US comedian Kyle Kinane has the potential to be a little scary on the surface. He looks like an extra from Sons of Anarchy and his set kicks off with half an hour of Ku Klux Klan material, so you could easily mistake him to be one of the more intimidating acts of the festival. In fact though, he’s just a gruffly voiced teddy bear who has more in common with Homer Simpson than he does a bikie gang leader or white supremacist.
It’s actually quite an extraordinary feat to witness someone spin 30 minutes of genuinely funny material out of a morally reprehensible group who exercise deeply unfunny behaviours, but Kinane somehow does. Revelling in the KKK’s ability to keep their laundry whiter than white, avoiding food stains from the potentially multi-cultural cuisines that their internal caterers must inevitably rely upon. Although he does miss the seemingly obvious proposition that surely they enjoy southern-fried chicken above all else, and who could blame them? It’s even more remarkable that Kinane can safely cover this subject without ever once glorifying the group or belittling the horrible effect of racism. A true example of humour being the most powerful weapon.
Eventually Kinane meditates on other subjects, shifting further towards his love of food before sharing what it’s like to hit that age where we have to start parenting our own parents. Experiencing the mortification that goes along with generational differences is common comedic territory but Kinane cuts wonderfully close to the bone.
Although at times he seems to be editing his set on the fly, pondering for achingly long periods before moving on with a new story, it’s refreshing to see an international comedian actually seem to care that his cultural references land properly – something that is commonly mowed over by other overseas acts. It’s this care towards the audience, a lot of very funny observations and Kinane’s sweetly rasping delivery that make him a world-class act.