Colin Kane is a staple of the insult stand-up comedy scene. You may not know him yet, but to quote the man himself, “I am not stopping until I get what I fucking deserve.”
It seemed as though there was a lull in insult comedy between the time we grew weary of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, and the emergence of Jeff Ross as a household name. Little did I know that Colin Kane was out there with his razor sharp sword of wit firmly pressed against the grindstone. He has been spreading his faux-hatred across the country for the past ten years, playing shows from New York to San Diego with stops in plenty of towns in between. He took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to teach me how to use Skype and then chat for awhile.
The most striking thing from a guy like Kane is that his stage persona and real life attitude are very different. While he appears to hate every race, gender, and sexual orientation during his performances, he’s driven entirely by a passion to entertain his fans. And while it may seem like his main audience would be white frat boys, that couldn’t be more wrong. He’s loved by women even though they bear much of the brunt of his comedy. Gay guys also take a good deal of punishment, but seem to support him louder than any other fans. It’s a testament to his, and his audience’s, ability to separate comedy from personal opinion.
Much like me in 6th-grade, Kane says, “If I make fun of you, it’s because I like you.” Unlike me though, who was just being an asshole by pulling little Susie’s hair, Kane’s mockery is hysterical to all parties. Quite literally, no one in the audience is safe. Up to half of his show is crowd work, giving him plenty of time to survey the room locate the next victim. From the fat girl obnoxiously smashing an order of nachos in the back row, to the old guy still trying to get laid, to the the two black guys trying to be cool in the corner, Kane is going to find you.
When I asked him if anything people or topics were off limits, it was an emphatic no. In the present comedic climate, people are quick to accuse comedians of being “too soon” or “too far.” I don’t believe either are possible and neither does Kane. That said, he isn’t trying to pull a Dane Cook. “There are some things I just don’t find funny,” said Kane, “so I don’t talk about them. I don’t think the Aurora shootings are off limits, the topic’s just not funny.” It’s refreshing to see a shock comic that doesn’t feel the need to capitalize on every event.
Kane believes that, “Insult humor is the funniest form of comedy. It’s so wrong and so good.” I couldn’t agree more. There are times when an idea pops into your head, and you immediately feel bad just for thinking of it. That’s where Kane comes in. He unleashes a stead stream of commentary that a less-confident person would have to offer the disclaimer “I’m going to hell for this, but,” in order to say aloud. Kane is fearless, and his fans are loyal for that reason. It’s observational humor that can only be found in the most perverse parts our our brains. The jokes are inappropriate on all levels, and you can’t help but laugh, even if it’s because you’re uncomfortable.
Because, as they say, “game recognize game,” I asked Kane his who favorite comedians were right now, and his answers fall perfectly in line with his humor philosophy. Comedians like Nick DiPaolo, Jim Norton, Don Rickles, and Bill Burr highlight his list, but his favorite is Lisa Lampanelli. While that will come as a shock to all those in the “women can’t be funny” club (hasn’t Katie Nolan proven all of you wrong already?), he loves Lampanelli because she can crush every crowd for whom she performs. “She’s absolutely owns the room.”
Don’t you hate when you see someone in public and you kind of have to say hi because you fucked them?
— Colin Kane (@colinkane) September 16, 2012
The most impressive thing about Kane is his work ethic. In the words of the long forgotten rapper Mike Jones, “You don’t work, you don’t eat. You don’t grind, you don’t shine.” Colin Kane grinds. Between Facebook and Twitter, the man is on a constant social media blitz. He uses it to test out new jokes, pimp upcoming shows, find new fans and connect directly with current ones. That’s how I first learned about him. Granted my interest was piqued mostly because we shared the same first name, but good things come from stupid intentions. It’s not a marketing team trying to fake the funk either. Kane responds to just about everything, and you never know when you’re going to wake up and have a message from him asking “why the fuck you weren’t at last night’s show?”
So what’s next? More touring. You can see the cities and dates here, and if you’re going to any Chicago shows, I’ll gladly drink a beer or nine with you beforehand. Kane is also actively persuing the TV industry, pitching shows to anyone who will listen to him out in LA. The ideas don’t stray far from his comedic stylings, so if one takes off you can expect a brash, in your face, comedy. If you’re nervous that means you won’t get to see his stand-up though, have no fear. Kane says the stage is where you really prove yourself and get to have fun with the audience, and he has no intention of giving that up.