Michael Roof AKA “Chicken” R.I.P.

First off I gotta apologize for the length of this entry , but you know me , if I got something to say … Imma say it , it’s my blog and I’ll vent if I want to … Some you might know  This kid … images-99Michael Roof … he committed suicide early this week …  at 32 …  comedian / actor , this kid was a casualty of probably to much , and maybe way too young . I don’t want to blame the industry that we work in on his death totally … but it goes to show how big a monster Hollywood can be … chew you up and spit you out when it’s  sucked all the life out of you . This … kid … I had the pleasure of knowing since my comedy career started , I mean the very beginning … and as I write this it makes me sad that I can only call him an acquaintance … I had the opportunity to be his friend and I didn’t take it … for a lot of reasons … I  think some comics , to include myself , who knew him maybe , and sadly , saw this coming for some of his lifestyle choices , you know , after the show stuff … and probably for this reason I kinda shied away … he had some issues , hell I  got em’  we all got em’ … but I did know him , and even after he got movies and two televisions shows he starred in , he was always nice to me … and I was always glad to see him … but we didn’t talk on the phone or keep in touch … I wish I had now …

In late 97  or early 98 I got a call from the Comedy House Theater in Savannah … asked me if I wanted to open for a certain BET star … a female and not that it made a difference but   … of course I do  ,  this was to be my first paying gig … and with a big BET star … I get to the club and she is giving the riot act to this … kid … about how she didn’t want a ” white ” comedian opening on her show … and that she didn’t care if he stayed or left the club was going to pay him any way … and if he did stay he could do only 10 minutes … and that certain jokes he did , he couldn’t do em’ because she did similar material . This is my first paying gig and my first encounter with the hierarchy of comedy . The Headliner usually gets what he or she wants , after all that’s who everyone came to see …

This … kid took it all  … without saying a word , in my ignorance I didn’t know what was going on but this was my first paying gig , I kinda stayed out of it for the moment  , but thinking to myself what I was witnessing … was not cool … at the time I thought all comics were funny , somewhat happy people … He decided to stay and work the week … he did 10 minutes … and totally … destroyed the room … every single show … to a predominantly black audience … relentless energy and fearless … and he kept killing em’ …  and after every show he and a couple of his friends would leave , and not hang out and I felt so bad that before the week was over I found myself apologizing to him  … like for black people … cause for reasons I didn’t know then ,  she didn’t like him … but I thought he was hilarious , and so did the majority black crowd …  which packed the club all week … they loved him … and when I tried to tell this … kid … I was sorry … he said ” man don’t sweat that … but thank you , I appreciate it …  I’ll let her deal with that …” and that was it … and maybe that’s why we always got along … later in my career we’d work together and he would get me work … I was opening for this … kid who was 10-15 years younger that I … but I did start late in my career … but he was always nice to me … but maybe I should have been a better friend …

I saw this… charisma and crazy energy  the few times after that when our paths would cross on the road , standing ovations almost every night  … if you images-98 recognize him he had big roles in big box office movies like ” Black Hawk Down ” , ” Triple X ( 1 and 2) ” The Dukes of Hazzard” , had a sketch comedy show on the WB network ” Hype” and a show recently on Spike TV ” Raising the Roofs” … but even after all that … the last time I worked with him he did not seem happy … I walked in Deja Vu Comedy Club in Columbia , Missouri maybe 2 -3 years ago … and as always … we’d greet each other with a hug , he introduced me to his friend who was traveling with him , I congratulated him on everything , he told his buddy how far back ” he and I went ” how we started around the same time … and the shows we did were great … he would always say how strong a comedian I’d become and other nice things … then we parted at the end of the gig … and didn’t talk again … I now wish we had …

Any comic will tell you … we all want the brass ring … performing is the fun part , but entertaining is what we all strive to do … the beauty of comedy is that it is so subjective , everybody cannot make everybody laugh … but if you don’t laugh at this person …  that person will pull it out of you …performers aim to please trust me , even if a comic ain’t funny … it’s not because  he or she doesn’t want to be … Michael was entertaining , if you had the pleasure of watching  him perform you know what I’m talking about … it was madness …

This business can be ugly , and mean and when it doesn’t need you anymore , you’re gone … I love show business , cause I love the shows … the craft and the art of stand up … and if you do it right , the end result is wonderful , some say better than sex and I understand that …  but some douche bag club owner once told me  ,  ” it should be  Business Show … cause without the business aspect , there will be no show ” the clubs have got to make money , I get that … but comedy is taking a hit now and it’s sometimes cheating the fans … there are more good clubs and club owners  than bad , true  … but these days lots of clubs book celebrity instead of talent … it’s not about quality … it’s about quantity , how many people can and will pay a big ticket price , drink as much booze as possible … and leave saying ” I saw that guy on TV , but he wasn’t as funny tonight …” think about it … when they could make money off this … kid , they threw the world at him … but somewhere on his rise , he stopped rising , probably two years before he hit it … he was the hottest comic in the game … all of a sudden you’re not the ” Flavor of the Month ” anymore … and you’re out … Hollywood is a beast … Some people though Dave Chapelle was crazy for walking away from 50 million … Martin Lawrence walking around with a gun in his underwear … Mariah Carey losing it , Brittany Spears … presuure will burst a pipe … ask youself what’s more important … making 50 million … or trying to keep from losing it ? Especially with someone breathing down your neck saying we need more , more , more  .. .but it goes with the territory …
Some may read this and say ” Spanky’s bitter … even jealous … cause he hadn’t hit  it yet ” … I don’t care what anyone thinks but God ………… and # 19  : ) … and I say he works it all out for a reason … if I’d started comedy at 25 instead of 35 … someone could be writing this about me quite possibly … if I do nothing else … Imma keep it real  …

