Some sad new over the weekend in the stand-up world, as comedian John Pinette passed away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 50 years old and fairly famous for his stand-up work–along with comedy albums and specials such as Show Me the Buffet, Still Hungry and I’m Starving!
Pinette had a long list of TV and movie acting credits for a stand-up comedian, including an early role as Coach Hank on the (not cultish enough) FOX sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. He landed on the big screen as Bumpo alongside Thomas Jane in The Punisher, and played the carjacking victim in the final episode of Seinfeld.
Pinette was a mainstream comic, but also had a dedicated following amongst haters of extreme observational comedy and hack material that doesn’t try to change minds. Like a lot of people, we first heard his bits on Chinese restaurant buffets and telling an Italian restaurant waiter, “Feed me, I’m starving” in his native tongue, and laughed so hard that we had to pull over the car so we wouldn’t wreck out from the lack of oxygen our brains were receiving.
Pinette had a rare gift that so many angry and bitter comics never realize is possible with their comedy. He made fun of himself and his weight, but he wasn’t self-loathing or depressed about it. Even though he had some obvious and personal problems (like his recent struggle to maintain his sobriety), he also had the strength to put it all aside for a cherub-like demeanor. Check that out here and say goodnight to a funny man…