Comic legend, Reynaldo Rey, passed away a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t see much written about him. Growing up, stand-up comedy was always an art form I enjoyed, specifically black stand-up comedy. I related to it mainly because of the things they were saying. And they talked like we talked—for better or worse, foul language, hood politics, and race matters are staples of social interaction within the inner city. In the hood, you have to laugh to keep from crying, and comedians like Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Eddie Murphy were our therapists. When Blockbuster was still poppin’, my family would rent VHS tapes of old comedy shows hosted by Redd Foxx.

I remember being allowed to watch Eddie Murphy’s Delirious when I was about five or six. Looking back that's weird because my pops didn’t even let me buy rap music that had parental advisory stickers. Reynaldo Rey always randomly popped up on those tapes we used to rent, but I was really first introduced to him on 227, where he played Ray the Mailman. Then he appeared in several of my favorite movies growing up: White Men Can’t Jump, Bebe’s Kids, and Friday.

I remember when Comedy Central played stand-up comedy shows during the day and I would religiously watch them before I went to class. It was like watching MLB Spring Training or NBA Summer League action in search of the next big prospect. Reynaldo Rey was there, right when black stand-up comedy was beginning to change the art. He continued that legacy on BET's Comic View. Rey co-hosted alongside Rickey Smiley, Bruce Bruce, and Miss Laura for about two seasons, making quips as the show’s “bartender.” Stand-up comedy has always been a fraternity filled with male and female writers and comedians, each with their own experiences to share and jokes to bounce off each other. Rey’s presence on Comic View between 1998 and 2001 was important for a new crop of stand-up comics on the come up, like he was a physical link between the old generation and the new.

Like the R-rated Def Comedy Jam, the PG-13-rated Comic View launched many careers: D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bruce Bruce, Rickey Smiley, and Sommore were all Comic View hosts before their big breaks. Comics like Michael Blackson, Tony Roberts, and Sheryl Underwood all gained popularity because of their hilarious sets on the show. BET gave local comics a platform to reach a national audience. New York’s Talent was one my of favorites. His routine consisted of him making hilarious observations of male and female relationships while he drank beer. After certain punchlines, he would make a knock noise with his mouth and say: "It’s just comedy." And that’s what it was to us—no matter how offensive the jokes were.

Like most art forms, stand-up comedy has its ebbs and flows. Both channels need to bring back stand-up re-runs—the art form needs to be as important to this new generation as it was to ours. Reynaldo knew how crucial it was to pass on wisdom. Watching him on TV, he was like the funny older cousin that you ran into a couple times a year at family functions. He would make them worthwhile. Your mom would tell him not to curse around you but even she couldn't keep a straight face whenever he opened his mouth. Rey was always a welcome addition to any TV show or movie I watched growing up. He will be missed.

Angel Diaz is a staff writer for Complex Media. Follow him @ADiaz456.