Although an aptly named album, Death of the Party shouldn’t bring to mind a comic playing the woe-is-me card or deadpanning his way through a litany of jokes. Instead, Kyle Kinane gleefully exposes the pointlessness of his daily existence, from the moment the alarm clock mocks him to start his day to the many failed interactions and absurd encounters with the outside world. And by outside world he means those few moments when he can launch off the couch and go outdoors with any sense of purpose.
Recorded last August in Los Angeles at the UCB Theatre, Death of the Party starts out a little tentative (although the very first joke is classic). Kinane isn’t quite stream of consciousness, but it may take a bit to get into the cadence of his presentation (although the absurdity of his imagery is spectacular). I mean, who comes up with getting into a fistfight with the manager of a Red Lobster over whether the Moon landing was faked?
Far from polished, the disheveled delivery is a good launching pad for his riffs, although some seem tighter than others. Never having seen him, I’m not certain whether that is due to older stories being fine tuned or him gauging the audience and making some changes on the spot. But what’s particularly impressive is that this album was recorded at a single performance, not cobbled together from a multi-night stand.
The bit about watching his friends’ kids was very strong (including a great line about why you need a more complex answer to a simple question), but then the routine about his physical appearance and his girlfriend seemed to wander a bit before getting to the one great line. But the Cholo bar bathroom story was airtight, and soon after that he hits a groove that continues through the rest of the set; the stories just more absurd and more off-the-chart funny. The bits about the Detroit Lions and Trader Joe’s had me doubled over (seeing the latter done live must be twice as funny).
Bunny sex. Forklift mishaps. Gourmet cake decorations. Pretentious intellectual thoughts not making the journey from brain to mouth. Job pornography. Sibling Failure. Volcano barbeques and inspirational insomnia.
In another bit of subversive hilarity, the track titles listed on the back of the CD are the nine songs on Dream Police, the third album by Cheap Trick. Not quite the loopy fake titles that David Cross and Steve Hofstetter have thrown out there, but totally in keeping with the aura of lowered expectations, as if even naming the bits would be a concession towards a productive, organized existence he can’t fathom maintaining (although there is a bonus track).
Please trust me on this one – if you think it starts out a little slowly, stay with it. Death of the Party is a no-brainer Best of 2010 contender.
Preview some sample clips here.
Buy Death of the Party from AST – click here.
Kyle’s MySpace page.
Kyle video: how to start the day