Comedian Kenny DeForest tragically died on Wednesday, less than a week after being hospitalized following a serious crash in Brooklyn. He was 37 years old. According to a GoFundMe page set up by DeForest's friends, he was riding his e-bike when the crash occurred on December 8. DeForest succumbed to his injuries at Kings County Hospital five days later.
DeForest gained prominence among mainstream audiences primarily through his appearances on the late-night comedy circuit, including stand-up performances on shows such as Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Tributes have been pouring in from all corners from the moment news of his death broke.
Unfortunate and Untimely Death
Doctors tried to relieve pressure on DeForest's brain by performing a surgery that involved removing a portion of his skull, but unfortunately, the procedure was not successful. The funds raised through the GoFundMe page will be used to help his family pay for the medical expenses associated with his treatment.
Initially, family and friends believed the accident involving DeForest was due to a collision between his bike and a car.
However, after consulting a nearby crossing guard and reviewing an EMS report, DeForest's friends now suspect that he was riding an e-bike and may have somehow crashed at the intersection of Rogers Avenue and Sterling Place near Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
"We've learned more information today from an EMS report. Kenny was on an e-bike and crashed. I spoke with crossing guards at the area today, and am still in search of more information. There is no police report because it was not a hit and run as first understood," his friend Ryan Beck told Deadline.
"He was a tremendous person and comedian. All of us in the New York comedy scene are truly devastated," Beck told the website.
Family and Friends Devastated
DeForest, originally from Springfield, Missouri, had recently promoted a series of shows in his home state on his Facebook page. During his high school and college years, he was known as a basketball star.
In 2015, Comedy Central honored him by naming him one of the 'Funniest People to Watch.' Also, Brooklyn Magazine included him in their list of the 50 Funniest People in Brooklyn during the same year.
"Kenny DeForest was a universally beloved comedian who died tragically, and much too young. His relaxed, confident delivery always stood out," a touching tribute on Late Night with Seth Meyers' official X page read.
"As you can see from his debut late night set on LNSM, he wasn't afraid to tackle controversial topics, but never just to be edgy- always in service of an original angle and a great joke. It's a shame we won't get to see what he comes up with next."
In 2020, DeForest gained widespread attention when he shared a story about Dave Chappelle unexpectedly appearing at a performance in Brooklyn's Knitting Factory and engaging the audience in a discussion about police brutality against people of color.
Adam Conover, the creator of Adam Ruins Everything, paid tribute to DeForest on Instagram, describing him as "one of the funniest and beloved comics any of us knew."
Conover directed his followers to watch DeForest's recent comedy special, titled "You Don't Know Who I Am?," which was released on YouTube in September.