Brian Reich, a veteran comedy writer known for his work on Late Night With Conan O’Brien where he created such memorable characters as Masturbating Bear and Pimpbot 5000, died Sept. 12 in Los Angeles. He was 53.
Reich, born April 5, 1969, was a Harvard Lampoon alum. His first job out of college was as a writer on NBC’s Late Night With David Letterman at the end of the run. He then segued to Late Night With Conan O’Brien when the former Saturday Night Live writer took over the late-night talk show. During his five-year tenure, Reich helped establish the show as one of its key writers and creator of several signature characters.
“I am so saddened by the news that we’ve lost the hilarious Brian Reich,” O’Brien wrote on Twitter. “He was such an inventively funny and daring comedy writer and he gave our Late Night show so much brilliant silliness. My condolences to everyone who knew and loved Brian.”
Reich went on to work on Steve Levitan’s Just Shoot Me! and Eagleheart starring Chris Elliott. He collaborated frequently with former Late Night with Conan O’Brien head writer Robert Smigel, including on Saturday Night Live‘s Saturday TV Funhouse, Triumph’s Election Watch 2016 and Let’s Be Real.
“One of the funniest people I’ve ever known, my friend Brian Reich, passed away Monday,” Smigel wrote on Twitter last Friday.
Reich’s series credits also included Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America?
“Brian was extremely kind, even nurturing, to me on Brooklyn Nine Nine,” comedy writer-producer Brigitte Munoz-Liebowitz wrote online. “I was a baby writer, a nervous kid among pros I had idolized my whole life, and Brian always took the time to include me in bits or give me a ride to set. I will remember his kindness and his unique gift for comedy always.”