"Brace youselves. I'm not kidding."
Sam Kinison (December 8, 1953 — April 10, 1992) was a prominent American stand-up comedian
from 1984 until his death in a DUI car crash (the other driver was the drunken one
) in 1992.
A Preacher's Kid
who dabbled in the family business himself as a young man, Kinison brought the fire-and-brimstone speaking style to the American comedy stage, and combined it with Refuge in Audacity
turned Up to Eleven
Kinison's memorable bits included "gay necrophilia"; "lick the alphabet"; "Jesus on the cross" (which included pounding the microphone on the floor to simulate the nails being hammered); "execute Pee Wee Herman"; "Russians are space pussies"; "the Kurds are the most fucked people on earth"; "I'm not afraid of Hell, I was married for two fucking years"; "shoot the homeless"; "emotional tampon" (about being 'just friends' with a woman); "move the Ethiopians to where the food is", and countless attacks on homosexuality.
His most famous media appearance was his portrayal of a whacked-out history professor in Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School
. He also recorded a novelty version of The Troggs' pop song "Wild Thing". The music video was a huge hit on MTV (and featured Jessica Hahn, the church secretary in the Jim Bakker scandal, about whom Kinison said "if you're going to lose a kingdom for some pussy, this is the girl"). He also starred in Charlie Hoover
, a Herman's Head
-like sitcom, which ended after seven episodes because of Kinison's death.
Tropes exemplified by Kinison:
- A Hell of a Time: One of his bits was about how a man who has seen the horrors of marriage would not be frightened by Hell, to the point that Satan would offer a married man a job as an assistant.
- Anti-Love Song: Several, most famously his version the song "Wild Thing", and the song he played on the piano after his "emotional tampon" bit.
- Berserk Button: While his first marriage causes a few snarls to pass Sam's lips, anything to do with his second marriage sends him into full-on "I LIVE IN HELL" rage.
- Death by Irony: "We don't WANT to drink and drive ... But there's no other way to get the fucking CAR back to the HOUSE!! How are we supposed to get fucking home??!!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: One of his jokes involved an ex-girlfriend putting a loaded .38 in his airline carry-on bag in retaliation for him cheating on her. Him calling up audience member's ex-girlfriends to scream nasty words at them borders on this as well.
- One joke has him suggesting you do every sexually deviant thing you can think of with your girlfriend. So that if she leaves you for another guy, that next guy isn't going to be able to do anything exciting with her at all. Not even The Alphabet.
- Drugs Are Bad: Inverted; like his contemporary Bill Hicks, Kinison advocated drug use in his material.
- Incoming Ham: OH! OHHHHHHHH!
- Hypocritical Humor: For all his rants about the horrors of marriage, Sam went and married a third time just before his death.
- While he would rant against marriage, he recognized that falling in love and being in relationships are normal things to do... which is where he suggests to his audience that they get raunchy as hell.
- His material on religion, especially corrupt preachers, would comment on the hypocrisy of "saintly" Christians wallowing in excess and sin.
- Large Ham: Oh yeah...
- Love Hurts: Which part of "I WAS MARRIED FOR TWO FUCKING YEARS!" do you think highlights this trope?
- Mad Love: Emphasis on mad.
- Mean Character Nice Actor: What you saw on stage was pretty much him, but quite a few young comedians and friends attest to him being very personable and willing to help anybody out.
- No Indoor Voice: It didn't come much louder than Sam.
- Refuge in Audacity: he doesn't so much find refuge as he builds a goddamn cathedral there.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Kinison mentions on Side One of his second album that God was gonna come calling about all those Jesus jokes. Complete with ten minutes of dead silence as The Mighty Smiter gives Sam a heart attack... (relax, he's gotten better by Side Two)
- With references to his ex-preacher career throughout most of his stand-up routines.
- Up to Eleven: Or twelve. Or twenty.
- Wonderful Life: A Christmas Episode of Married... with Children built around this guest-stars Kinison as Al Bundy's guardian angel.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: The opening bit on his album Live From Hell: "There's a guy in Milwaukee with heads in his icebox, but our top story tonight: Sam Kinison missed The Joan Rivers Show."