When I think of guys who drink and party and occasionally get tossed in jail for a DUI, I usually imagine one of two extremes. The first is the Nicolas Cage “Leaving Las Vegas”-type who depresses/bores the heck out of me and gets Oscar nominations for no explainable reason. The other is the spirited, intensely dedicated, gotta-love-him character Zach Galifianakis usually ends up portraying, especially in the “Hangover” films. On his new album “Whiskey Icarus,” Kyle Kinane definitely reminds me of the latter. A bit off-kilter yet never afraid of expressing exactly what he’s thinking, you can be sure you’ll always know right where he stands. Although Kinane and the Alan character have their similarities (they can get away with a lot of bad behavior because they’re just so likable), there are also some big differences.
I probably shouldn’t spend too much time comparing Kinane to a fictional creation because Kinane is very much his own unique voice and person. Yes, both men have a lonely slacker vibe about them, but Kinane isn’t a caricature. He’s intelligent and articulate and admits he’s a lonely guy (That abandoned “frozen dinner for 1” in the beer aisle at the 7-11? That was him). He describes his fashion style as that of a wise high school janitor and while he’s proud of himself for getting his own apartment, he’s also aware that he’s 35 years old and probably should be living on his own. And that there are 35-year-old astronauts. And that the real reason he got his own place is unsettlingly honest (hide your Twizzlers).
Kinane is a guy who knows how to have a good time (the CD’s track listing is identical to KISS’s “Destroyer” album) but he does his best to have a good time responsibly. Being too drunk to drive won’t stop him for hitting up the Wendy’s drive-thru even if that means he has to call a minivan taxicab to take him there. His re-telling of trying to complete the transaction from the backseat sliding door is a lot of fun and indeed the adventure Kinane promised the driver it would be.
If you ever see Kinane at the airport, follow him, because something good is going to happen. Kinane and airports are a perfect recipe for weird stories and it seems that he can’t have an ordinary flight experience to save his life. On one flight, he finds himself seated next to a man eating pancakes out of a shopping bag from Foot Locker and naturally it raises a lot of questions. Kinane doesn’t ask questions without supplying a few answers and if you aregoing to eat pancakes out of a shopping bag from Foot Locker on a plane, there’s a correct way to go about it.
Of course, I’ll take the pancakes guy over the lovemaking Spanish couple any day of the week. Kinane chooses to look at it as an opportunity, though, and if they’re going to have fun then doggonit, he is, too. Thus begins his in-flight drinking binge that, I suppose when you backtrack far enough, is all the fault of Orbitz.
I like Kinane’s outlook on life. This is a man who looks at life’s hiccups as a series of opportunities to have an adventure. You gotta love that. Blank fortune cookies are much more than a mishap at the printer’s and there’s a darn good reason you don’t hear more from the Bigfoot front. Two black guys with a white baby are never just two black guys with a white baby and if you’re going to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, go out with a question mark instead of a period.
Kinane has a wildly devoted and passionate fan base and it’s easy to see why. For a guy who claims his life is a series of documented low points he sure is able to catch a lot of the funny about it. He’s consistent in what he does and he presents us with an hour of solid laughs. At one point, he reveals how he strives for his comedy to be looked at as an art form but admits his observations about his “turd contractions” prevent that from happening. I’ve got news for you Kinane: While you were shaving the sharp edges off of racism and fueling your body the same way Doc Brown fuels the Delorean at the end of Back to the Future….it happened.
This album is indeed art and Kinane is indeed a comedy artist.
Now let’s go see what’s up at the airport. We’ve got more art to find.