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Comedy CD/DVD Review: Kyle Kinane: Whiskey Icarus

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Comic Kyle Kinane takes the stage in jeans turned up into cuffs; his shirt isn’t tucked in. He takes a drink from his water bottle and it drips down the shirt front. He has a full beard and a receding hairline. He is the perfect stereotype of the middle-aged, blue collar beer guzzler. So, when early on in Whiskey Icarus, his debut Comedy Central stand-up special recorded in San Francisco, he starts out on a long story about how he got so drunk he had to get a taxi to take him to Wendy’s for chicken nuggets, you could be excused if you think you’ve got him cubbyholed. You’d be wrong.

Oh, it’s not that he doesn’t do drunk jokes. After all, the title of the album is Whiskey Icarus. A title, he explains, that refers to a DUI he got in Los Angeles flying too close to the sun. He talks about drunk driving in Chicago; he does a bit about drinking on a hilarious plane trip where the couple he’s sitting next to is busily joining the mile high club. So, it’s not that he doesn’t get raunchy.

It’s just that he always seems to throw in some remark or observation that is a little bit too smart for Joe Sixpack. He does a bit on stereotyping that has to give purveyors of political correctness pause. He talks about his own stereotypical assumptions when he sees two blacks with a white child, and more than likely he’d have had something to say about the stereotyping of Joe Sixpack a couple of sentences back. He muses on the merits of agnosticism and the obnoxious habit atheists have of talking down to people. He ponders over the meaning of a blank fortune cookie or an unsliced pizza. He’ll come up with a witty one-liner and throw it in so quickly that anyone not paying attention will miss it. In effect, you’re making one huge mistake if you judge this book by its cover.

The uncensored and extended CD/DVD combo set of Kyle Kinane: Whiskey Icarus, released at the end of January by Comedy Central, includes 20 minutes of material not used in the televised version and a DVD bonus of Kinane’s half-hour Comedy Central Presents special. It is a solid set with some excellent material, including a funny riff on under-the-table sex at Medieval Times and a diatribe on the importance of voting that asks the momentous question: What is a comptroller? Both shows have material that gives you something worth thinking about, and they do it without preaching and just a bit of masturbating.

Kinane likes to have his little jokes. He likes to throw in allusions to classic songs and song lyrics. So when you look at the titles of the different tracks on the combo jacket and wonder what they’ve got to do with what you’re hearing, you may, as a more knowing friend suggested to me, want to check out the track listing on Kiss’s 1976 Destroyer album.

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About Jack Goodstein