Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Samuel 'Sam' B. Kinison (December 8, 1953 - April 10, 1992) was an American stand-up comedian, famous for his raunchy humor and wild, colorful outfits. A former revival-style preacher, his standup routines were most often characterized by intense, angry ranting punctuated by a trademark primal scream.
Kinison might be considered a "rock and roll comedian" since he occasionally was accompanied by a touring band, as well as having a prodigious appetite for drugs and alcohol. In 1988, he had a hit song with his novelty version of the Troggs' "Wild Thing." He was an impressive vocalist; one of his albums featured four songs performed by him and his band, and during one notable Tonight Show performance, he delivered what began as a beautifully rendered version of Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight," but which descended into angry ranting during the spoken breakdown. He had a supporting role as a history teacher in the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield movie Back to School.
Some of Kinison's most spontaneous moments came during his frequent appearances on Howard Stern's radio show. He made an angry phonecall on-air to Bobcat Goldthwait. He embarassed comedienne Judy Tenuta to the point of driving her off the show, as he sat in with Penn Gillette , Chuck McCann , and Jack Riley . His most notorious stunt resulted in a highly entertaining on-air feud with Stern- he made an on-air promise to bring to the show members of the rock-n-roll band Bon Jovi, with whom Stern was feuding, but never showed up. It turned out he had never had the intention of bringing them to the show. Stern's reaction was swift and vindictive, bringing about the eventual apology of Kinison, but not before one of the show's funniest moments in which comedian Gilbert Gottfried and Stern both savaged an emotionally charged phone call Stern had with Kinison, during which both stars used the words "Man" and "Dude" toward one another so often that Gottfried and Stern went into stitches on hearing the playback. Stern and Kinison eventually made up, and paired on Stern's pay-per-view special, U.S. Open Sores . Following Sam's death, Stern has had Kinison's brother, Bill Kinison, perform the voice of Sam from beyond the grave.
One of his more notorious comic routines included the suggestion that while performing cunnilingus one ought to lick the letters of the alphabet.
Even as Kinison sometimes seemed a romantic at heart, his routines mostly expressed a dim view of love, possibly as a result of a string of failed relationships. He was working to get himself clean and sober in the months immediately before his death and married his girlfriend Malika Souiri in 1992, but six days after the wedding, he was killed by a drunk driver. Ironically, Kinison had often belittled the dangers of drunken driving in his comedic skits with statements like, "You're just trying to get home, right?" and "It's the only way to get the goddamn car back to the house!"
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