Kinison’s comments on evangelicals and political and religious satire, coupled with his signature scream, was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. I’d heard protest songs but never protest comedy. It was exciting to hear an adult say, “Wait a minute, what about _____?” and throw questions shaped like wrenches into the status quo, then get a huge laugh from other adults.
Since living in Chicago, I’ve had the opportunity to do a couple local showcases at that Zanies, and now it is insane to me that I stood on the stage where Kinison recorded “World Hunger,” which, as fucked up as it is, is a 32-year-old joke that still makes me laugh.
1986: Kinison records Louder Than Hell.
1989: 9-year-old me watches Kinison be Al Bundy’s guardian angel, and loves it.
1992: Kinison dies after colliding with a car driven by a drunk teenager.
1993: After hearing one or two (I think) at my sister’s house, I get all of Kinison’s albums on cassette.
2010: For whatever reason, out of the blue, I decide to give stand-up a shot.
2011: I give stand-up a shot.
2017: I do several minutes on a local Tuesday night showcase at the club where Kinison recorded Louder Than Hell.
It hasn’t always been wonderful, but what a strange little life it’s been.
I don’t wish for one second I’d never been born.