God Bless you “Chicken ” … I pray for your soul and your family … he leaves his Parents , a wife and three young boys … I hope you find peace in the next life … I wish you had more here … I wish I’d been a better friend to you … I’m Jus’ Sayin’…

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14 Comments

  1. HEY SPANKY I AM REALLY SORRY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR FRIEND. I HOPE YOU WILL FIND PEACE IN THIS BLOG. IT IS A GREAT BLOG AND A FANTASTIC TRIBUTE TO YOUR FRIEND.

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  2. that was my uncle he was funny all the time when it was somthing bad or good that was just him.

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  3. Hey man,
    Met him at Montreal when he blew up. Sad news. Jeni, MItch, hell we are all a fucked up bunch of lovable assholes. If there is a benefit of fund for the family please E-mail me.
    You did him proud.

    Christopher Titus

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  4. Hi Spanky, You nailed it with this piece. I spent almost 50 hours with Michael on the set of the Dukes of Hazzard. He was the best at improv that I have ever seen. We were in the motel room after filming, almost every night, playing guitar and yuking it up. He would say pick any subject and then do a rap song about it that…well as an actor I couldn’t laugh at it. As an actor and human being I just set there in utter amazement and with a profound appreciation for such massive skill. I did talk to him twice when he was in Atlanta but he quit returning call’s and I quit calling. Guess I should have been more persistant. May God rest your soul Michael and God bless you wife and children and mother and father.

    Mitch

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  5. I met Chicken 10 years ago while working at Deja Vu comedy club as a waitress during college. Coincidentally, we had grown up in the same area of Florida, and had similar memories of the craziness of home. When we later met up in L.A., he was still crazy, brilliant, and wonderful. I loved Michael for everything he was, and everything he wasn’t as well. My hope is that his wife and children are able to find some peace in this. May they always know that their Daddy was truly one of a kind; he was the funniest, most talented and introspective man I’ve ever known. My heart goes out to all of his family. Michael Roof will not be forgotten.
    Sarah

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  6. I went to high school overseas with Mike. Back then he was always saying that he wanted to make it big. I just got the news when I went on our Yokota AB High School Alumni website at http://www.tippyturtle.com. He always had crazy antics and knew how to throw the punchline (even though it was natural for him) at the right time. Mike wanted show business REAL bad. This was back when he was 16 or so, so I can imagine how he felt when people like Eric Bana, Frank Caliendo and others were making it big and he was quote, unquote left in the dust. He was really really good at making people laugh and I will miss him.

    C/O 95

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  7. Spanky,
    I wanted to tell you THANK YOU for writing such a wonderful piece about my husband. It has been 10 months since he has been gone and I am just now reading what has been written.You are right about many points. I remember meeting you and he always had good, kind things to say about you. Thank you for remembering him…he is in our hearts always. I would say that I miss him but, that is too much of an understatement.
    Megan

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    • Megan …
      first I want to say you and the kids have my deepest sympathy … I thought Michael was a great guy , a super talent and he loved you all very much … my words were heartfelt and sincere … I can’t believe it’s been almost a year and people still talk about him … that means you left an impression . You all are in my prayers … we all lost someone special , especially you and the kids . I was glad to know him … and I’ll always remember him … my email is spankybrown@gmail.com … let’s keep in touch …
      God Bless You
      Spank

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  8. Little Michael was my cousin who I group up with. He returned to Dunnellon for his senior year and lived our aunt penny. We spent alot of time together in high school and on and off when left. I had a real hard time inside dealing with the tradegy that happened and Megan I am so sorry for your loss. I have been thinking of him lately all the crazy stuff we did and fun times we had. Its a damn shame that he is gone now. I ask myself constantly and i first i stayed pissed off about it but i have come to realize that there is just so much a person can take before they break, some break in different ways, this was little michael way. I realized that he hurt people when he made this choice but i feel now that he did not want to hurt more people in the long run even more. Just wanted to let you know cuz I aint mad at ya I got nothing but luv for ya. Do your thing

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  9. Im just finding out about Mike aka Chicken. Im browsing IMDB & I see he passed away. Shock is an understatement. We met a few times. Whats funny is we were the 2 white guys in the late 90’s that would work the black comedy clubs. People would try to pit us against each other like who was funnier. But when we met we hit it off. Death stinks no matter how it happens I hoe his wife & kids are doing okay he really was a good guy.

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  10. Great blog article about a great guy from a great. Thank you for writing this and continue on the journey, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

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  1. Michael Roof | FTP2FTP News - [...] the comic's comic: RIP Michael Roof, aka "Chicken"Michael Roof … he committed suicide early this week … at 32…

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