R.I.P. Robert Schimmel
As reported by Yahoo! and others: Standup comic and staple of The Howard Stern Show Robert Schimmel died Friday in a Phoenix hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was 60. His 19-year-old daughter Aliyah had been driving the vehicle on August 26 when the accident took place; she survived the crash, as did Schimmel's 11-year-old son, who was also a passenger.
Schimmel's career began in earnest in 1986, when Rodney Dangerfield invited him to appear on his HBO Young Comedians Special. From there Schimmel became a writer for In Living Color, Yakov Smirnoff, and Jimmie Walker; appeared on Hollywood Squares and Late Night With Conan O'Brien; released five comedy albums; recorded a Showtime special titled Life Since Then; and became a fixture on Howard Stern, where his deadpan yet raunchy style fit perfectly.
This wasn't Schimmel's first encounter with death. He survived a heart attack in 1998; recently announced he'd contracted cirrhosis after a hepatitis C-infected blood transfusion he'd received while in the Air Force decades ago; and battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which he beat (and wrote about in his 2008 book, Cancer On $5 A Day* *(Chemo Not Included): How Humor Got Me Through The Toughest Journey Of My Life). He'd also previously lost a young son to cancer. Most of these experiences wound up as raw material for his standup.
Schimmel wasn't a flashy, populist comic—but, like his heroes Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, he neither was one to whitewash or compromise. Here's a clip from his standup where he warmly remembers the night his mentor Rodney Dangerfield, drunk and stoned, tried to pick up Schimmel's elderly mother: