Young Stand-Up Star’s Sudden Death Stuns Comedy World

Rising comedy star Jan Knight died Thursday night, but his family has not released a cause of death
Jesse Grant/Peacock/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jak Knight, a stand-up comic poised for stardom after co-creating and starring in the new Peacock series “Bust Down,” died Thursday night at the age of 28.

The up-and-coming star’s death stunned the close-knit comedy community, with members calling him a “phenom” who was “unapologetically hilarious.” Knight’s family announced his death in Los Angeles through a representative, but no details were forthcoming.

“Knight’s loved ones ask that their privacy please be respected during this extremely difficult time,” the rep said.

Knight was a rising talent on the brink of a breakout. After writing for hit shows including the Netflix comedy “Big Mouth” and working on ABC’s “Black-ish,” Knight took on an all-encompassing role in “Bust Down.” The show, which debuted in March, co-stars Chris Redd, Sam Jay, and Langston Kerman as  four friends who work at a casino in Gary, Indiana.

The Seattle native also did stand-up comedy and appeared on a 2018 Netflix special. In an interview that year with Respect, Knight said he was inspired to be a comic by Dave Chappelle, who he would eventually open for on tour.

In the same interview, he raved about writing for “Big Mouth” and voicing the character of DeVon.

“Being a writer is amazing and just being in the room with some of the most brilliant people alive, and I get to sit across the table with people like Jordan Peele and Maya Rudolph,” he said. “It’s surreal but it’s a lot of work, work.”

Tributes poured in Friday for the young comedian.

“We are devastated by the passing of Jak Knight,” read a joint statement from Knight’s “Bust Down” team and Universal Television. “He was a brilliant comedian, visionary and artist and we were all lucky to experience his greatness. Our hearts are with Jak’s family, friends and community during this heartbreaking time.”

Comedy Central tweeted that Knight was “a hysterical and honest comedian. We will miss him tremendously.”

Rapper FlyLo called Knight “unapologetically bold and hilarious.”

“A phenom,” tweeted Eddie Della Siepe. “An incredible talent and more importantly a great guy.”

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