David A. Arnold, a comedian, actor, writer, and producer who headlined two Netflix comedy specials and was a writer/producer on the Fuller House reboot, passed away unexpectedly last night. He was 54.
The Arnold family issued a statement confirming the death. “It is with great sadness that we confirm the untimely passing of our husband, father, brother, and friend, David A. Arnold. David passed away peacefully today in his home and doctors have ruled the cause of death due to natural causes. Please keep our family in prayer and respect our privacy at this time, as we are all shocked and devastated by this loss.”
Arnold started out as a stand-up comic, performing at the Montreal Comedy Festival and on Jamie Foxx’s Laffapalooza on Comedy Central, among other projects.
He wrote for several comedy series, including Meet The Browns (TBS), The Rickey Smiley Show (TV One), Raising Whitley (OWN) and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (TBS). He also created and was executive producer and showrunner on Nickelodeon’s hit series That Girl Lay Lay, making him one of few Black showrunners in Hollywood.
“We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of our dear friend and creative partner, David A. Arnold,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “David was an immense talent and a gifted storyteller with a wide range of fans, from adults through his stand-up, to kids and families through the Nickelodeon show he created and executive produced for us, That Girl Lay Lay. On behalf of everyone at Nickelodeon, we send our thoughts and condolences to his family, his friends, and his fans.”
Arnold’s first stand-up comedy special on Netflix, David A. Arnold: Fat Ballerina, debuted in 2019. His follow-up comedy special on the streamer, It Ain’t For The Weak, premiered July 19.
At the time of his sudden death, Arnold was three stops into a four-month national comedy tour.
Chris Spencer issued a statement mourning his best friend. “Our closely knit comedy community mourns the loss of one of the greatest to ever do it. He was admired by his peers, respected by other veterans, and looked up to by the burgeoning comedians that he mentored. He will be deeply missed, especially by his comedy fraternity.”
Survivors include his wife, Julie L. Harkness, and two children, Anna-Grace and Ashlyn.