A&E » Comedy

Kyle Kinane talks salsa pranks, TV pukes, and Kendrick Lamar

The comedian does a stint at Laughing Skull Lounge this week



Kyle Kinane has released two hilarious albums, 2010's Death of the Party and 2012's Whiskey Icarus, each filled with his charmingly everyman meditations on Bob Seger, fornicating rabbits, and ordering pizza. His raspy-voiced tales can last up to 10 minutes at a time, and they manage to translate life's everyday absurdities into relatable, uproarious events.

The Los Angeles-by-way-of-Chicago funnyman has been touring relentlessly and hopes to record a new special in the spring. Meanwhile, he's somehow found time to serve as the voice of Comedy Central's promos since 2011, tell the Haymarket Affair's story on "Drunk History" before puking his guts out on television, and recently appear alongside Zach Galifianakis, Larry David, Bob Odenkirk, and others in the animated series "TripTank."

He also spends a lot of time on Twitter, and found himself spending a full Sunday in December "going at it" with a Pace Picante corporate account that turned out to be one of his fellow comedian friends pranking him. Creative Loafing called him up recently to talk about salsa and his 15th year of comedy, among other things.

Can you walk me through the Pace Picante day?

Usually Sundays are, you know, wake up, laying around hungover, just dicking around on the iPad in bed. That's when that started. I started doing — let's call it "writing." Let's go ahead and call it "a writing session." But yeah, I saw [the Pace account favoriting my tweets], so I started going at it, seeing if it was just a bot.

Did you suspect you were being pranked before it was revealed?

I didn't think it was a prank so much as it was people who understood viral marketing, like, "Oh, we'll have fun with this guy." I didn't think anyone was seriously getting fired; I just thought they were in on the joke and worked there. Like, "We know we're a salsa company with a Twitter account and it's preposterous." Then Randy [Liedtke, comedian and friend of Kinane's], the prankster, stepped it up by having the one guy messaging from a personal account and then hacking back into the Pace account.

It was fairly sophisticated on his part.

Yeah, once I found out about it, the only reason I was actually pissed is because I had to share the spotlight with another comedian. But he's a friend of mine and he's really funny. I got a lot of new followers. Of course, that's a mixed blessing. Everybody thinks they know fucking comedy and they don't.

How do you explain that day to, for instance, your mom?

My mom follows me on Twitter, and it's the worst. I threatened to block her. I just told her, "You don't get to ask me about any of this." It's public for people who have a sense of humor and want to hear my comedy. It's not public for family members who want to hear horrible things about their son.

I read a recent interview where you said you no longer have to work a day job, but that you used to meet lots of weirdos through day jobs. How do you make sure you're still finding the weirdos now?

So much of my life is spent in airports. Meeting drunks in bars, if you do that enough in your life, they start falling into familiar categories. Usually, now, it's in the midst of travel. An airport will collect a pack of weirdos not normally seen in one place. I need to be better about forcing myself to do weird things in the daytime. I don't know, I'm trying to get out there and experience more. I'm actually trying to isolate myself more, find out what kind of weirdo I am. Sometimes you gotta point the scope inward.

This is your 15th year of stand-up comedy. How does that make you feel?

I've never committed to anything else this long. I think it's fantastic and I sure hope there's no way to completely bottom out. The coastline of a standard adulthood has finally dipped beyond the horizon. Five years in, I was like, "I can still get a regular job." Ten years in: "I could still get a day job. If I gotta turn this around, I could still do [something else]." Now it's like I ... don't have anything else. This has to be it, or something that stems from this.

How have you adjusted to these past couple years?

There's expectation. Before, no one knows who you are, so if you suck, no one remembers, but if you do well, they go, "Who is that guy?" Now it's like, "We liked the records. You better be better than that stuff." I gotta live up to expectations instead of surprising people. But I'd rather go work on jokes at open mics instead of doing so good at my dumb office job that I'm a manager. At least I have a responsibility to something I have a passion about.

Can you tell me a little bit about "Drunk History"? What is the production process like?

They tell you when they're gonna be over, then you can gauge how much longer before they arrive that you'll start drinking. So they told me, and I was like, "OK, I'll start having a couple cocktails." And a couple of cocktails turned into a bottle of tequila. And the tequila turned into a garbage bag full of barf on television. They taped it at my apartment, and I woke up the next day. They had cleaned up everything, but it was one of those weird moments of walking around like, "I know something happened here last night, but I don't remember what." I didn't remember the details. But fortunately, they taped them and showed them on TV so everybody else got to relive them with me.

What's the funniest thing you've experienced this week?

I'm trying to tell a story about a guy I met on an airplane last Monday. A very peculiar adult man with a fake Hitler mustache, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. Obviously, there are many more details to it, but I'm still working on the story, trying to get it ready for stand-up.

OK, final question before I let you go: Who is Kendrick Lamar?

Who isn't Kendrick Lamar?! I'm preserving my own innocence by not finding out who Kendrick Lamar is. I will not research it. This is my Moby Dick story, except that I'm not looking for Moby Dick at all. I'm a landlocked Captain Ahab going, "That whale's out there, and good for him!"

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