In December 2013, comedian Kyle Kinane embarked on a Twitter war with Pace Picante Salsa that had many people praising sauciness in more ways than one. Kinane posted a remark in January 2013 that read: “Pace Picante ads do everything short of calling you a queer for not eating their salsa.” He followed it up by posting, “‘Unless your mouth is full of dicks, you should be eating Pace Picante-brand salsa’—ad exec’s winning pitch to Pace Picante-brand salsa.”
Twelve months later @Pace_Foods liked Kinane’s harsh verbiage, which sent the comedian on a rampage of more insulting tweets, including: “I wouldn’t rub Pace Picante-brand salsa on my asshole if my turds came out on fire.” Again, @Pace_Foods liked the remark, which led Kinane to question if Pace actually paid a human to run their Twitter account or if an autobot simply praised any tweet with the “Pace Picante” name in it. This back-and-forth exchange of Kinane’s mockery and Pace’s likes lasted many hours. It even came with “Pace employees” offering blackmail bribes for free cases of salsa to be sent to Kinane. And then came the “firing” of Miles, a Pace employee caught in the crossfire. Eventually, it led to the company suspending their Twitter account and honoring a modern-day “victory” to a comedian who made a mark on social media.
Then … the truth. It all was a hoax led by Randy Liedtke and Brendon Walsh of the podcast “The Bone Zone” on AllThingsComedy.com. Liedtke and Walsh set up a faux Pace Twitter account in August 2013 and baited the comedian. Kinane’s response: “Welp, I done been had. Master prankster @randyliedtke got me. Got questions? Ask him. Sorry. I wanted it to be real too.”
Liedtke did send 10 jars of salsa to Kinane’s house, though. It only took a short time for the exchange to reach classic status among Twitter wars, as many news outlets picked up the story. Aside from putting a spotlight on the validity of brand marketing in a modern world, Kinane makes it clear it won’t be his pièce de résistance. He merely remains a good sport about the prank.
“Randy’s always been my friend,” Kinane tells encore. “People started following me [from this], for sure. Some folks still bring it up. I guess it was bigger than I realized. But I don’t want it to become my own personal ‘I’m Rick James, bitch.’”
Kinane has used Twitter as a platform to create succinct writing and even test the waters on new material before it hits the stage. “Twitter is a notepad,” he explains. “That’s it. I throw some stuff out there, and if it gets a little traction, maybe I’ll use it as a premise.”
Still, the live interaction between audience and comedian is what fuels the standup performer most. Kinane’s known to take everyday life situations and mold them into self-deprecating snippets of profundity.
“I get an idea and a couple bullet points to follow through on and see if anyone responds,” he describes. “Even if it isn’t funny, if it comes out conversationally, and I’m still fascinated enough with the idea or thought to keep blabbing about it—even if there aren’t any laughs initially—then, I keep hammering it. If I start talking and realize, ‘Oh, this thought is real stupid now that I’ve laid it out there,’ then I dump it.”
Kinane moved from Chicago to LA in 2003 to expand his standup career. Since, he’s traveled with hailed comedians like Patton Oswalt and Daniel Tosh, as well as landed on Variety’s “Ten Comics to Watch in 2010” and released his debut album, “Death of the Party,” the same year. He’s made TV appearances (“Conan,” “Comedy Central Presents”) and released a DVD special in 2012 called, “Whiskey Icarus.” Being on the road inspires him most. “Nothing duplicates the feeling of saying it onstage and seeing if it works,” he remarks, recently having come off a tour with Dave Ross.
Kinane’s material has an ease to it mainly because it’s relatable. He talks of drunken stupors, his beard, being a creative writing major, crappy day jobs—basically, anything and everything most people in Western society connect with. He’s sardonic but likable. He’s even referred to himself as the quite an upbeat comedian.
“It’s disingenuous to be onstage and act like my life is garbage when it’s not,” he notes. “I’m happy with my place in life, which is great for me as a person but terrible for me as a comedian. How much bitching can you listen to from a comedian anyway?”
However, Kinane has a way of enlightening subjects to reveal turns and twists of the human condition. Like little psychological canapés for the brain, his writing and storytelling manages to snack on the mundane in a way that leads to larger forkfuls of inward analyzation.
“I like hearing growth in people,” he says, “and I like trying to grow personally. I enjoy hearing someone’s act change as their life changes. I still talk about drinking, but not in the ‘whoo, party!’ way I used to, maybe. I don’t want to be a 40-year-old party animal. I’m not saying I’m locking it all down and jumping on the straight and narrow, but hangovers are feeling a bit immature nowadays.”
Once a closed-caption writer for “Girls Gone Wild” (“Pretty pointless thing to do, but the company and the coworkers were nice, and they gave us health insurance,” he says), today the comedian supplements his standup by doing voice-over work for Comedy Central. Yet, live humor is where he thrives, even if he thinks becoming a comedian was his only choice.
“I have no skills,” he quips. “I have nothing beneficial to offer society. I’ve got a functioning body that can pile things or shovel things. That’s it. Being funny isn’t a skill. It’s a personality trait. I tried to capitalize on a personality trait because I had no other skills of value.”
Judging by the audience roar, he chose wisely. Feedback often comes in laughter and sellout crowds, as he did a few years back when he toured through Wilmington. Kinane will return to Dead Crow Comedy Room on Wednesady, August 13th.
“Laugh at the jokes you like, don’t laugh at the ones you don’t like,” Kinane suggests. “And if you don’t like me, go do something else. It’s a great big world full of exciting choices. If you don’t like a comic, don’t sit there and boo or heckle like a piece of shit—go do something more rewarding and deserving of your time.”
Dead Crow Comedy Club
265 N. Front Street, 8 p.m.
Aug. 13, 8pm • Tickets: $12