David A. Arnold, a comedian and showrunner known for his standup work and as creator and showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “That Girl Lay Lay,” died unexpectedly on Wednesday. He was 54.
“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 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’s death came as a surprise to industry insiders. He was affiliated with Kevin Hart, who produced Arnold’s second Netflix standup special, “It Ain’t for the Weak,” which debuted in July. The special revolves around routines focusing on Arnold’s family life as well as marital spats and entitled kids. It followed his Netflix standup debut in 2019 with “Fat Ballerina.” Arnold was featured as part of the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival in late April and early May.
Comedian Chris Spencer, a close friend of Arnold, said the comedy community “mourns the loss of one of the greatest to ever do it.” Spencer added that Arnold, a native of Cleveland, was “admired by his peers, respected by other veterans, and revered by the burgeoning comedians that he mentored. He will me deeply missed, especially by his comedy fraternity.”
Arnold was also the creator, showrunner and executive producer of Nickelodeon’s live-action comedy “That Girl Lay Lay,” about an avatar that comes to life to help a teenage girl and her friends navigate their lives.
The series, produced through Will Packer Media, premiered in September 2021 and was renewed for Season 2 in January.
Arnold was in the midst of the “Pace Ya Self” standup tour. He was scheduled to play standup dates in New Brunswick, N.J. later this month as well as in 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 Tyler Perry TBS comedies “Meet the Browns” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” He also recent penned installments of BET+’s “Bigger” and Netflix’s “Fuller House.”
Arnold’s survivors include his wife, Julie, and daughters, Anna Grace and Ashlyn Elizabeth.