I remember when I first met Kyle Kinane three years ago at the HBO festival in Aspen. Kinane wasn't so happy about how he had performed at his stand-up showcases, but all I could see was a young man with creative flourish and colorful punchlines. I liked this guy from the get-go.
Kinane, based in Los Angeles but a product of the Chicago/Blerds scene, reappeared on my radar not too long after that, showing up looking like a lumberjack on Last Call with Carson Daly. And now Kinane has released a wonderful new comedy CD, Death of the Party. It could be the funniest thing I've heard in a while. I'm not the only one who has noticed Kinane — Patton Oswalt, who had Kinane opening up for him on the road, said on the Comedy and Everything Else podcast: "This guy Kyle Kinane that I have open up for me. He‚Äôs gotten so good now (laughs) that I don‚Äôt really know if I want him opening up. He‚Äôs getting hard to follow ‚Äî but in a way that‚Äôs good because it makes me work harder."
When I saw him co-headline an evening at Comix here in NYC last week, I was blown away by how sharp he is for a younger comedian. He reminded me of a younger, slightly less dangerous and thereby more accessible version of Doug Stanhope. Combined with a younger, slightly less cynical Marc Maron. Mixed liberally. The way Kinane is able to observe the human condition, whether it be his own or ours, and through self-deprecation, wit and that same creative and colorful flourish I'd seen in 2007, produce laugh after laugh. At one point last week, Kinane told the audience: "It's like I'm living in a vacuum where I've got all these genius ideas that nobody can appreciate." Well, somebody should start appreciating him soon. It's not all mining dark coals of life for diamonds. Kinane also can draw out an amusing story, whether it's a menu flyer that appeared at his door out of nowhere, or the night he had to use the bathroom in a dangerous bar (track 3 on the record, "The House is Rocking"). As he says on that track, this isn't just a story about toilet humor. "It's about the triumph of the human spirit." Spend a little time with Kinane and experience the triumph together.
Here's a clip of Kinane, telling a variation on the opening track from Death of the Party.
Buy this disc!
Bonus: If you're reading this today, and live in NYC, you also can hear/see Kyle Kinane tell jokes for free at Whiplash (11 p.m. tonight March 8) at the UCB Theatre.