Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh? (1998)

Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh? Poster

For fans of comedy, Sam Kinison needs no introduction. His scathing comedy tackled tough topics no other comedian dared to touch. Fed up and disenfranchised with his career as a Pentacostal preacher, Sam left the ministry to try his hand at comedy. Almost immediately, and thanks in part to the foresight of Rodney Dangerfield who showcased Sam on an HBO special, his piercing scream, extreme humor and irreverent take on life attracted attention. Containing rare, early footage of Sam preaching and performing stand up at the world famous Comedy Store, the Award Winning "Why Did We Laugh" tells the story of a comedic genius who touched a deeper chord in people than most entertainers. Sadly, Sam was taken from us far too early, yet leaving us with a lasting and unique legacy.

Film Overview
"Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh?" is a 1998 documentary directed by Larry Carroll that traces the life and career of stand-up comedian Sam Kinison, who was known for his high-pitched, expletive-laden comic design. This documentary offers a detailed point of view of Kinison's troubled life, interesting career and the profound influence he had on the world of stand-up comedy. The hour-long movie integrates archival footage, interviews, and bits of Kinison's efficiencies to depict the late comic's questionable and innovative comic design.

Early Life and Career
The documentary starts with an overview of Kinison's upbringing in a conservative family. As the child of a Pentecostal preacher, he was ordained as a preacher himself before diverting to the world of funny. Kenison's early life greatly influenced his later efficiencies; his profane tirades on religious beliefs, world appetite, and the tribulations of modern-day life held undertones of Biblical homilies.

The Rise of Kinison
Further into the documentary, the rise of successful years of Sam's career is told through a blend of interviews, consisting of those with famous comedians like Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, and Jay Leno. They all shared their experiences, admiring Sam's distinct style, raw energy, and outrageous material. Sprinkled between commentary from contemporary comedians are videos of Kinison's own efficiencies, showcasing his explosive brand of humor that often focused on taboo subjects.

Controversies and Personal Life
"Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh?" doesn't shy away from unveiling the questionable aspects of Kinison's life and profession. It brings up Kinison's wild lifestyle, his battles with alcohol and drugs, and his contentious stand-ups that frequently brought in criticism. He was infamous for his brazen handle topics like religious beliefs, marital relationship, and other social standards, which typically resulted either in thunderous applause or vehement booing.

The Unsung Hero of Comedy
The documentary concludes by concentrating on the enduring effect Kinison had on stand-up funny. It showcases how Kinison's enthusiasm, energy, and controversial subject matters redefined the funny landscape. In a bittersweet end, it states the night of Kinison's awful death in a vehicle mishap in April 1992 and climaxes with a homage to the late comedian, acknowledging his enduring tradition that continues to affect today's comedians.

"Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh?" is an engaging expedition of a comic legend. Though an amusing yet engaging watch, it is likewise a poignant suggestion of Kinison's unstable life and the tragic loss of an one-of-a-kind genius. Through interviews and compelling efficiencies, director Larry Carroll wonderfully records why we laugh, and in some cases cry, at the life and work of Sam Kinison. This documentary functions as a celluloid testimony to Kinison's enduring effect on comedy, showing that his tradition pulses vibrantly even numerous years after his demise. The laughter he invoked, the taboos he shattered and the audacious comedy he championed makes "Why Did We Laugh?" a fitting tribute to an amazing talent.

Top Cast

  • Beverly D'Angelo (small)
    Beverly D'Angelo
  • Rodney Dangerfield (small)
    Rodney Dangerfield
  • Larry King (small)
    Larry King
  • Bill Kinison
  • Sam Kinison (small)
    Sam Kinison
    Himself (archive footage)
  • Carl LaBove
  • Jay Leno (small)
    Jay Leno
  • Tim Matheson (small)
    Tim Matheson
  • Dennis Miller (small)
    Dennis Miller
  • Richard Pryor (small)
    Richard Pryor
  • Judy Tenuta (small)
    Judy Tenuta