For the past 12 years, he’s worked his way up the ladder, moving from Chicago to Los Angeles and leaving behind an office job selling gourmet cake decorations over the phone (which he likened to being a “toothless cog” spinning freely) and opening for comedy juggernaut Patton Oswalt. His debut record, “Death of the Party,” was named one of AVClub.com’s best comedy albums of 2010.
Now Kinane is touring the radioactive wasteland of America, including a Sunday stop in Oklahoma City.
“I always watched comedy. I got in trouble in kindergarten for saying that ‘Johnny Carson’ was my favorite TV show. I would stay up late with my mom and watch,” he said. “Everyone I grew up with was a comedian, whether they knew it or not. Everyone went for the laugh. I’m the only one that was naive enough to pursue it as a career.”
It’s a move that’s worked out well for the Illinois native. In addition to appearances on “Conan” and “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show,” Kinane followed up his own Comedy Central special by landing a gig as the voice of the cable channel.
He never sought out voice-over work, but he was glad to take it when offered.
“They asked if I wanted to try out; I said, ‘Sure,’” he said. “It’s been about a year. I hope I’m not getting on anyone’s nerves yet.”
On the contrary, some people can’t hear enough of him, including Yukon resident Brian Winkeler, who chose Kinane as the voice of the character Bastard in the in-development cartoon series “Bastard Road.”
“The second I heard Kyle’s voice, I knew he’d be perfect for the character,” said Winkeler, who co-created the series with former Oklahoma artist Dave Curd. “‘Bastard’ has a certain lovable-redneck arrogance, and Kyle’s gruff, world-weary delivery fits him like a glove of funny.”
The “Bastard Road” pilot, featuring both Kinane and comedian Brian Posehn, will make its world public premiere before Sunday’s show.
Still, Kinane’s true love is stand-up. And, when you love something, you take it seriously.
“I’m just trying to do my thing, make it personal,” Kinane said. “I take it very personally, which maybe isn’t healthy, but I can’t help it.“
Local comedian Spencer Hicks said he’s been trying since Kinane’s last show in Oklahoma City to get him to return.
“He works hard at it. You can’t be that funny without putting in the work, but his comedy seems so effortless,” Hicks said. “Some people want to call him an ‘alternative’ comic, but none of that really matters. He’s funny. When he performs, the crowd has a great time. That’s why we wanted to get him for another show.”
As for Kinane, coming back to Oklahoma was almost mandatory.
“Cameron (Buchholtz) and Spencer and Brad (Porter) put on a great show, and I had fun,” said Kinane. “Plus, Spencer got Aug. 17 recognized as ‘Kyle Kinane Day’ in Oklahoma, so I feel I have some civic responsibility to return.”