Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From Aggie Blue to... lime green?

I often use the Thinking Outside The Boxscore blog to talk about former Aggie student-athletes who have enjoyed landmark moments in their post-UC Davis careers. Quincy Amarikwa now wears Colorado Rapids burgundy. Daniel Fells wears the Broncos' orange, navy and white. Daniel Descalso wears, well, St. Louis Cardinal. This former Aggie student-athlete chose a different color:

Those who followed our athletics program in the late 1990s probably recognize the moves, even if you can't see the face. That's Kenny Kane, the UC Davis soccer player who served as the Aggie Pack emcee under the alter ego "Chicken Man." That spastic physical comedy used to energize our crowds at football, basketball and gymnastics events.

I'm sure it also confused a few opponents, too -- something of a physical manifestation of "Bossy Cow Cow."

In Aggie Pack: The Documentary, I credited Kane for being an innovator for Aggie Pack. Phil Champlin had done an admirable job assembling and organizing the crowds in the first two years, but it was Kane who brought that crowd to a frenzy.

Many of Kenny's idea remained with Aggie Pack long after he left our campus. The tube socks that fly into the stands at games? Yeah, Kenny started that. Candy Madness? Also his creation, although back in the day, we targeted candy to our loudest fans rather than showering the audience in random fashion. By the way, we also had Aloe Vera Madness, Soap Bar Madness and (my favorite) Foam Head Madness.

In fact, the mere idea that he showed up in a costume -- or in character, as the show-biz types say -- was a Kane creation. Back then, the sideline of an Aggie Pack event might feature Kenny's Chicken Man, the Aggie Farmer, Pinky Floyd, a pair of Jersey cows and the SuperPope. Inspired by the movie Braveheart, several members of the men's volleyball club created the Men In Kilts. The Chicken Man and the Men in Kilts later gave way to Indiana Aggie and the Kiko The Burrito Bomber. (Just as an aside, I enjoyed a flashback this year: Kayla Varney and Lev Girshfeld showed up at several home matches as a gorilla and a banana. Absolutely a throwback.)

Fans of the comedy It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia get the Green Man suit. Those who haven't seen that show are likely confused. But everyone can't help but look at that in amusement or bewilderment.

That, in a nutshell, was the Chicken Man.

Kenny Kane still delivers his unusual brand of comedy all over the country. You can get a sample of it or check out his upcoming dates at his website

Mark Honbo, assistant director of athletics communications, briefly appeared as Joliet Jake Blues during the 1995-96 athletics year. He saw Kane go from an open mic night at Laughs Unlimited to featuring for Brad Sherwood at the San Jose Improv to giving assistant A.D. Scott Brayton a lap dance as the headliner at the City Hall Comedy shows in Davis.

1 comment: