If you’ve been watching The Comedy Store docu-series this fall on Showtime, Carl LaBove brings the third episode to a heartbreaking climax.
Director Mike Binder, himself a Comedy Store paid regular in the 1980s, explained how LaBove and Sam Kinison “were like brothers” who’d walk back and forth between the Hollywood and Westwood clubs to keep Kinison in shape. In the beginning, Kinison really needed it. “When Carl and Sam came out from Texas, Carl LaBove was the funnier of the two,” Binder says.
Other legends who were running around the Store as kids in the 1980s agreed.
Damon Wayans: “Carl shoulda went out on his own.”
Jim Carrey: “Carl was always brilliant, like physically, great physical comedian.”
They recalled a bit of LaBove’s wherein he impersonates a woman talking as a fly. Here’s a clip of LaBove opening for Kinison at, checks notes, Madison Square Garden? Ah, the “Felt Forum,” the smaller theater inside MSG. Anyhow. Roll the clip!
“He was likable,” Wayans says of LaBove. “He got sucked into the Sam Kinison vortex, and he just took on this dark vibe.”
Pauly Shore said: “They were partners in crime.”
For his part, LaBove also talks about Kinison deciding to study witchcraft and the devil, but the showstopper is his eyewitness recollection of the moment Kinison died, holding his comedy buddy in his arms after the car accident that took Kinison’s life in 1992. “I think in that moment, even though I haven’t admitted it in many years, I think I forgave him for all the things he did to me,” LaBove said. “You know, I found out he fathered my daughter after he was dead. So he was having an affair behind my back with my wife, and I knew he was doing it with other people, but I didn’t think he was going to fuck me over. But he did.”
“I’m lucky I got here. I got to learn how to forgive myself, of all things. I got to make things right.”
Now LaBove faces his toughest test yet.
He began another round of chemotherapy today in hopes it’ll treat his prostate cancer, which has advanced to stage four. Dan Pasternack has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for LaBove’s medical care. Pasternack writes: “As many of you probably know, Carl LaBove has been battling cancer. But if that weren’t enough, he is also recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident and he’s now recuperating from a much needed back surgery and now needs equipment to aid in his mobility. So while there have been fundraising efforts on Carl’s behalf in the past, his ongoing and developing needs require another round of help. Look, I know money is tight everywhere. Particularly for everyone in the comedy community. But if you are able, please consider lending a hand to help our funny friend.”