Tuesday, May 29, 2012

20 years ago: The death of Sam Kinison

On April 10, 1992, Sam Kinison, 38, a former Pentecostal preacher who had become a popular standup comic, was killed in a highway accident in California when hit by a drunk driver. Mr. Kinison, who was twice-divorced, had married his third wife just five days earlier, and was driving with cocaine and other substances in his system.

Mr. Kinison, like his father, became a Pentecostal preacher, but, unlike Moses, chose to reject the things of eternity in order to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." (Hebrews 11:25b). Mr. Kinison abandoned preaching and became a comedian of the foul-mouthed, politally-incorrect variety that was in vogue in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I never heard or saw his act, since I did not then, and do not now, care for that kind of comedy. In addition to his appetites for alcohol and drugs, Mr. Kinison fathered a child out of wedlock by the wife of his best friend and opening act, Carl La Bove--which wasn't revealed until years after the La Boves got divorced. Mr. La Bove got sick of paying child support for years, and DNA tests overwhelmingly indicated that Mr. Kinison was the child's father.

Sam Kinison is remembered by his family--with an official website--and is, I suspect, forgotten by, or unknown to, just about everybody else, with the possible exception of students doing research into late-20th century popular culture and its more vulgar aspects. I wouldn't want to trade places with him.

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