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October 14, 1988 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-14
This is a tabloid page

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Sam Kinison: you either love him or hate him

By Brian Berger
"I didn't want to have a battle of
wits with him. I mean I don't have
a battle of wits with an active alco-
holic on the streets. He's an active
drug addict and he's going to die
soon. And that's the bottom line."
- Bob Goldthwait on Sam
"I' m trying to refrain from
retorting to this illiterate, stupid,
impossible, talentless turd."
- Whoopi Goldberg on Sam
Before I tell you why Sam Kini-
son, the most emotional man in
America, is a godlike creature of
immeasurable wit and wisdom, I
want to talk about comedy.
I love to laugh and make others
laugh. If during my comedic exer-
cises I make fun of people or de-
scribe in detail some of the most
twisted and deviant examples of
human behavior known to me, does
that make me an insensitive, mean-
spirited, politically-incorrect ass-
hole? Or, rather, does it demonstrate
that I am a sensitive and enthralled
observer of the human condition, a
person who so intensely loves the
greatness that humans are some-
times capable of that I can't stand
for a minute the blunderfuck medi-
ocrity that most are content with?
If you think the former is true,
than you're either a repressed con-
servative or an over-intellectualiz-
ing pseudo-liberal that is so intent
on not offending anyone or any-
thing that you shut yourself off
from all that I consider real and

humorous about life. If you are ei-
ther of these types, I suggest that
you stop reading now and run off to
the nearest Bob Goldthwait/Whoopi
Goldberg film festival. Have a good
Now that the losers are gone, let
me say that I love Sam Kinison.
To me, Sam is the embodiment of
truth, honesty, passion, integrity,
sexuality, and humor. You know,
all the good stuff. Loud, unpre-
dictable, irreverent, and excessive,
Sam is truly the new King of
Comedy. A true innovator, Sam -
like Hunter S. Thompson in jour-
nalism, Howard Stern in radio,
Sonic Youth in music, Penn and
Teller in performance art, and
Michael Jordan in basketball -
has virtually reinvented the aesthet-
ics of his chosen art form.
"Sex without drugs? That's like a
car with no gas."
- Sam Kinison on Ecstasy
"Kevin's starring in his own
special. It's called 'Why am I
- Sam Kinison on his brother,
Kevin, who committed suicide in
the spring of 1988
The big escape valve for comedi-
ans has always been the phrase
"just kidding." The truth is, how-
ever, that the best comics - those
who strip away their inhibitions
and let it all hang out; all the pain,
anger, hate, and bewilderment of
life - aren't kidding. They're
telling it like it is with perhaps a
little embellishment, but overall,
their art is their life.
The conundrum with this is that
if you've led a boring life, you'll be

Continued from Page 9
BILL: As you know, I'm Bill.
I' m 21 years-old and I'm from
M: How'd you end up here, then?
B: Bus. My grandparents sent me
here. I was in trouble with the
cops up there, so they sent me
M: What do you think of this
B: It sucks. I don't like it at all. I
wish I could go back, but I can't
since I got in trouble with the law
in California.
M: Do you have any relatives
around here?
B: Yeah, in Detroit, but they
don't want to have anything to do
with me.
M: Do you receive any money
from the government?
B: No, but my grandparents send
me a little every once in a while.
M: Where are your parents?
B: My dad is deceased, and I don't
know where my mom is.
M: Have you tried getting a job
around here?
B: Yeah, I have. But most jobs
around here require a W2 form, and
it asks if you have ever been
arrested for anything. Most jobs
also require I.D. I'm first now
looking for a place to live. Then
that way, I can try to get a job
next to where I live.
M: How do you like living in
Ann Arbor?
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B: It's embarrassing walking
around the streets and campus.
People laugh and mock you. I'm
called a bum but most people
saying that have never been put in
that position of being kicked out
on the streets.
M: Who gives you the most
trouble around here?
B: It would probably be- the
M: Why do they give you trouble
B: Just for walking around. It's
called vagrancy.
M: Is this a safe place?
B: No. It's not safe for anyone.
Anything can happen to anybody.
People carry knives. I don't carry
one because I don't think I'd have
the guts to stab anyone.
M: What are your future plans?
B: I'd like to have a job and a
place to live. It's something you
can't rush into. As fast as you get
in it is as fast as you can get out
of it.
M: Did you go to high school?
B: No, I dropped out in the eighth
grade. That's why it is so hard to
find a job. Most jobs require a
high school diploma or a G.E.D. I
tried to get my G.E.D. but I
flunked it.
M: Have you ever collected cans?
B: No, I don't want to be laughed
at and put my hands in trash.
M: Are drugs a problem around
B: I just smoke marijuana and I
drink. I don't make it a habit or do
it everyday. I want to get my life
M : Are drugs a problem with
other people?
B: It's mainly drinking that's a
big problem. You have a couple
coke heads, obviously.

