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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ari Shaffir, controversial comic who ripped Kobe Bryant, returns to Spokane

Ari Shaffir headlines the Spokane Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday.  (Courtesy)

No wonder Ari Shaffir’s favorite comedian is Sam Kinison. Much like the late provocateur, Shaffir lets it all hang out and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

Shortly after NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant died along with his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in 2020, Shaffir posted a shocking video on his Twitter page.

“Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today,” Shaffir says in the video. “He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day.”

Say what you will about Shaffir’s comments, it took guts to call out folks in his industry. “Whenever a celebrity dies, it’s worse than 9/11,” Shaffir said. “Seven other people died in that crash, but it was all about Kobe and his daughter. What he did (Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003) wasn’t consensual.”

When Shaffir, who lives in Los Angeles, performs Friday and Saturday at Spokane Comedy Club, expect a comedic rollercoaster ride. “There will be some dark stuff, lighter stuff and child murder material in there,” Shaffir joked while calling from Tacoma. “We’re all laughing at the pain. I’m a little different than the court jester who is not going to go deep on the king.”

Shaffir, 47, will bring intensity to the stage. “Don’t bring your mom,” Shaffir said. “It’s going to be that kind of show.”

It’ll be wild and unhinged, which is how Kinison’s shows were a generation ago. However, expect Shaffir to take it easier on females than Kinison, who was obviously tortured courtesy of some troubled relationships.

“Kinison was asked why he was so hard on women, and he said, ‘A guy never made me want to drive a car into a tree,’ ” Shaffir said while laughing.

Speaking of trees, the New York native is expecting to have some mellow moments in the woods before playing the Spokane Comedy Club. “I’m going to be camping in the forest close to Spokane before I do these shows,” Shaffir said. “Spokane is a beautiful area. It couldn’t be more different than Los Angeles.”