Standup comics are not immune to the the crunch of festival lineup conflicts.
“I remember I did one festival, and Johnny Marr was on a stage where I could hear him playing Smiths songs,” Kyle Kinane says. “I just stopped doing my act. I was like, 'Why are we in here? He's playing “How Soon is Now”! Why aren't we over there watching that?'”
If you don't know Kinane by name, you might recognize him as the man with a hefty beard who tipped back a few on Comedy Central's Drunk History before telling the stories of the 1886 Haymarket affair and the first space walk. Kinane is coming to The Barbary tent, making his Outside Lands debut playing sets with Anthony Jeselnik and Claudia O'Doherty on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5-6. He also confirms he's taped a third appearance for an upcoming episode of Drunk History, but concedes he may have made an effort to tone things down.
“I kept it together a little bit more this time,” he says. “I think I was starting to scare my mom.”
In addition to alcohol-fueled disquisitions on the past, he's has also released two specials: 2012's Whiskey Icarus and 2015's I Liked His Old Stuff Better. (A third, taped in Chicago, is expected to premiere this fall.) No stranger to San Francisco, Kinane taped his first televised special at The Fillmore, and considers the city an ideal place to play shows.
“There's a tradition of music, art, and other forms of entertainment that come out of that city. The audience gets it, so it's always nice to play there.”
That said, Kinane does acknowledge that the burgeoning encroachment of tech culture has made its way into the crowds he draws.
“Sometimes you walk into a show and you're like, 'Oh yeah, you're not the fun people. You're the 22-year-olds with more money than you know what to do with, and you don't really know why you're at a comedy show right now,' ” he says.
While Kinane's fellow performers may be known for television and film appearances, Kinane is a purebred stand-up. He's been at it for 17 years, and since the release of his debut album, Death of the Party, in 2010, he's been consistently touring behind an act that is both a constant put-down of himself and a reflection of his offbeat brand of humor.
One recent Kinane bit concerns his reaction to learning he'd been diagnosed with gout.
“I try to allow an actual human response first,” he explains. “I don't want to just exploit it for comedy right away, but for having been a comedian for so many years, that's your natural filter for the world. It kind of just comes naturally for me to think, 'Oh, I've got gout? Well, this is pretty silly.'”
Indeed, there will be lots of silliness to choose from at this year's Barbary tent.
On the podcast front, there's Paul F. Tompkins' improvised Spontaneanation (featuring several special guests), a live episode of Harmontown hosted by Community creator Dan Harmon, and Oakland native Moshe Kasher's roundtable discussion show, Hound Tall. Joining Kinane on the stand-up front is John Mulaney, the former Saturday Night Live writer who will soon head to Broadway with Nick Kroll as their old-man alter-egos George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon in Oh, Hello.
Another headliner is Mulaney's former SNL colleague Fred Armisen. The Portlandia star has recruited Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould and fellow comic Charlene Yi to help him do whatever his set might entail. (Hopefully, Armisen's impression of former New York Gov. David Paterson makes an appearance.)
Speaking of podcasts, Kinane says he too will soon join the multitudes of comedians who have successfully made the leap into the medium.
“I'm finally going to get some of those podcast riches I hear everybody talking about,” he says.
His show, The Boogey Monster, is expected to be released soon, but if you fancy a tightly structured concept, Kinane cautions you not to get your hopes up.
“It's me and comedian Dave Stone, and every episode is just 15 minutes of us figuring out if the recorder is working, and then another half hour talking about barbecue,” he says. “We don't even get to the supernatural until an hour in. If unfocused is what you're looking for, you want The Boogey Monster.”
Well, if funny is what you want, you won't do better than Kyle Kinane. Just make sure no former Smiths are on at the same time.