Notable Deaths ›

Kevin Barnett (2019), comedian, writer

Getty Images / New York Magazine / Bryan Bedder

R.I.P. Kevin Barnett, comedian and ‘Rel’ co-creator

Kevin Barnett was a standup comedian and co-creator of “Rel,” a sitcom starring Lil Rel Howery that debuted on Fox in September 2018. Barnett had also been a writer for Comedy Central's sitcom “Broad City” as well as cohost of the weekly podcast “The Roundtable of Gentlemen,” head writer for the sketch comedy show “Friends of the People,” and a cast member and writer on MTV2's “Guy Code.”

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Died: January 22 (Who else died on January 22?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 32.


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A multitalented artist: Barnett went to high school at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he played baritone sax in the band and considered becoming a professional musician. He pursued a music major at Florida State University before switching to a physical therapy major. But he had the opportunity to do standup comedy in college, opening for established comics who performed at the school, and there he discovered his calling.

Notable quote: “I think that ultimately, comedy and music are very similar. All you're doing is trying to figure yourself out to the utmost degree. You have to really understand yourself, and then you try to convey that to the world and hopefully it resonates with others.” —Barnett in a 2017 interview with Dreyfoos School of the Arts

What people said about him: “Kevin Barnett was a great standup, but I knew him as a smart, funny, talented TV writer and just a really sweet guy who made the insanity of the late nights more fun. Condolences to his family and friends. Can't believe I'm writing this.” —Mike Scully, comedy writer who worked with Barnett on “Rel”

“I was trying to figure out what to say but I can't I'm truly heartbroken by this and just really hurt as the hours pass… So gifted and so dope and a true friend!!!!” —Lil Rel Howery


See Kevin Barnett and other modern era comics in our gallery


Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter

Related lives:

Bernie Mac (1957 - 2008), standup comedian and television and movie star

Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005), highly influential standup comedian

Harris Wittels (1984 - 2015), TV writer for "Parks and Recreation"

We invite you to share condolences for Kevin Barnett in our Guest Book.

 

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