Chord and discord

Stephen Lynch's outrageous lyrics give new meaning to `laugh riot'

October 13, 2005|By SAM SESSA | SAM SESSA,SUN REPORTER

Comedic singer/songwriter Stephen Lynch's show was sold out, and he was ready for some scandal.

Two years ago, the Humane Society of Baltimore County organized a protest outside his show at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis.

The reason: Lynch's song "Kill a Kitten," in which he sings, "If the one you love isn't quite as smitten, she'll like you better if you kill a kitten."

Lynch arrived expecting thousands of protesters with signs.

"I was all excited," said Lynch, who plays Goucher's Kraushaar Auditorium Saturday.

"I brought my video camera, and there were three guys, and it started to sprinkle, and they all left right away before the show even started. I was bummed out. That was my big chance for riots outside, and nothing happened."

This tour, Lynch has no time to worry about protests. He's in high gear, power-cramming a six-month tour into two months before he starts rehearsals for the Broadway version of The Wedding Singer in December.

"This is going to be pretty intense," he said.

When Lynch auditioned for the lead role last year, he thought the script and movie were funny but wondered how the new songs would sound. Part of the movie's charm came from its '80s soundtrack, Lynch said.

Lynch's doubts dissolved when he heard the play's score and loved it. Though his current tour includes songs from his new album, The Craig Machine, Lynch said that when the tour's over he'll be ready for a break from his own stuff anyway.

"It will be really refreshing to sing somebody else's songs," he said. "I'm sure eventually I'll be itching to do my own thing again at some point."

Lynch said he signed on for a year's worth of The Wedding Singer, which, at eight shows per week, will keep him from his own material for quite some time.

"I could take my one day off and go somewhere and do a show, but it would probably kill me," he said.

This is Lynch's first major Broadway performance, but he said he's always had an interest in theater. He performed in plays as a kid, studied acting at college and did summer-stock theater, he said.

When Lynch accepted the role, he beat out countless unknown hopefuls washing dishes in obscure restaurants and waiting for their big break. For this, Lynch does not apologize.

"People pay their dues many ways," Lynch said as he sat at a table in Fletcher's after an early-bird radio performance last month. "I pay my dues doing 10:30 morning shows at Fletcher's in Baltimore. Come on, gimme a break."

While The Wedding Singer offers Lynch a prime outlet to pursue his stage aspirations, it also sets him back in some ways. Lynch said he expects more Adam Sandler comparisons (both sing funny songs while strumming guitar), though he said he's almost immune to them now.

"It's all right," Lynch said. "I think he's funny. There's worse people I could be compared to."

He said another of The Wedding Singer's potential problems could be walkouts after he returns to his solo tours after the play closes. People who see him on Broadway might want to see his musical-comedy shows, which are a little less PC and could scare some people off.

Still, Lynch said it's easier for him to joke about sensitive issues through songs rather than a straightforward stand-up routine.

"If I just talked about it, people might get a little skittish, but if you sing about it, and wrap it up in this pretty little bow and put a nice melody to it, you get away with so much more," he said.

"Unless you sing about killing kittens - then it doesn't matter."

Stephen Lynch performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Kraushaar Auditorium, at 1021 Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. Tickets are $25 in advance and $28 at the door. Call 410-547-SEAT or visit ticketmaster.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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