laurie fanelli
laurie fanelli

In the past, we’ve described stand-up Kyle Kinane as an old-timey sea captain, and while the comparison is apt, he reminds me more of a more youthful, liberal version of Parks and Rec’s whittling libertarian Ron Swanson. On Kinane’s latest album, Loose in Chicago, released by Comedy Central last fall, every track is named after a kind of food, and one of the funniest bits is the comedian’s discussion of being diagnosed with gout. Yes, gout.

The comedy world is full of bearded men making jokes that appeal to bros, and when I first saw Kinane perform at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, I assumed he fell into that dull category. Joke’s on me, though, because Kinane is much more than that. At times, he’s even game to get mildly political, lampooning permissive gun regulations (“I’m confused by the open-carry law”) and mourning the Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps, “a great villain” whose horrible bigotry Kinane is bemused and delighted to describe as a unifying force that brought together LGBT activists and the Hells Angels in their hatred of Phelps’ awful politics.

Kinane’s album is the perfect thing to listen to if you need to chuckle during your morning commute or a turbulent flight (nothing makes a bumpy landing more tolerable than involuntary laughter). But he’s also one of those comedians who seem to always pull off a hilarious set in person. On stage, he always seems more than a little wound up, like a kid who normally isn’t allowed to eat candy and has gotten into the Fun Dip. Kinane has a goofy, self-aware air, and a knack for saying smart things in a very dumb-sounding way; having seen way too many self-deprecating comics to count, I mean this as the highest compliment.

He also just seems like a nice person. In an interview last year, comedian and former Portlander Shane Torres fondly recalled touring with Kinane, singing the comic’s praises and calling him “my buddy, but... also one of my favorite comics.”

I can see why: I’ve seen a lot of sets from a lot of comics who take themselves extremely seriously, and while Kinane seems serious about his work, he’s also aware that his job is absurd and he’s been lucky to make it to where he is.

And yeah, he’s also willing to talk about getting gout, which he calls “a real dumb disease.” “‘You should live life to the fullest, Kyle,” he says. “I did. I got fucking gout.”