Formerly a preacher, Sam Kinison became one of the the loudest and rudest comedians of the 20th century. For some, his name conjures up images of a hard-partying, hard-drinking wild thing. His views on religion, women, and world hunger managed to put him on the shock comedy map. However, the fact is this demon from hell was an angel in disguise.
Born on December 8th, 1953 in Yakima, Washington, Sam Kinison’s beginnings were fairly innocent. His father was a Pentacostal preacher, and the family lived in a church in Peoria, Illinois. Sam and his brothers followed in their father’s footsteps by touring churches across the Bible Belt and earning a decent living. But that wasn’t enough for Sam. As his preachings became increasingly too much for the average churchgoer, he took his thoughts and ideas to comedy clubs.
Sam Kinison became one of the great stand-up comedians of the 1980’s. His life became the classic image of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. With the help of friends like Rodney Dangerfield, his popularity rose to incredible heights with HBO cable specials, frequent appearances on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color, and even a starring role on Charlie Hoover, a short-lived Fox sitcom.
Sam’s shows sold out like arena rock concerts, and he quickly earned the respect of the biggest rock acts of the late eighties, like Motley Crue, Guns n’ Roses, and Ozzy Osbourne, most of whom appeared in Sam’s music videos. Hard-drinking and hard-partying became a major part of his act, until it became his downfall. After realizing that drink and drug were killing him, he decided to clean up his life. He sobered up and married beautiful Malika Souiri, who appeared with him in his shows and in his music videos. Ironically, on their way to a sold-out show in Laughlin, Nevada, the newlyweds’ car was struck head-on by a teenaged drunk driver, injuring passenger Malika, and killing Sam in 1992. Although Sam has left us physically, his spirit continues on.