Kyle Kinane, believer
On camping, cryptids, and comedy
Kyle Kinane believes in aliens, in pure, unadulterated stand up comedy, and that “mayonnaise doesn’t go bad, it becomes Miracle Whip…that’s the miracle.” He’s had recurring roles on TruTV’s “Those Who Can’t” and Netflix’s “Love,” and is quite literally the voice of Comedy Central (in the network’s house ads and interstitials.) His latest special, “Loose in Chicago,” gets a limited-edition vinyl release on September 22.
In addition to his headlining set at Cain’s Ballroom on Friday, September 8, starting at 9 p.m., Kinane will also be a guest on the Sklar Brothers’ sports show “View from the Cheap Seats,” at Cain’s earlier that evening.
Over the phone, we talked about tour necessities, keeping comedy comedic, and skin-walkers.
Langdon: Your show at Blue Whale is the first of a string of dates on the road. What’s something you always have to have with you when you tour?
Kinane: I’m working on getting it down to a very minimal amount, but I would say for summertime, travelling in humid climates—especially if you’re driving—baby powder and baby wipes. Everything you’d have to take care of a baby works real well for an adult stuck in a car for three to six hours a day.
Langdon: What’s it like to be writing and performing in this crazy age we’re living in?
Kinane: I don’t touch on it too much. If I believe strongly and it’s something on my mind I want to get across, I’ll do it, but I want to make sure there’s a joke there, not just a sentiment. You can do political comedy, but don’t forget the comedy part. I don’t like seeing mediocre comedy being elevated just because it agrees with your sensibilities in the world.
Langdon: Or just because it’s a hot button issue of the moment.
Kinane: Yeah. It’s easy to just go on Twitter and get that serotonin boost of retweets because you had a concise and simplified viewpoint about current events. But as far as watching a whole comedy show, selling tickets to a comedy show, it should be comedy. If it does have a viewpoint—and I consider myself liberal and Left—it still should be jokes, not just shitty playground takedowns of whoever you’re attacking. Just because there are issues today, don’t make comedy the second point of your statement if you’re a comedian. If you’re a politician or you’re trying to organize or protest, by all means forget the jokes. There’s no time for jokes right now, it’s urgent. But if you’re a comedian and people paid to see you, do comedy.
Langdon: You and Dave Stone have a podcast called “The Boogie Monster,” where you discuss cryptids, the paranormal—spooky stuff. How did you become interested in that world?
Kinane: I think it’s a nice distraction if you don’t go too deep into it. Conspiracy theories can really smash up some minds in the right-wing crazies. That’s what I don’t understand. What happened to conspiracy theorists who were left-leaning, open-minded people? Now it’s, “Man, the government’s out to get you,” and it’s a little too much to take.
You know, it’s something that entertains me. Whether I believe it or not, I’m entertained by it. It’s a world of fantasy. If you want to sit inside and watch Game of Thrones and talk about that all week, that’s ok. I joke about how professional wrestling, which I enjoy also, has this comeback amongst grown adults who can just full-bore go unashamed, “I am a professional wrestling fan.” Well, I want to believe in Bigfoot and go camping in the woods, and oh boy, I’m a real weirdo, aren’t I?
But no, why can’t I have my fantasy also? Dave’s usually the believer, I tend to be the cynic. I don’t want to be a cynic about it, but I want better proof. It’s “X-Files,” I want to believe.
When you can sit there and get all the one-sided cable news shows, and reports that are coming out about politics, and all this stuff—man, I’m just gonna believe in aliens, this is so much more soothing to me than to get caught up in just impotently smashing my thumbs into my phone, coming up with tweets about politics.
Langdon: Do you have any favorite topics you’ve covered?
Kinane: We talked about skin-walkers, which is a Native American legend. It’s kind of the opposite of a witch doctor, who’s a shaman-like figure in a tribe who’s there to help and has magical powers. The skin-walker is also human, but with evil powers. The stuff I read about that, I think it was more the nonchalance of people giving their accounts, whereas opposed to somebody talking about a ghost, who will really doctor up the story, really pepper it up. But all these skin-walker accounts are like, “Oh yeah, we were drinkin’ at a bar over by the reservation, and there was a coyote on the windowsill. That’s weird. Six months later, we’re hanging out at my grandmother’s and she’s like, ‘Yeah, I saw you Christmas Eve. I was the coyote in the windowsill.’ How would she even know that?” It’s all recorded as such a matter-of-fact that it freaks me out. It made it more interesting that nobody was being salacious about it, they’re just like, “No, they’re real, I’ve seen ‘em.”
Langdon: What’s the over-under on your cokehead ex-boyfriend character from Netflix’s “Love” coming back?
Kinane: Man, it’s been two years since I did that, and I haven’t heard anything.
Langdon: I want to know what that guy’s up to.
Kinane: You know what? Write a fan letter. I’d like the paycheck that comes along with knowing what that guy’s up to.
It was fun to do that. It was my first real acting role, where it was a person that was based on the world, not a bit of a caricature, you know? I’m grateful for the experience and if it happens again, cool. I’m around.
Langdon: What are your plans for a follow-up to “Loose in Chicago?”
Kinane: I’m getting all the material together, it’s just finding a home for it.
Langdon: Chicago was a homecoming show. Now that you’ve done that, what goes into the choice of where the next special will be?
Kinane: I don’t know. I kinda had this dream of doing it outdoors, like in a campground or something. Now every special has a gimmick with it. Every Netflix special can’t just be a special. You’ve gotta break the fourth wall, or do this or that. And it’s cool, and some people do it well, but I think stylistically, if you’re doing this tone of comedy but also standup, one wins out versus the other. I just want to do the stand up, that’s what it is. Don’t be distracted by this other tone.
It’s like a flute solo at a Metallica concert. They might both be good, but now all you’re thinking about is that flute and you’re missing out on Metallica. Or vice versa. I don’t know if that metaphor works at all, but I’ve got to rewrite bits and that’s how they work when I’m just talking off the cuff. Sometimes it sounds pretty stupid.
View from the Cheap Seats: podcast taping with Sklar Brothers
Fri., Sept. 8 | 6 p.m. | Cain’s Ballroom Side Stage
With Jaqueline Novak & more, plus DJ Afistaface
Fri., Sept. 8 | 9 p.m. | Cain’s Ballroom