Charlie Barnett (comedian)

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Charlie Barnett
Born (1954-09-23)September 23, 1954
Bluefield, West Virginia, U.S.
Died March 16, 1996(1996-03-16) (aged 41)
Occupation Actor, comedian

Charlie Barnett (September 23, 1954 – March 16, 1996) was an American actor and comedian.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Barnett was born in Bluefield, West Virginia. He first made a name for himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s, performing several shows of raunchy comedy a day at outdoor parks in New York City, most notably in Washington Square Park, where he competed for crowds with musicians, frisbee players, jugglers and other entertainers. Flautist/driver Ruben Riera agrees, Charlie was one of the only street performers able to "fill the fountain" (an amphitheatre in a large circular fountain) in Washington Square Park.

In September 1980, Barnett auditioned for Saturday Night Live and producer Jean Doumanian was ready to hire him; however, Barnett was self-conscious about his poor reading skills and he skipped a follow-up reading. Barnett's spot in the cast was ultimately given to Eddie Murphy.[2][3] Barnett was jealous and resentful of Murphy for several years, although in 1983 he told Jet magazine, "Now that I'm making it, I watch Saturday Night Live every Saturday."[4]

Barnett went on to appear in film and on television. In the 1983 comedy film D.C. Cab, he played the role of Tyrone. He had a recurring role on the hit 1980s TV series Miami Vice as Neville 'Noogie' Lamont.

He also appeared on Def Comedy Jam in 1993. Although the episode was not aired on TV, the DVD release of Def Comedy Jam contains an extra DVD with "2 Raw 4 TV", which has a Barnett performance.

Barnett's last film role was in 1996 in the film They Bite.

Comedian Dave Chappelle has acknowledged Barnett as an influence and mentor. At one point Chappelle had expressed interest in doing a biopic on Barnett.


Having contracted HIV through heroin abuse, Barnett died from complications of AIDS on March 16, 1996.



  1. ^ McKeon, Conor (March 21, 2012). "Timing Is… Everything: The Story Of Charlie Barnett". Splitsider. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rubber-Faced and Razor-Tongued, Street Comedian Charlie Barnett Steps Up to the Silver Screen". People. November 14, 1983. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ Random Roles: John Witherspoon
  4. ^ "'D.C. Cab' Rolls with MR. T and High-Speed Cast". Jet. December 19, 1983. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]