Thursday, April 14, 2011

Short Oh, Short Oh, Long Oh

The other night I noticed that a few things on my Netflix watch instantly were about to "expire" including some Sam Kinison stand-up. It Feels as though I've always known of Sam Kinison even though I've never watched his stand up. In fact all I've really seen him in was Back to School and a cameo in Married With Children. He also did a voice only cameo in one of my favorite episodes of Tales From the Crypt. Regardless I'd never seen any of his stand-up, so I decided to watch his HBO special, breaking the rules.

Well... I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of flack for this but... I found it mostly boring and unfunny. I suppose in the 80's it was hilariously shocking but now it's just a fat guy screaming. I once heard a comedian sum up Kinison's comedy style as being 3 key elements. Short Oh, Short Oh Again and finally a Long oh

It got me thinking about two things simultaneously. The first thing was Chuck Klosterman's book "Killing yourself to Live". The Concept behind this book is that many musicians (Jeff Buckley, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious) benefited more from dying an early death than anything that would have happened to them had they lives a long healthy life. I also thought about Andrew "Dice" Clay. I get the feeling that one of the biggest reasons Sam is beloved and praised comic while "Who is Andrew Dice Clay" is the question to the Jeopardy answer "this comedian of the 80's became a target and butt of jokes for being untalented and unfunny", lies in one's young death in his prime and the other's seeming in-ability to never die.

Sam Kinison is definitely part of the "funny fat guy dying in his prime" trifecta. The other two obviously being Chris Farley and John Belushi.

Belushi probably would have (had he never died) gone on to make a few decent comedies (he was intended to be a ghostbuster) and I think in his later years gone the Bill Murray route of indie films and Dramedies. In all this he probably would have still be somewhat haunted by Blutto and continued to despise the people who saw him live strictly because of Animal House. That being said though, I think even with this prediction. His popularity wouldn't be NEARLY what it is today.

I have no doubt in my mind that death was the greatest asset to Chris Farley's legacy. While intensely funny, he just wasn't leading man material. Films like Almost Heroes and Beverly Hills Ninja have occasional moments of hilarity sprinkled amongst them; but Farley was always at his best doing small roles in films like Billy Madison and Dirty Work. Had Chris Farley not died it's very possible he'd have continued in non-David spade co-starring movies (basically lets face it, while both are pretty funny on their own... they worked best as a team. The 90's Abbott & Costello) until he was nothing more than "Fat Rob Schneider".

Two of these 3 comedians have proposed biopics in the making. Despite my dislike of Sam Kinison's stand-up, I find the man himself to be quite interesting. I'm definitely most interested in his biopic. If anyone besides Dan Folger is cast as Kinison that'd be a crime against nature (much like if the John Belushi biopic wasn't starring Jack Black and titled Don't Look Back in Anger).

I'm still open minded to Kinison however, I welcome all Sam Kinison fans who read this to recommend other routines or comedy specials of his that may change my opinion.

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