Let’s hop in the way back machine and jog our memories to a digital age ago, back to a time when this website was barely a year old, back to a time when I just found out I was going to be a father, back to a time when I’d just seen Kyle Kinane at the Grit CIty comedy club in Tacoma. It was the best stand up sets I’d ever seen since moving away from Los Angeles. As the end of the article I mentioned that there were two albums any serious comedy fan should buy, the first being Andy Daly’s Nine Sweaters, the second being Kyle Kinane’s Death of the Party. Today Kyle releases his second album Whiskey Icarus.
Kyle’s particular brand of comedy is blue collar jokes for art school graduates. If that seems like a confusing statement to you, take the title, Whiskey Icarus which is a perfect example of the dichotomy that resides in his comedy. On one hand you have the working class frat boyish Whisky, on the other is the bookish intellectual story of Icarus the Greek mythological character who flew to close to the sun. This is what I love so much about Kyle, his ability to appeal to the intellectual we all pretend to be as well as the fart humor we can’t resist.
For many comedians their second album is somewhat disappointing. After spending years polishing and perfecting a solid hour long routine, they now have to start over with something new. New idea’s, new inspiration and clean that up just as they did the first time, only in a shorter time frame. In order to avoid this sinkhole, some comedians reinvent themselves, much as Hannibal Burress did with his second album Animal Furnace. Kyle neither reinvents himself here, nor does his work feel stale. It’s familiar and fresh.
He’s still the same guy; self deprecating, lazy, childish, yet intellectual, and poetic. Though he no longer talks about the blue collar and/or absurd jobs he held while working his way up the comedy ladder (he quit his day job prior to the release of Death of the Party). He discusses the night he spent in jail after his DUI, the moment he knew he was lonely when he forgot he was masturbating, and what he’ll put on his epitaph.
I won’t deny that the loss of the day job jokes is sad, I always loved sharing that particular kinship with Kyle. But he’s a comedian who tells stories rather than a series of jokes, so out with the old and in with the new. Subsequently a good portion of the album centers around two airplane jokes. I imagine he’s doing a lot more flying these days. Regardless, the stories and jokes are fresh, at no point is there a lull where you say to yourself, “okay, I’m tired of the Kyle Kinane thing. Do something else or move on.”
If you liked, loved, or feasted upon Death of the Party, then you will find Whiskey Icarus to be a worthy successor. There was only one bit that I wish had been included and was disappointed to discover that it wasn’t. Back when I saw Kyle at Grit City, he told a story about buying a dummy for five dollars from a semi-homeless man. His intention was to scare his roommate with it, in the end it was Kyle who lived in fear. I may have the details of the story wrong after a year, but what’s important is that I laughed so hard at that story that tears literally rolled down my cheek. Even with this omission, Whiskey Icarus is definitely worth your hard earned dollars.