M: When you came here, did you
give them false info?
B: No, they can find out all of
that stuff about you and then
you'd be in more trouble.
M: Are you afraid of having to go
back to California for your
B: No, I was arrested a couple
months ago, and they were going
to take me back but they didn't
because it'd cost them too much
money, so they let me off the
hook. I'm a free man in the state
of Michigan as long as I keep
straight. Yeah, as long as I don't
get in any trouble and I haven't
been in any trouble since I've been
here and I don't plan on it.
M: What kind of trouble were
you in?
B: Let's see. Grand theft, stealing
cars. Robbing businesses. Mainly
stuff like that.
M: Do you think you'll ever do it
B: I won't. I got out of 35 years,
and if I did anything, that would
just be added to it.
M: Are many of the others in here
out of prison?
B : Yeah, just about all of them
are just out of prison. It's more
dangerous in here, though, than it
is in prison.
M: That about wraps it up. Do
you have anything else you want
to say?
B: No.
Thursday and I've seen a definite
improvement. That's about it.
I had to take off for class, so
Doug, one of the homeless, took
over for me and interviewed Luke.
DOUG: Luke, you want to tell
us about yourself.

LUKE: Yeah, hello. I'm from
the West Coast and I've been here
for about five years or so. I won't
tell you exactly what I do, but it
was in the communications
business. I got laid-off and finally
ended up at the shelter.
D: Do you like living at the
L: No, I really don't. It's just an
interim situation to get everything
squared away and I hope to get out

a boring comedian. Sam Kinison
has not led a boring life.
"He's the only guy that came out
of the fucking grave after being dead
for three days, and people didn't go,
'Oh! Oh! Oh! The dead fucking
live! ' Anybody else and they freak.
Jesus comes out; it's like nothing.
'Ah, it's Jesus. Hey, you look a
little dusty there, let's wipe some
of that off. God, what'd you ride
with the top down.'"'
- Sam Kinison on the resurrec-
Born in 1955, Sam Kinison is
the son of an evangelical preacher.

Brought up in what he called "one
of the notches in the Bible Belt,"
Sam inherited the family business
and for a few years his tongue lam-
basted insecure, ignorant, and scared
parishioners into giving money to
the church. Fortunately for comedy
lovers, there was an awakening of
the spirit in Preacher Sam, and it
certainly wasn't the spirit of some
dead savior. Rather, it was the spirit
of rock 'n' roll. Sam left the church
in 1980 to go to California. After
years of paying his dues in strip
joints and other dives, Sam become
the preeminent comedian on the

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Hollywood scene by 1985.
His first major national exposure
came from his appearance in the
Rodney Dangerfield film Back to
School. Sam's portrayal of a his-
tory professor who is truly con-
sumed by his work was mind-
blowingly great. The nuances of
Sam's facial expressions, body
movements, and speech patterns
marked him as a truly unique, tal-
ented, and LOUD performer. While
he is oftentimes undeniably bom-
bastic, he is never loud for loud-
ness' sake. Rather, his loudness is
part of the dynamic of his art. Sam
uses great jumps in intensity and
volume not just to shock his audi-
ence but also to emphasize certain
important points.
The next major Sam event was
the release of his debut album,
Louder than Hell. Probably the
most controversial record ever put
out by Warner Brothers, it is per-
haps the finest comedy album of all
time. Only the King's Elvis Hav-
ing Fun on Stage (RCA) comes
close to the inspired mania of Sam
on Louder than Hell. While some
parts like the Khaddaffi and Dr.
Ruth bits have become dated, most
of the this album contains eternally
classic material. Whether talking
about Jesus' last words (OW! OW!
See KINISON, Page 6

D: Do you think the shelter is a
dangerous place to stay?
L: Yes, I really do. I can
substantiate it by, that not more
than a month ago, two individuals
got into a confrontation, and one
was stabbed. I've seen a lot of
other fights, and yeah, it's most
definitely dangerous.
D: What do you like most about
living~ at the shelter?
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