GMP Humor Editor Omar Shaukat takes a look at Kyle Kinane’s unrelenting vulnerability on stage
This past Autumn I saw Kyle Kinane perform at the DC Improv. It was the Thursday night show, and the crowd was modestly sized. Kinane took the stage and started to riff off of his flight experience from LA to DC. The crowd’s reaction was tepid, and this was when Kinane’s personality began to shine. Kinane groaned into the microphone, “Great job Kyle, way to start with the new untested material in front of a paying audience”. The crowd erupted with laughter. This was the Kinane we all paid to see.
Kyle Kinane is a manly man. He’s been quoted by the London Evening Standard as being a “bleak, misanthropic Ernest Hemingway lookalike with a penchant for suicide jokes”. While this quote has been beaten to death in Kinane’s press one-sheets and show descriptions, there’s a reason for it: It’s so damn true.
Kinane’s self-loathing is on another stratosphere, and the writer in me can only sit back and admire it all. Kinane, like most comedians, is at his best when he’s most vulnerable in front of the audience. His ability to take the pathetic truths of his disposition (That of a 35 year old white male who is only now moving into his own apartment) and turn them on their head is a site to behold. Kinane’s latest special, Whiskey Icarus, is his most unrelenting, unabashedly honest self-portrait yet.
In recent years, there seems to be a shift in the landscape of comedy. What was once an industry strictly founded on jokes is now transforming into one where personalities, not jokes, are more important for audience members. When I think of Louis CK, Bill Burr, Tig Notaro, I think first of the people behind the jokes. Sure there are still some excellent joke tellers, but with the rise of popularity in comedy podcasts, people flock towards human vulnerability.
Kinane is nothing if not vulnerable. He is the butt of most his jokes, and he is the first person to laugh at himself. If Kinane was to stay hidden in obscurity, his harsh vulnerability would be viewed as tragic. Though with one album, a successful Comedy Central Special, the opening slot for Patton Oswalt, and Variety naming Kinane one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch, it seems his vulnerability is becoming his greatest strength. I look forward to seeing where Kinane takes his comedy now that he’s starting to see some success.
Kyle Kinane’s latest album Whiskey Icarus can be purchased here. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Kyle Kinane bits.