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10 Comics to Watch: Kyle Kinane

Confident alt comic earns Oswalt's blessing

Hannibal Buress | Deon Cole | Lucas Cruikshank | Garfunkel & Oates
Brett Gelman | Chris Gethard | The Imponderables | Kyle Kinane
Chelsea Peretti | Jack Whitehall

After playing Just For Laughs’ Chicago fest last June, Kyle Kinane embarked on a stand-up tour of his own creation: bars, record stores, possibly house parties. He drove his truck, and when there was no money for a hotel, he slept in it. He’s played German singing halls, Burbank garages, downtown Los Angeles rooftops under construction lighting.

“Nothing is weird anymore,” Kinane says. “Those shows are the most fun — the people know what they’re getting into.”

Popular on Variety

There’s no mystery to Kyle Kinane, no gimmick or unifying theme. His comedy is simply honest personal stories, often embarrassing, usually involving alcohol. Kinane’s debut CD “Death of the Party,” out earlier this year, covers soul-crushing jobs (selling cake decorations over the phone), brutal insomnia and discussion of why friends don’t let him hold their kids.

“For someone as young as he is, he’s way more comfortable than his peers at being himself,” says Patton Oswalt, who’s had Kinane open for him, off and on, for two years. “He’s totally relaxed and not trying to prove anything.”

Much of that started when Kinane lived in Chicago and fell in love with its comedy scene in 1999. “It was like the first time you hear music and think, ‘This isn’t like what’s on the radio,’?” recalls Kinane, who honed his voice and moved to L.A. in 2003. His casual cool demeanor remained (as did his epic beard).

“Now I gotta start caring,” he jokes, “which is what didn’t get me here in the first place.”

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