Patrice O'Neal grew up in Roxbury, MA across the street from the projects. Even though the buildings on both sides of the street were brick and looked just alike, Patrice and his friends let the kids from the projects know the distinction - Patrice's and his friend's buildings were privately owned and they took pride in that. The pickup football games became "Projects vs. Private Property" - the trash talking that went on during those games honed Patrice's early comic sensibility.
In high school Patrice's talent in football was recognised and he was recruited by the coach at Mortheastern University. But Patrice hated playing football... he really wanted to be a comic. And so it was. He attended Northeastern University, but studied thatre arts. He never played football again.
Patrice got his forst real tatse of standup at a place called "Estelle's" in Boston, where he heckled a comic. The comic suggested maybe Patrice thought he could do better. Patrice did - the following week, Patrice went up at the club abd brought down the house. From there he went on to work at The Comedy Connection and then moved to working at most of the clubs in and around Boston, New England and New York.
Now, years later, Patrice has a wide range of comedic tools - from whispers and tiny facial expressions to animated movement and shouting. In one bit, Patrice at 6'5" and 300+ lbs, makes the audience hear and almost see the story of an eastern gymnast quietly speaking of her difficult upbringing and training. The Boston Globe said, "It is a hilarious piece, made all the more so by the contradiction between Oneal's very visible presence and that of the tiny, toung white girl he is playing".
Asked to whom he aspires, Patrice mentions only two names: George Carlin and Richard Pryor; Carlin for his distinct point of view and universal appeal; Pryor for his honesty, vulnerability and personal revelation.
Patrice has appeared on many many TV shows in the USA, and will be appearing on the Comedy Factory for Dutch TV. He is making his debut appearance at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is set to become one of the regular visitors to the UK Comedy Circuit.
Patrice currently makes his home in New York Coty.