David A. Arnold dead at 54: Comedian and showrunner worked for Netflix, Nickelodeon

David A. Arnold, a comedian and showrunner known for his stand-up work and as the creator and showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “That Girl Lay Lay,” died unexpectedly Wednesday. He was 54 years old.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm the untimely passing of our husband, father, brother and friend, David A. Arnold,” Arnold’s family said in a statement. “David passed away peacefully today at his home and doctors have ruled the cause of death to be 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’s death came as a surprise to industry insiders. He was affiliated with Kevin Hart, who produced Arnold’s second Netflix comedy special, “Not for the Faint” which premiered in July. The special revolves around routines that focus on Arnold’s family life, as well as marital disputes and entitlement children. He followed up his Netflix stand-up debut in 2019 with “Fat Ballerina.” Arnold appeared as part of the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival in late April and early May.

Comedian Chris Spencer, a close friend of Arnold’s, said the comedy community is “mourning the loss of one of the greatest to ever do it.” Spencer added that Arnold, a Cleveland native, was “admired by his peers, respected by other veterans, and revered by the rising comedians he mentored. He will miss me dearly, especially for his comedy fraternity.”

Arnold was also the creator, executive producer and executive producer of Nickelodeon’s live-action comedy “That Girl Lay Lay,” about an avatar brought to life to help a teenage girl and her friends navigate their lives.

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The series, produced through Will Packer Media, premiered in September 2021 and was renewed for a Season 2 in January.

Arnold was in the middle of the “Pace Ya Self” standup tour. He was scheduled to play stand-up dates in New Brunswick, NJ later this month, as well as Atlanta and Nashville in early October.

Arnold’s other credits include writing episodes of TV One’s “The Rickey Smiley Show,” BET’s “The Real Husbands of Hollywood,” and the Tyler Perry TBS sitcoms “Meet the Browns” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” He also wrote recent installments of BET+’s “Bigger” and Netflix’s “Fuller House.”

Arnold’s survivors include his wife Julie and their daughters Anna Grace and Ashlyn Elizabeth.

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