Laughing at the Man

For generations, the dehumanizing monotony of modern life has been the domain of anti-capitalist academics, by-the-numbers sitcoms, rock bands, single-joke comic strips, and hack comedians. The technologies might change, but the stultifying drone of postindustrial labor persists, providing an endless supply of grist to critics such as Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, and Dilbert creator Scott Adams. It takes a distinct voice to add anything to the discussion, but comedian Kyle Kinane earns his spot. Instead of opting for the shopworn gag of the disgruntled nebbish at the mercy of clueless managers, Kinane goes deep. “Am I alive?” punctuates a joke about spending five hours of company time watching Huey Lewis videos on YouTube, a question that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s devoted precious hours to online inanities while watching the clock. Kinane is as much a storyteller as he is a comedian, reaping laughs from familiar topics by delivering his mordant narratives with a self-deprecating knowingness. His 2010 album Death of the Party was widely hailed as one of the best of the year, earning comparisons to Louis CK and his pal Patton Oswalt. During tonight's two performances, Kinane records his follow-up special for Comedy Central.
Wed., June 20, 2012

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