Sam's worst is better than most people's best
Sean Whitmore | Los Angeles, CA USA | 11/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching Sam Kinison is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's VERY good. And when it's bad...it's still good. (Plus, you always feel dirty afterwards) Sam's concert at the Wiltern Theatre is by no means his best show (the "Breaking the Rules" DVD is much better), but there are still plenty of laughs on this disc. This show was after Sam cleaned up his personal life, so a lot of his humor in self-effacing, making fun of his wild and drunken past. Find out the fate of Sam's beloved car Mr. Vette, and why he could never get a normal line of coke at parties. Plus, as a special feature, this disc includes scenes from another of Sam's stand-ups. This is an OLD one, too, from before Sam made it big. He's performing on a stage that looks like it's in a bar or something. This stuff has never been released on video before, and there's a LOT of it! The standup act from the special feature is almost as long as the disc's main concert! It includes a lot of great early bits, such as God stepping on people and Jesus' disciples trying to call in sick.Wait a minute, I was trying to make a point here and I forgot it...oh yeah. Buy it."
Samuel Burl Kinison: 12/8/53 -- 4/10/92
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 08/06/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In Sam Kinison's highly un-P.C. "Family Entertainment Hour," he starts by insulting M.C. Hammer (remember him?) and suggests that serial killers target all rappers, then things soar from there. A few dozen F words, coke humor, urinating in a suitcase, swallowing (you know what), blasphemy, Richard Simmons-- it all goes parading rapidly by in a demented stream of consciousness punctuated every so often by Sam's trademark screeches. The finale is Kinison's phone call to an audience member's ex-girlfriend. He loudly abrades her for sleeping with the guy's brother. Maybe the brother was a better lay, Sam.
The real question is: what family was Sam trying to entertain here? The Mansons?
This is not my preferred brand of stand-up. Maybe it's yours.
(Note: Kinison claims on the main feature (as does the included text bio) to finally be clean and sober. Maybe so, however, after that drunken teen plowed headlong into Sam's Grand Am barely a year later and killed him instantly, the autopsy revealed his drug of choice was present in the unfortunate comic's bloodstream. RIP to a most unusual, scatologically verbose proponent of humor's angrier side.)"
Forget the main part; the extras have a legendary stand-up r
K. Swanson | Austin, TX United States | 05/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 45-minute stand-up in the extras is worth five stars; the main part blows and is worth three at best (so to speak...Sam was always blowin', it looked like; guess that's why his ticker gave out on that chubby little body).
In fact, don't bother watching the main show. It's painfully hollywood, Sam even plays some of his weak-ass lead guitar (really sad when a guy gets famous for one thing and then feels the right to subject his audience to his much lesser talents...you know who you are).
The extras feature the best Kinison routine I've seen, recorded at Rascals in NJ (I think) just after he did the first Letterman appearance (comedy changed completely from that night on...youtube it, it's a classic), or maybe a year later. It's the polar opposite of the execrable main show on the disc, no show biz at all, just sheer comic brilliance. He made one or two better records (Louder Than Hell was his apex), but to see him this relaxed and free is a real treat for any fan of stand-up. There's a piano on stage and he continually gravitates to it, unable to resist its warm wooden embrace. If you've ever done any stand-up, you know how empty that stage can feel. The piano seems to support him, and he riffs non-stop for forty minutes, mixing new and old and improvising some classic moments. You can really feel Sam's preaching background in his delivery here, and there are some beautiful bits on religion. (Imagine a sermon in church from THIS guy!)
I've watched nearly every major comic of the last thirty years, and have never seen one as comfortable as Kinison in this set at a little club, except maybe Pryor. He has zero fear of any subject, lets his hilariously twisted ego run wild, and thinks so fast on his feet it seems surreal at points. It feels like you're hanging out with the funniest, nastiest friend you could ever have. Let the kids go to bed first, though...
This is a master class in stand up technique. Kinison owns the crowd for the entire set, and his major influence on Bill Hicks and most every other comedian since is very apparent. Watch this set and you have to admit it, like him or not: at his best, Sam was one of the few true comic geniuses, and maybe the fastest on his feet of them all.