Local Wire

Stephen Lynch

It makes sense that Stephen Lynch grew up to be America's most unconventional young recording star. After all, when a guy's father and mother are an ex-priest and ex-nun, respectively, it should surprise no one when he takes an enormous shit on convention. To clarify: Lynch is a musician who also happens to be a stand-up comic . . . Or is he a stand-up comic who also happens to be a musician? It's debatable. Certainly, you're a lot more likely to see him on Comedy Central than on MTV (score one for "comic"). Conversely, he prefers music venues to comedy clubs for his live performances (score one for "musician"). So what makes him funny? Essentially, he does the same kind of off-speed, expectation-dashing comedy favored by his late mentor Mitch Hedberg, only in musical form. This might entail, for example, performing a beautifully sincere, melodious folk song about gay robots, or about giving his wife a Dirty Sanchez. Along with New Zealand's Flight of the Conchords, Lynch has done the near-impossible: Made guitar-comedy cool again (I say "again" only because of the genre's brief coolness flair-up following the release of This Is Spinal Tap in 1984). For the record, Lynch considers himself a musician first, comic second. So that settles that.
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Craig Outhier