A comedy explosion has swept across America in the ’80s, and in 1985, its most potent weapon was introduced to the public, Sam Kinison. From the minute he blasts onto the stage, Kinison, an ex-preacher, takes his audiences over the edge with his powerful approach which pushes comedy to its darkest, and often loudest, limits.
Kinison’s meteoric rise to the top has brought him fans of all types, ranging from the wild heavy-metal set to the John Does of America, and he has been applauded with an equal fervor from the critics. With a non-stop work schedule that includes films, concert, records and television specials, there is no doubt that Kinison’s controversial topics and behavior will continue ruffling feathers well into the ’90s. It’s in his blood.
His October ’88 album release on Warner Bros. Records, Have You Seen Me Lately?, is filled with Kinison’s trademark hard-hitting monologues. Kinison’s approach is outrageous, challenging, and hysterically funny, and it finds him jumping headlong into monologues about taboos, preacher scam artists, the Pope, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. With titles such as, “Robo-Pope,” “The Story of Jim (Bakker),” “Jesus The Miracle Caterer,” “Lesbians Are Our Friends,” “Pocket Toys,” “Parties With The Dead,” and “Sexual Diaries,” Kinison leaves no stone unturned.
The LP also finds Kinison embarking on his adventurous singing debut on the revised remake of the Troggs classic, “Wild Thing.” After bringing the crowd to it’s feet with an impromptu performance of the song at his sold-out show at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles last July, Kinison decided to record the song and include it on his album. No surprisingly, Kinison has revamped the lyrics as only he can: “Wild thing, you made me trust you then stuck a knife in my heart. You lying, unfaithful, untrustable tramp…”
Kinison didn’t have to look very far for help in recording the song. Joining Kinison for this raunchy rendition were some of his biggest fans, including such notable rockers as members of Whitesnake, Poison, and Motley Crue. The recording, which was produced by Richie Zito, known for his studio work on Cheap Trick and Eddie Money, is accompanied by a video that turns the temperature up even more with its “who’s who” of rock ‘n rollers.
The video version, described by Kinison as “everything I always wanted to be in high school,” was directed by the acclaimed Marty Callner, and teams Kinison with his rocker pals, which includes none other than Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Poison’s C.C. DeVille, Billy Idol, Rudy Sarzo of Whitesnake, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, Slash and Steve Adler from Guns N Roses, various members of Ratt, and John Waite and Jonathan Cain. It also features the notorious Jessica Hahn as the ‘Wild Thing,’ and a special appearance by Rodney Dangerfield.
Logging over 250 concert appearances every year has helped Kinison achieve across-the-board success, and his popularity knows no geographical or cultural boundaries. Following his initial appearance on Rodney Dangerfield’s 1985 HBO Special, Rodney Dangerfield presents the Young Comedians, which Kinison filled with what he terms, “the six minutes that changed my life,” Sam’s career moved into high gear. He followed up with four appearances on Late Night With David Letterman and five guest shots on Saturday Night Live, culmination in a sixth appearance as the show’s host in November of 1986. Longtime friend and mentor Rodney Dangerfield asked Sam back for his 1986 HBO special, I Don’t Get No Respect and for a memorable part of Rodney’s crazed history professor in Back To School.
Kinison then starred in his very own HBO Special, Breaking The Rules, and his debut comedy album, Louder Than Hell, went on to sell over 200,000 copies, making it one of the biggest selling comedy albums of all time.
Currently looking to develop a feature film which would combine his two greatest loves, comedy and rock ‘n roll, Kinison is sure to continue his attack on the American psyche, while Have You Seen Me Lately? challenges his audience to follow him to even deeper depths. The question is, just how deep can he go?