Death-defying streaks of ridiculously funny words

A chat with comedian Kyle Kinane before his show in Tacoma

By Rev. Adam McKinney on January 9, 2013

"When you eat pancakes out of a bag in a semi-public place, there are rules," says comedian Kyle Kinane midway through an eight-minute story about watching a man on an airplane eat pancakes out of a grocery bag. You or I might see such a sight and, upon reporting it to our friends later, the extent of our story might be just, "Pretty weird, right?" But that's not how Kyle Kinane operates.

On his first album, Death of the Party, and his second, Whiskey Icarus, Kinane tells stories both large and small, but they are never short of epic in the telling. Whether it's a story about the terror of using a bathroom in a sketchy bar, or about what it means to receive a blank fortune cookie, or about the rules of speeding tickets for bicyclists, Kinane wrings short stories out of even the most mundane things, and they're always hilarious. Within these larger jokes, nearly every sentence has its own little punchline - a quality Kinane shares with former touring mate Patton Oswalt.

"You tell a story on stage or you tell it to your friends, and it's funny and you laugh at it, and the next time you tell it, maybe something got a little crazier or louder or bigger," says Kinane via phone. "You just find more things to talk about in the story the more you tell it. I mean, you have to keep yourself entertained doing these things, by coming up with another tag within it. It's also, I wouldn't say it's lazy, because you're still writing, but it beats having to write a whole new joke. (Laughs)"

The first time I became aware of Kyle Kinane, it was on a podcast that was then called Comedy Death-Ray Radio (since changed to Comedy Bang! Bang!), and I was instantly drawn to his gruff voice and laid-back manner, and the way that he was - seemingly spontaneously - able to extrapolate a great bit out of a pizza place's flier he found that advertised a pizza so big it couldn't fit through your door. Here, again, is something that we might laugh about with our friends, if we found such a flier, but Kinane doesn't stop there.

"Just ask ‘why?' about so many situations, and then explore and go backwards on someone else's life and figure out how they got to that point," Kinane says. "If you see this moment in time that you can't put together - or that fact that you create those for other people. I mean, I find myself in these stupid situations, and it's like, ‘Oh, if only I had the chance to explain to people around me why it is I'm yelling in the grocery store about deodorant, you'd understand.'"

For more tales of debauchery, bizarre public spectacles, ruminations on junk food and the role it plays in molding a modern drunk man, and death-defying streaks of ridiculously funny words, check out Kyle Kinane's latest album, Whiskey Icarus. Nothing, though, matches up to the weirdness and majesty of live comedy, so be sure to catch Kyle Kinane at the Tacoma Comedy Club Thursday through Saturday.