In the spirit of Easter, Pittsburgh is welcoming a musician whose parents were formerly a priest and nun. Although such an artist may seem like a saint-turned-entertainer, once Stephen Lynch opens his mouth to sing over his melodic strumming, it’s easy to see the devil within.
Lynch, playing the Byham on Thursday, April 12, brings with him a sense of humor that can be considered a little bit special.
Friendships with the likes of Jay Mohr and radio hosts Opie and Anthony aided Lynch in gaining his foothold on the comedic landscape. With several appearances on Comedy Central, Lynch has worked hard since the early days of cutting his first album, A Little Bit Special. Four albums later, Lynch’s career has him touring the country.
So long as your sense of humor has a slight air of comedic darkness, Lynch may tickle you in some interesting places. His music, a guitar-driven singer-songwriter style, is both melodic and jovial, without betraying his lyrical excesses.
A fair warning to audience members would be: “If you laugh at this material, there is a high chance that you are going to hell.”
Lynch’s music has gotten him in trouble before. In “Kill a Kitten,” Lynch sings “If life makes you feel like quittin’, it’ll help a lot of you kill a kitten.” These lyrics stirred some PETA activists, but Lynch resolved the issue by explaining that he was not actually promoting violence against kitty cats.
One of the most important things to understand and appreciate in Lynch’s music is that it is not serious. Regardless of the political incorrectness or supposed offensiveness of Lynch’s touchy subjects, he is there to entertain, not insult or denigrate. The controversy that surrounds his songs (because, yes, they are purposely in bad taste) only serves to cement his reputation among the Comedy Central crowd of semi-jaded Generation X- and Y-ers.
In “Priest,” Lynch touches upon the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals from the viewpoint of a priest tempted by an alter boy. “You will find the grace of God inside my rec ... tory,” he sings. Still, not all of Lynch’s songs pertain to disturbing realities. Less serious subjects, such as the erotic effects of rodents in the rectum or unintended sexual encounters with hermaphrodites, are also included in Lynch’s repertoire.
Lynch’s music requires a regression to earlier, less mature, states of development. We have to allow the id to run free. But given his popularity and success in the mainstream, this seems quite easy for most of us to do.