Sam Kinison was the first comedian I was ever exposed to that I instantly related to and admired. I have always loved comedy, particularly stand-up comedy. I love it and I always watched it all, but Sam was the first comedian I had ever seen that I knew right away was a great one.
I had seen a lot of funny comedians but when I first saw Sam, I knew what I was watching was something special. Lot's of comics are funny and quite a few are really good but the great ones are rare.
I was instantly drawn to Sam's comedy because I knew and could just tell that I was watching something different from anything I'd ever seen before. I also related quite a bit to Sam's style of comedy, as well as his sense of humor, and point of view.
Right away I knew Sam was one of the few rare, and just in my opinion, the very best kind of comics. The ones with not only talent but also with a voice and a message. The gifted ones who really have something to say and are funny while being honest and sincere with their comedy. The ones who also aren't afraid to push the envelope and make you think a little while you laugh.
Sam Kinison was definitely one of those kind of comics, and unquestionably one of the gifted ones, the kind who could make us laugh and expose the BS of life and society and tell us the truth all while keeping us laughing.
Sam Kinison was born December 8th 1953 the son of a Pentecostal preacher. Raised in the church he eventually followed in his fathers footsteps becoming a 'Fire and Brimstone' style preacher himself until after the divorce from his first wife when he left the church to pursue comedy.
In his early career Sam struggled for stage time in Texas until being discovered by Rodney Dangerfield to appear in his comedy showcase on HBO. This six minute appearance rocketed Sam's career. Soon after he did a feature length special for HBO, which was the first performance of his I was exposed to and also in my opinion his best called, 'Breaking The Rules'.
Sam also made frequent appearances on Letterman as well as the Howard Stern Show. In fact a lot of my favorite and, in my opinion, best Stern Show moments involved Sam. My favorites had to do with his many feuds with other comics like Bobcat Goldwaith, Andrew 'Dice' Clay and even Howard himself. Another classic Kinison moment undoubtedly has to be his role in Rodney Dangerfields Movie, 'Back To School', as Dangerfields Professor. That scene alone makes that movie a classic.
A prolific comic and actor, Kinison also dabbled in music. More than dabbled really, he sometimes even toured and jammed with his on-stage band. He was actually quite a good musician. Face it, Sam rocked.
As a matter of fact one of my fondest memory's of the MTV era when they actually played music video's was Sam's 'Wild Thing' video. His rendition of that Troggs song is one of the rare instances in music where a cover stands alone from the original. If your younger than me and have never seen it pull it up on YouTube. It was funny as well as just being a great hard rocking, cleverly constructed song. Sam was clearly born to rock. Plus, you gotta admit, Sam's trademark scream was made for Heavy Metal.
Sam seemed to always live his life at full throttle. I wasn't lucky enough to know him myself so I don't know if he had always been that way or if it was a result of breaking out of the bonds of his religious background but no matter the case anyone could clearly see Sam was wild.
Tragically, Sam was taken from us early in his life and career but from what I saw and have heard from those who knew him, Sam really lived his all too short life to the fullest. Even though I wish he was still with us the thought that he lived his life fully gives me comfort.
It's just so tragic that we lost him so young. I would have loved to hear and see all that I'm sure he still had left to say and do. It's so sad to me when we loose a voice like Sam's.
I truly believe in laughter as a form of healing and comics like Sam Kinison and all the other great entertainers like Bill Hicks, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor, comics like that. The ones that can take that healing to an even higher level. Making sense of things and breaking down walls in our thoughts while exposing the hypocrisy and simple truths about life and society. I really do miss Sam, I'm sure he had so much more to say but I am thankful for all the wisdom and joy he was able to give us. Thank you Sam and we miss you!
Sam Kinison 12/8/1953 - 4/10/1992
In closing, I just want to personally say thank you to Sam, not just as a fan but also as someone who was inspired by him and his work both in comedy and films, really feel blessed to have grown up watching and listening to his comedy. Thanks for the laughs Sam, and also when I get to Heaven, I wanna jam with you. It's just always been a fantasy of mine.
For more on Sam visit his official site: http://www.samkinison.org/
Also check out this really great 10 min clip from Sam's HBO special, Breaking the Rules
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