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Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison Hardcover – May 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition First Printing edition (May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688126340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688126346
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,454,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this for my sons 19th birthday as I knew he had an interest in the late Sam Kinison. I made the fantastic mistake of opening the first page and I was hooked. Written without barriers, My Brother Sam, is a hard in your face look at the life of the madcap comedian. I read it in 3 days which is a record for me and not just because I knew I had to actually wrap the book and present it to my son a few days later.
Anybody will be enthralled with the stories within, whether you've heard of the subject matter or not and it's a fitting tribute to a man who was destined to live a short, but fast and crazy life. Five stars!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Both sides of a comic genius. 31 Mar. 2006
By Brad Cooper - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As I write this review, I'm sitting here listening to an old tape of Sam Kinison appearing on Howard Stern's radio show with Malika and Amy Lynn in 1991.

It's hard to believe that the upcoming April 10, 2006 will mark 14 years since the world lost its last true comic genius. In BROTHER SAM, penned by his brother and fellow preacher Bill Kinison, Sam's life from the humble beginning to the tragic end is recalled in full detail by a man who was by his side for the vast majority of it. While many books about standup comics turn into a simple recount of every but they'd ever performed by the halfway point, BROTHER SAM is different. All of the familiar names from Kinison folklore are here: Seka, Malika and Sabrina, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Rodney Dangerfield, Howard Stern, Jessica Hahn... the list goes on.

While the public perception of Sam is that of a screaming renegade former preacher that ridicules Jesus and runs around high and/or liquored up 24/7, Bill tells a vastly different story. Sam is presented as a man who is not perfect but loved those around him. He loves God just as he did while in the ministry but hates the hypocrisy of the Jim Bakker's and Jimmy Swaggert's of the world of money-hungry religion. He did drugs, drank like a fish, and had more women in his bed than most men could ever imagine, and yet after a couple of health scares in 1990 and 1991 he made the effort to slow down, reinvent himself, and turn his life around.

As a Kinison fan who has several of the classic bits virtually memorized, reading the final chapter entitled "Sounds of Silence" was incredibly difficult. It's in those final pages that Bill recounts his eyewitness account of Sam's final hours of life, including the head-on collision that took his life. The ironic twist is that the driver who struck Sam's car was, in fact, a teenaged drunk driver... and it's that fact that resonates with every Kinison fan to this day.

Sam's impact remains with everyone who ever enjoyed his work. When we see the commercials for hunger organizations, we all think (or say), "There wouldn't be world hunger if you people lived where the FOOD IS! YOU LIVE IN A DESERT! NOTHING GROWS OUT HERE!". We still fire off an occasional "Oh OOHHHHHHHHHHHH!" for no good reason when we see something that provides us with proper motivation. He was one of a kind. He was a legend. He is truly missed.

Thanks Sam.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This biography of the Rock & Roll Comic *ROCKS!!* 22 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As someone who owns all of Sam's albums, has a copy of all his video-taped stand-up shows and was an avid follower of his wild life, personal hijinks and scandalous ways, there were still questions that I asked which could never truthfully be answered--until I read this book. Bill Kinison offers insight about his brother that really opens your eyes to WHO Sam was and WHAT drove him. There are also several stories and valid reasons offered as to why Sam befriended certain celebrities, was at odds with some and literally *hated* others. All that was behind his relationships with Seka, Jessica Hawn and the lovely Malika--who would later become his wife--is explained in sharp, vivid detail. In this person's humble opinion, a MUST-READ! for anyone who considers themselves any kind of a Sam Kinison fan!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lenny Bruce at Ramming Speed - Critic Tom Shales on Sam Kinison 4 Sept. 2010
By stoic - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I found an old copy of Brother Sam at a thrift store for 99 cents. It was a stroke of luck because the book is terrific.

Comic Sam Kinison was impossible to miss. In a show-biz world full of copycats, he was an original. His signature scream and and racy monologues set him apart from the pack. As Robin Williams once said, Sam was fearless when he was onstage.

In Brother Sam, Sam's brother Bill recounts the comic's unbelievable life story. Sam father was a pentecostal preacher and their family plunged into poverty when the father lost his church. They ended up living in a housing project in Peoria, Illinois. Eventually, Sam dropped out of school, drifted, joined the ministry, and finally found his calling in comedy.

Once Sam became a comedian, he lived a life of drugs, sex, and rock n' roll. Brother Sam spends a lot of time on the wild side of Sam's life. Sam lived like a man who knew that he didn't have much time. Bill Kinison also explains how much of Sam's life made it into his standup routines and he gives the reader an appreciation for Sam's talent.

Beneath the "rock n' roll comedian" facade, Sam was an unhappy man. Bill says that
Sam had low self esteem due to his unhappy, impoverished childhood. Sam was famous for his awful comments about women. Brother Sam tells readers that Sam's romantic life truly was filled with one heartbreak after another. Unfortunately, Sam died before he found peace.

This book is tough to put down. Even if you're not a huge Kinison fan, you will enjoy reading about this charismatic, tragic man.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
More Than Comedy 14 April 2005
By Wylie Hnat - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Sam Kinison was more than comedy, he was always a very loud voice of reason during bad times. He was also the Rock N' Roll comedian. I first bought his Louder Than Hell tape 16 years ago. I thought it was a rock tape, much in the vain of Guns N Roses or Motley Crue with interesting songs, because that's how he looked. If you would have told me it was stand up comedy I never would have bought it. I listened to it, and I laughed and laughed. I bought everything else Sam I could get my hands on. With the exception of Brother Sam, only because I could never find it. Thanks to Amazon I now own it. The book is great. Although there are no surprises. I always understood Sam, and in my view he lived his life in the open, for better or worse. I admire the fact that Bill didn't try to make Sam's life seem rosy, as is the case with many celebrities after they die. Bill did what Sam would have wanted, just laid his life on the line as it really was. It also has a lot of Rock N' Roll references so it is a trip back in time in that regard as well. Sam took no prisoners. He held no cow sacred. He offended every side equally. All while being a former minister. Most importantly he laughed in the face of tragedy. The best comedy always comes from pain, and Sam made that pain not only bearable but fun. I just wish Sam was alive today. There would be laughter in things we have forgotten how to laugh at. Sam touched it all. So while it is considered un American to laugh at the hypocritical self righteousness of our leaders today, I can always read this book, and listen to the voice of Sam (alot of his material is printed in here.) laugh, and remember the guy who gave comedy and the world a shot in the arm.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is an absolute must-read to know the real Sam. 10 July 1999
By - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book written by one of the peple that knew Sam Kinison better than anyone else -his brother- shows a side of Sam that many of his devoted fans had only a faint idea existed. It brought home the great loss the world of comedy experienced by his passing and how much we wish he could still be aong us to comment on the things that are happening. A true literary jewel.
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