A Twitter post by Jimmy Kimmel had me searching the Internet for hours last night and this morning. Twitter is simultaneously the place for legitimate breaking news and for ridiculous celebrity death rumors. Jimmy had heard that comedian Robert Schimmel had died and was inclined to believe it. Robert has defeated death so many times in the past that I wanted to believe it was a hoax. I truly enjoyed his raw, truthful comedy and had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing him perform several times.
Early this morning, writer Sean L. McCarthy posted on his site, The Comic’s Comic, that Robert’s death was confirmed via a Facebook post by his brother Jeff Schimmel. Jeff worked as a comedy writer at several Los Angeles radio stations. Our paths crossed a couple of times after Jeff had successful surgery to remove a brain tumor. I recall that he refused to use cell phones as a result.
Robert was in a serious car accident with his teenage daughter and young son on August 26. The kids seem to be doing okay but Robert’s condition was complicated by his need for a new liver. His adult daughter wrote about it on her blog on August 31. His sister wrote about it on her blog the following day.
In 1996, Robert Schimmel’s first CD came across my desk at KLOS. His publicist said it would be a career-making project for the comedian and he was right. I booked him as a guest on the Mark & Brian show. Over the years, Robert did a few gigs for us. His extremely adult-themed material was a perfect fit at a couples-only event where we had Joe Rogan as a co-headliner. It was a raucous night.