted class clown during high school and was in the United States Air Force for one year during the Vietnam War.[4] A resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, his career began when, at the urging of his sister, he performed at a comedy club's open-mic night. A club owner in Los Angeles offered to make him a regular, but when Schimmel moved there he found that the club had burned down.[5]

Undaunted, and with some help from Rodney Dangerfield, who invited him to perform on his HBO Young Comedians Special, Schimmel began making a name for himself.[6] He wrote material for In Living Color and for comedians such as Yakov Smirnoff and Jimmie Walker.[7]

Schimmel married his first wife, Vicki, in 1977, and they had four children together. Their son Derek died from cancer at the age of 11.[8] Schimmel later divorced and remarried, having two sons with his second wife, Melissa.

Comedic style[edit]

Schimmel cited Lenny Bruce as his all-time comedy hero.[9] Schimmel incorporated many aspects of his personal life into his act, even his cancer and the death of his son. In one signature bit, Schimmel joked about making obscene suggestions to a lady from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.[7] His act was described as raunchy and sexually explicit, which he claimed as the reason he never appeared on network television.[10] He said his inappropriate comments on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Hollywood Squares got him disinvited, though he later returned to O'Brien's program.[11] However, his edgy style made him a hit on The Howard Stern Show.

Personal life[edit]

As an adult, Schimmel suffered from cancer and had one of his testicles removed.[12]

In 1998, Schimmel suffered a heart attack[citation needed]. In June 2000, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.[citation needed] His treatments included chemotherapy and required long stays in the hospital.[citation needed] Schimmel's cancer went into remission Schimmel divorced Vicki and married Melissa shortly thereafter.[citation needed][13]

Schimmel was arrested in Calabasas, California on May 2, 2009 as a result of an alleged confrontation between himself and his wife Melissa. The district attorney eventually declined to press charges, citing insufficient evidence.[14] On May 8, 2009, Melissa Schimmel filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[15]

During an interview on The Howard Stern Show on January 28, 2010, Schimmel announced that he developed cirrhosis as a result of a hepatitis C infection from a blood transfusion that he received while in the Air Force. His cirrhosis had progressed to the point that he was working to be added to the waiting list for a donated liver.[1]

Death[edit]

On August 26, 2010, Schimmel was a passenger in a car driven by his 19-year-old daughter, Aliyah in Scottsdale. The car flipped onto its side and came to a stop in the shoulder of the Loop 101 freeway .[16][17] Schimmel was hospitalized in serious condition, while Aliyah was hospitalized in stable condition. Schimmel’s son Jacob, also in the car at the time, was not injured.[18]

On September 3, 2010, Schimmel died of his injuries.[19] He is interred at the Paradise Memorial Gardens[20] in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Works[edit]

Albums

  • Comes Clean, Warner Bros. Records, 1996.
  • If You Buy this CD, I Can Get this Car, Warner Bros. Records, 1998.
  • Unprotected, Warner Bros. Records, 1999.
  • Reserection, Warner Bros. Records, 2004.
  • Life Since Then, Image Entertainment, 2009.

Book

  • Cancer on Five Dollars a Day* (*chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life. Da Capo Press, 2008

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wilson, Eric (September 4, 2010). Robert Schimmel, 60, Provocative Comic, Dies. New York Times
  2. ^ Loughlin, Sean (November 22, 2007) Casino Scene. Press of Atlantic City
  3. ^ Bickley, Tami (October 8, 1999). "Behind the act, comic says he's 'just a regular guy'." Jewish News of Greater Phoenix[dead link][dead link]
  4. ^ Beggy & Stoughton (November 16, 2002). Letting fly some jokes; championing children; here's to tennis's bud. Boston Globe
  5. ^ Blowen, Michael (October 23, 1998). "Schimmel gets jokes the hard way." Boston Globe
  6. ^ Vaughan, Robin (November 5, 1999). Comedy; "Schimmel's a regular, stand-up guy." Boston Herald
  7. ^ a b Brownfield, Paul (October 13, 1998). Risque Business; "Comic Robert Schimmel, in Brea This Week, Is Happy Being Blue." Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ Deena Beasley (September 5, 2010). "U.S. Comedian Robert Schimmel Dies After Car Accident" ABC News/Entertainment, ABC[dead link]
  9. ^ Rusnak, Jeff (August 27, 1998). Blue comic doesn't need Clinton gags. South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  10. ^ Parks, Steve (January 26, 2001). Bald Humor / Robert Schimmel, a stand-up guy, fights cancer with chemo and comedy. New York Newsday
  11. ^ Board, Josh (January 17, 2009). Angel at the Fence -- The Comedy of Robert Schimmel. San Diego Reader
  12. ^ http://www.jewishjournal.com/theater/article/robert_schimmel_cancer_through_a_lens_comedic_20080924/
  13. ^ Wilson, Eric (September 4, 2010). "Robert Schimmel, Provocative Comedian, Dies at 60". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ Moore, Tina (May 2, 2009). Comedian Robert Schimmel, regular on Howard Stern show, arrested for allegedly beating up his wife. New York Daily News
  15. ^ Associated Press (May 21, 2009). "Comedian Schimmel won't face assault charges in L.A." Seattle Times
  16. ^ Young, John (August 28, 2010). Comedian Robert Schimmel in serious condition after car accident. Entertainment Weekly
  17. ^ Quizon, Derek (September 4, 2010). "Scottsdale comedian Robert Schimmel dies after car accident". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ Schapiro, Rich (September 4, 2010). "Comedian Robert Schimmel dies after car accident in Arizona". New York: Nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  19. ^ "Comedian Robert Schimmel Dies After Car Accident". ABCnews. September 4, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  20. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=58163798

External links[edit]