Carl LaBove died today following a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
LaBove, an original founding member of “The Outlaws of Comedy,” was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up a military child, seeing the world, before landing back in Texas as a teen to begin his comedy career at 19. His best friend then, and until the day he died: Sam Kinison.
“When Carl and Sam came out from Texas, Carl LaBove was the funnier of the two,” recalled Mike Binder, a young comic at that time himself, who captured LaBove on camera one last time for his Showtime docuseries on The Comedy Store.
LaBove was born in Fort Worth Texas, grew up a military child, which required his family to move all around the world during his youth. At age nineteen he discovered stand up comedy with the man who would become his best friend, Sam Kinison. Together, LaBove and Kinison turned comedy touring into rock-n-roll.
Here was Carl opening for Sam at the MSG Theater in 1989.
And when Kinison died, he died in LaBove’s arms.
Of course, their relationship was more complicated than that. As he told Binder, and other interviewers before him over the past decade, LaBove had to come to terms with the fact that his child might probably be Kinison’s.
“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.”
LaBove appeared in the Whoopi Goldberg movie, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, as Earl the guard. He also appeared in episodes of Seinfeld and Roseanne, performed multiple times on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as on Roseanne’s mid-90s Saturday Night Special series, and put out his own stand-up DVD, “A Night at the Frolic.”
He shall be missed.
Here’s LaBove performing on “Pauly Shore & Friends,” filmed around 2009.
The Comedy Store has offered this tribute to LaBove: