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Sam Kinison was an American comedian best known for his crass humor and trademark scream. The Grammy-nominated comedian received his first break from fellow comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
Sam Kinison - Full Episode (45:17)
A former preacher, Sam Kinison's raw comedy brought him intense highs and lows.
The full biography of Sam Kinison.
Actress-Director Rain Pryor talks about how her father Richard Pryor was a comedy pioneer with his raw stand-up performances and honest critiques of race.
Actress-Director Rain Pryor talks about her father Richard Pryor's comedic influences including Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Gleason and Bill Cosby and the comedians who have been inspired by him like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Steve Harvey.
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Sam Kinison was an American comedian born on December 8 1953 in Yakima, Washington. Known for his crass humor and trademark scream, Kinison received his first break from comedian Rodney Dangerfield. His popularity grew, earning him appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. In 1988 Kinison received a Grammy nomination for his comedy album. He died in a car accident on April 10, 1992 at the age of 38.
Actor and comedian Sam Kinison was born in Yakima, Washington, on December 8, 1953. Like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor before him, Sam Kinison stunned and amazed audiences with his intense comedic performances. No topic was off limits for this controversial comic, and his sharp barbs were often punctuated with his trademark primal scream. "People know I'm triple-X rated. Obviously I'm not a role model for impressionable youth," Kinison once told People magazine.
The son of a preacher, Kinison spent much of his childhood in Peoria, Illinois. Kinison was only three years old when he was hit by a truck, which left him with some brain damage. At the age of 12, he experienced another type of trauma when his parents divorced. Sam and younger brother Kevin stayed with their mother while older brothers Richard and Bill went to live with their father.
School held little interest for Kinison. In his early teens he was quite rebellious, cutting classes and engaging in some shoplifting. Kinison was sent to a religious boarding school called the Pinecrest Bible Training Center in Utica, New York, when he was 15. He discovered a passion for music and taught himself how to play guitar around this time. After that school year ended, Kinison returned for a brief stay before striking out on his own. He spent a few years wandering around the country.
After his father's death in 1972, Kinison decided to become a preacher. His older brothers were already preachers, and Kinison had sometimes played music for them during their sermons. While he took his religious calling seriously, he still had a great sense of humor and was a big admirer of Richard Pryor.
At the age of 21, Kinison got married for the first time. The union was a brief and unhappy one. By 1977, Kinison was preaching in a rough section of Chicago but he soon abandoned the ministry to pursue his dreams of becoming a comic. He traveled to Houston for a comedy workshop the following year and ended up staying there. By 1979, Kinison was one of the city's top stand-up performers, knocking out audiences with his rants about marriage and religion. He was often a featured performer at the Comedy Annex. One night Rodney Dangerfield caught Kinison's act and gave the young comic some encouragement.
After twice being named the funniest man in Texas by the Dallas Morning News, Kinison decided to move to Los Angeles in 1980 to advance his career as a comic. He ended up struggling for several years, however, as he tried to break into the comedy scene there.
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