Kyle Kinane, bearded purveyor of crude, hilarious observations, is a singular kind of comedian. There are a lot of people out there who tell jokes because they think they’re funny, but fewer who seem to wield humor as a weapon against the cruelty of life on earth, as Kyle does. He’ll talk about reading Thoreau in the same breath that he makes fun of his own pretension, and has an amazing bit about atheists being the kind of people who won’t dismiss the idea of aliens because it would be arrogant to think we’re alone in the universe. You get the sense, watching his comedy, that he is what Mark Twain would be if they’d had comedy clubs on the Mississippi River.
Which is probably why, in his words, “All [his] friends are getting book deals from Twitter, and [he’s] slow dancing with a robot for a case of free salsa.”
Anyone following Kyle on Twitter on Sunday was treated to a Pynchon-esque tango between Kinane and Pace Food’s salsa, a conspiracy that started with some smart remarks and went straight to the top. For your convenience, we’ve put this timeline together:
ACT I: EONS AGO, BEFORE THE DAWN OF HISTORY
January 25, 2013
Kyle Kinane tweets “Pace Picante ads do everything short of calling you queer for not eating their salsa,” in response to Pace’s commercials, which consist of things like a collection of “real” cowboys describing a gentleman who is giving his horse’s mane a thorough beautification as someone who “gets his salsa from New York City.” He tweets similarly the next day.
ACT II: THE PRESENT DAY
December 1, 2013; 1:09 p.m. EST
Both tweets are favorited by @Pace_Foods, official twitter account of Pace Picante-brand salsa.
Kinane is prompted, by this action, to experiment. He runs successfully through the Scientific Method, from Hypothesis to Analysis, insinuating links between Pace Picante and homophobia, racism and sub-par salsa. Each tweet was favorited by Pace, and by 2:23 p.m., Kinane had seemingly gotten the better of Pace’s favorite-ing algorithm.
ACT III: THE PLOT THICKENS/SPICENS
2:32 p.m. EST
Kyle receives his first DM from Eric, who will go on to become a major player in this saga. Eric asks Kyle in no uncertain terms to delete all of his Pace-related tweets from the day. Kyle, who by now recognizes that he is trapped inside a Haruki Murakami novel, suggests that Eric could offer a little more incentive.
2:39 p.m. EST
Eric agrees, but Kyle is less than thrilled about giving up his address.
2:42 p.m. EST
3:04 p.m. EST
The first appearance of Miles. Negotiations get salty, and the Pace team alternates between willingness to incentivize Kyle’s continued silence with free salsa-related products, and litigious threats. Mr. Kinane demands t-shirts.
4:06 p.m. EST
Mr. Kinane reveals the true motive behind the feud: he is, as are all humans who grew up in a certain time period, in love with Winnie Cooper. Danica McKellar, actress/musician/mathematician/yoga instructor/Winnie Cooper/race car driver fails to lower herself into the fray, and it seems that all is calm. The world has gone quiet, and it appears that the afternoon’s excitement is at an end. A comedian has received some free, if mediocre, salsa (and also possibly shirts), and we’ve all been entertained. It’s already been more fun than we deserve.
Mr. Kinane extends a halfhearted provocation toward Arby’s, and someone (by all accounts not a Pace employee) delivers ten jars of Pace salsa to Mr. Kinane.
ACT IV: STOP TRYING TO HIT ME AND HIT ME
6:35 p.m. EST
Miles, previously mellow gentleman/peddler of salsa gets agitated, is sent home by a being called “Sharon,” who also seemingly disposes of Eric. Mr. Kinane is understandably wracked with guilt, and assumes the worst. Has he been thoughtless in his quest for fame? Did his stunt cost two good men, one a self-professed fan of Kinane’s own comedy, their livelihoods? It’s a terrible economy to be jobless in, but the artist works only with fire.
Pace begins a systematic agenda of follows and favorites, seemingly to taunt Mr. Kinane.Miles, accessing the @Pace_Foods account remotely from his home, DM’s Kinane desperately, fearing the worst, but is calmed by Eric.
8:06 p.m. EST
#BringBackMiles is born, Kyle Kinane uses his powers of mischief for good.
11:06 p.m. EST
Miles officially goes rogue. He lashes out at Mr. Kinane, and at Pace, and at the world. We witness the possible fallout from a three-way feud between Sharon, Miles, and Eric in front of our eyes. Their story is impossible to know, but all it took was Kyle Kinane’s comedy spark to light a fire at Pace. Sharon, de facto leader of the team, falls silent, and Eric’s attempts to calm Miles down fail.
Kinane continues his master class on how to use the internet, and Miles name is briefly etched into what passes for the history books nowadays. A night passes in silence. Despite assurances that Miles’ job is safe, we all fear the worst for him.
ACT V: NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY
If you want to make God laugh, be certain of something. This Pace/Kinane Odyssey was at once too sordid, and too glorious, and too layered. It was a Jack Reacher adventure combined with a phonebook-sized Pynchon novel where an intellectually deft, if tubby and bald, comedian was getting the best of a midrange salsa company’s social networking presence. Coolness was triumphing over thorough un-coolness; Kinane had climbed the power structure all the way to the top of Pace, and he was taking the internet back for the proletariat. It doesn’t matter how many wacky commercials go viral, we were saying, the internet belongs to us. Kyle Kinane was an avatar for everyone who’d ever bristled at the idea of memes being used to sell cars. Twitter is for jokes, not for the propagation of the virtues of tomato-based sauces.
But Kinane was the hero we needed, not the one that we deserved. When the dust settled, we couldn’t #BringBackMiles, because he wasn’t real. So long, Kinane-Pace feud. You were too good for us. You were too wonderful not to end this way.
But maybe, just maybe, a U-Haul full of Pace Picante is pulling up to Kinane’s apartment right now, and Miles is unloading jar after jar. Maybe Kyle will crack a wry smile and open a beer for Miles and they’ll tell the story of how they fooled everyone into thinking they were fooled. Maybe it’s arrogant to think we’re alone in the universe.