Recently I performed in Laughlin, Nevada. It's the same city where Sam Kinison was traveling to perform back in the early 90s when he died in an accident. On my way to my gig, I drove down that same road. This got me to thinking a bit about Sam and a famous story told by another comedian (in the book I Killed: Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics), who was at his funeral. I love this story:
"Sam Kinson was a big influence on me. He was really the first comedian to achieve rock-star status. So when I got to get to know him at The Comedy Store in the early 90’s, I felt very lucky. Within a year of getting to know each other, Sam died. When Carl Labove (Sam’s best friend) called The Comedy Store,
just hours after Sam had died in the car accident, I was the guy who answered the phone. It was terrible. That week I went with my girlfriend, now my wife, Margo, to Forest Lawn in Burbank, California, for Sam’s funeral. The chapel was packed wall-to-wall with comedians and celebrities. Richard Belzer emceed the ceremony. Many of Kinson’s friends and family spoke. Pauly Shore talked
about Sam’s being like a brother to him and how Sam used to baby-sit him. When Carl Labove was asked to speak, the place went silent. We all knew Carl had been with Sam when he died. Carl spoke for a while and then began to cry, so upset he couldn’t speak. Richard Belzer finally came up to the podium to help Carl down. The whole place was a mess, everyone sobbing. Then, just as Carl was
almost back to his seat, he broke free from Richard and ran back to the microphone. He’d stopped crying, and with a big smile on his face he said, 'By the way, I’ll be at Igby’s all week! Two shows Friday, three Saturday.' It was hilarious, and a nice ending to Sam’s funeral."