Sam Kinison: A Life in Comedy Looks Back on an Explosive Career that Pushed the Boundaries of Stand Up


Sam Kinison changed comedy.  Although his contributions to comedy were of a different tenor than George Carlin, or Richard Pryor, or Bill Hicks, there isn’t a comic alive who hasn’t in some way been influenced by Kinison’s stage persona, Kinisons’ performances and Kinison’s unique footprint. When Kinison burst onto the scene, comedy sat up and took notice. They would line up at the Comedy Store to hear what he had to say and to experience his explosive energy. He was a Rock Star.  He pushed boundaries. Even for those who didn’t emulate Kinison, everyone knew he had redefined what stand up comedy could be, and raised the bar for everyone. And yet, despite his influence, you don’t hear people talking about Kinison as much as you would expect, particularly compared to other influencers like Hicks, Carlin and Pryor, which is why we’re absolutely thrilled that SiriusXM is paying homage to his career on Friday.

SiriusXM’s Comedy Greats Channel will air the world premiere of Sam Kinison’s final performance a performance that has never been released to the public until now.  Just prior to the special airing, Comedy Greats will also premiere an hour special, Sam Kinison: A Life in Comedy hosted by Raw Dog’s own Ron Bennington, and featuring stories from an incredible list of comedians including Kevin Hart, Louie Anderson, Marc Maron, Josh Gad, Jackie Martling, Barry Katz, Andrew Dice Clay, Jimmy Schubert, Mitchell Walters, and Carl LaBove.

Some of the stories are about personal interactions with Sam, like Martling who gives insight into a young pre-celebrity Kinison, when he met Sam on the road after being warned he “was a little different” but made a huge impression on him.  Louie Anderson talks about being on the same Young Comedians Special as Sam- a night that changed comedy forever. “All the comics stood in the back and watched Sam. He was doing stuff no one talks about,” Anderson said. “That was forward thinking. And he crushed that audience. And I went, oh God.” You also get to hear from Sam’s closest friends like Mitchell Walters and Jimmy Shubert who share personal memories of performing and partying with Sam, talking about the gigantic highs, as well as the darkness. But it’s his best buddy Carl LaBove who sums Sam up best comparing him to a dangerous storm, that’s beautiful, frightening and destructive all at once- but you need to hear it in LaBove’s own words to appreciate it.

You’ll get to hear Dice talk about his renowned rivalry with Kinison, and a little known story from before the fighting, about a night that he and Sam sat around a dining room table and worked on Sam’s infamous intro with Yakov Smirnoff and some other regulars at the Comedy Store.

The special is riveting, the stories are priceless, and Bennington, as always puts the perfect bow on the stories tying them all together.  It’s an hour not to be missed and it airs at 3pm on SiriusXM Comedy Greats.  Right after the hour special, you can listen to the never before released final performance.  The special was actually recorded by someone in the audience in 1992, only days before he died. You can hear a clip of Dice’s story and his claim to Kinison’s opening bit now.


Listen to a preview of the special below, and then tune in to hear Sam Kinison: A Life in Comedy airing at 3pm on Comedy Greats Channel 94. On Friday, September 15, you’ll be able to buy Sam Kinison: The Definitive Comedy Collection produced by Comedy Dynamics that will include that final performance as well as a box full of recordings, specials on both CD and DVD.  Also available on Demand on SiriusXM.



Read more comedy news.