'Last Comic Standing' finalist Mike DeStefano dies
Comedian Mike DeStefano, a finalist on the most recent season of "Last Comic Standing," died Sunday of a heart attack, his rep confirmed Monday to various media outlets. He was 44.
Punchline magazine had a revealing -- and (warning) a very profanity-filled -- interview with DeStefano during the run of the NBC show last year.
Asked which comics he'd want in the room for the last or the best performance of his life, DeStefano referenced his friend Greg Giraldo, the "Last Comic Standing" judge who died in September a few days after an overdose of prescription medication.
"In LA, just waking up to the sad news about Mike DeStefano. He helped so many people. I'm glad he was my friend," Jim Norton, another comic on DeStefano's list, tweeted Monday.
The blunt-talking DeStefano, who was a drug counselor before getting into comedy, had overcome heroin addiction and coped with the loss of his wife to AIDS. He'd been HIV-positive since the 1980s, writing for Poz in 1998 about being a "long-term nonprogressor" and "not fitting in with the AIDS community."
"Last Comic Standing" was a departure from the norm. "Guys like me don't do shows like that -- guys like me don't even attempt that," he told Punchline.
DeStefano had been scheduled Wednesday to perform a preview of his one-man show "A Cherry Tree in the Bronx" at the Barrow Street Theatre, an appearance he tweeted would his "Last nyc show for a while. Love to see u there."
-- Christie D'Zurilla