Sunday, March 15, 2015

UPDATED: Drunk/Social Historian

Posted By on Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 1:02 PM

UPDATE: Due to transportation problems, Kyle Kinane's show at Humboldt Brews has been canceled. 

Kyle Kinane would fit right in at any of Humboldt County's dive bars. Saunter into the Alibi or the Shanty any afternoon and pick out a soft spoken, bearded, tattooed guy in a T-shirt and his 30s.

It's precisely that — his relatability, his aggressive averageness, his humility — which makes the Los Angeles-based comedian so hilarious.

Kinane has cultivated a style of self-deprecating storytelling that has no equal in modern stand-up. He spins long, rambling tales about drunken encounters, pants-shitting episodes and embarrassing food choices, punctuated with wit and a wise-beyond-his-years beat sensibility.

In a recent Grantland article, Kinane was described by a friend as a folk hero, a seemingly fitting honorific for the hard-working, self-made everyman who offers so much of himself in his sets.

But Kinane, talking on the phone as he sped down a Myrtle Beach highway recently, balked at the title.

"I would say that's a bit indulgent," he said, his voice a calm antithesis to his loud and guttural onstage delivery. "I'm more of a social historian."

In the years and years of touring that his stand-up comedy success both requires and perpetuates, Kinane's observations have fueled his work. "That's what a lot of comics do: travel, collect stories and report back on the human condition," he said. "I'm a culturally investigative journalist."

He's also self-reflective and not afraid to shame himself or people close to him. In his most recent album, I Liked His Old Stuff Better, Kinane painfully describes his awkward and unsettling early sexual encounters in the Chicago suburbs and paints a fantastic scene of his parents driving from store to store trying to find a copy of a recent interview he did with Hustler. [Mr. and Mrs. Kinane, if you're reading this, we'll send you a copy.]

It's uniquely cringe-inducing and sympathetic — and uproarious.

Kinane's star is rising — his first hour-long Comedy Central special recently aired and he's touring in support of his third album, but he's not resting on his laurels.

"I'm always hesitant to acknowledge any 'you've made it' moments," he said. "It's not like I got elected into a position. I could disappear from this whole scene in a year."

Kinane beautifully wrangled an inattentive and occasionally boisterous crowd at a set in Arcata two years ago. But generally, he says, his audiences are less rowdy than some. They drink, sure. He does too.

And while he's well aware of our county's agricultural reputation ("I know what you're about, Humboldt County" he rumbled), it's not as much of a draw as Arcata's mountain biking trails.

Kinane's "not particularly a pot guy." Sure, he's got a 215 card — "If you live in California you're gonna have a weed card," he said. "You don't live on a lake and not own a boat."

Catch Kinane live at Humboldt Brews on Tuesday, March 17 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 and, sorry kids, you gotta be 21.

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Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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