Comedian Kevin Barnett has died of unknown causes while he was vacationing in Mexico. He was just 32-years-old.
While his name may not be too familiar, his work — mainly behind-the-scenes — has been seen by the masses.
Barnett has written scripts and served as a producer for television shows such as Broad City, The Carmichael Show, Lucas Bros. Moving Co., and Unhitched. He also helped pen big screen movies The Heartbreak Kid and Hall Pass.
He created the TruTV sketch comedy series Friends of the People, which ran for two seasons starting in the fall of 2014. He also starred in the show alongside the likes of comics Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler, and Keith and Kenny Lucas.
Last September, the sitcom Rel, which Barnett created along with Howery and Josh Rabinowitz, debuted on Fox. The series starring Lil Rel, Sinbad, Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore, and Jordan L. Jones currently airs on Sunday nights.
“Our hearts are broken, as are those of everyone at Rel, at the news of Kevin Barnett’s passing,” Fox and the show’s production company, 20th Century Fox Television, said in a statement, according to E! News.
“He was an incredibly funny, wildly talented man who had so much more to do and so many more stories to tell. We send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family during this difficult time.”
Barnett was also one of the co-hosts of The Roundtable of Gentlemen podcast for the Last Podcast Network.
In the wake of his death, several comedians and actors who either worked with or knew Barnett personally posted tributes to him on social media.
“Rest In Peace Kevin Barnett. Too young, just too, too young,” stated actor David Alan Grier on Twitter. The two men had worked together on NBC’s The Carmichael Show.
Another star of that program, actress Amber Stevens West, said that she is “shocked and saddened.”
“A hilarious, smart and humble man. We lost a good one,” she wrote on Twitter.
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Goodbye to our brother: The thought of never hearing another one of your brilliantly layered stories saddens us. You were a comedic savant. Being able to absorb your genius during our many wonderful experiences together fundamentally changed our perspective on life. About a week before your passing, we had dinner along with Ilana and Josh. You were your usual birdluger self: confident yet fully capable of displaying your vulnerabilities in a humorous way. Your story about harassing Josh during New Year’s literally had us in tears. As we were walking into an elevator, you said to me: what is evidence? Per usual, I had a difficult time deciphering the meaning of the phrase. We stayed up til 2 in the morning, laughing and reminiscing about the good ole times. That night, the evidence was clear: It reminded us why comedy is such a beautiful art. And why your particular brand of comedy stood above the rest. The friends you make along your journey make the ride so much more enriching. Your spirit was ubiquitous. You inspired us to be better artists. But more importantly you inspired us to be better humans. Upon the conclusion of our night, we hugged and said we love each other. We never thought that’d be the last time we saw you. We will miss you so much. Love you brother. Rest easy my nigga. Kevin may be gone. But: BIRDLUGER is forever!!!
“Kevin Barnett was a beautifully fearless and funny soul. My heart aches for his family and all who ever had the chance to work with him. RIP,” tweeted comedian Roy Wood, Jr.
i am so sad https://t.co/ScYINWIgvF
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) January 22, 2019
“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,” tweeted TV writer and producer Mike Scully.
I texted Kevin a few years ago out of the blue “wanna go to Hawaii” and he’s the only person I’ve ever known who would just respond “let’s do it.” This photo was the next day.
— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) January 22, 2019
“What a crushing loss. Such a funny comic, one of the nicest people,” comic Sam Morril wrote on Twitter.
“He was the guy you could laugh with in the back of the room, the guy you were always happy to see. I honestly never heard a comic say a bad thing about him, which is near impossible. Kevin was a real one. I’m sad I won’t see him again.”