Comedian Patrice O’Neal died in 2011, and now his former fiancee Von Decarlo and producer/director Mark Farrell have launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund a documentary about his life and work called Better Than You – The Official Patrice O’Neal Documentary.
The producers told Indiewire:
We want to do this movie the way Patrice led his life and his work, the way he would have wanted us to make it, and that means keeping creative control. Once a studio or network is financing, the very imminent danger is that they would force certain changes just because of financing and internal politics – changes that would not honor Patrice’s relentless pursuit of the truth. We want to preserve his brutal honesty and not sugar coat it in a way that may seem more commercially appealing to executives. In fact, Bill Burr told us (and his words reflect most other top comics) that he would only do an appearance in the movie if it is done ‘the right way, the way Patrice led his life and the way he would condone.’
An authentic movie about Patrice O’Neal would likely be impossible to secure studio funding for due to the controversial nature of O’Neal’s material. The title of the movie comes from one of his last bits, about how men are better than women. The comic’s extreme views on how men and women relate to each other, as well as his ability to somehow make such extreme, offensive, and often flat-out wrong views funny and seem to not come from a place of hate, made him one of the most unique and thought-provoking comedians of his generation.
A fan-made documentary is available on YouTube, but it’s mostly a compilation of clips, and doesn’t really get into the comic’s complex, contradictory life. Watch the pitch video below.