John Pinette is hungry for laughs

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‘Tis the season for John Pinette. The king of fat-man comics does a two-night stand at the Wilbur this weekend to help ratchet up the holiday insanity.
He might not be a household name, but Pinette — a Malden native — has been in the game for a couple of decades. Pop-culture addicts might remember him from the final episode of “Seinfeld,” in which he played a car-jack victim. More recently, his comedy specials have been Netflix on-demand delicacies.

Food seems to be Pinette’s definite theme. After an extended run on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray,” Pinette was soon pegged to host the H2 Network’s gastro-history program “All You Can Eat.” As long as edible perks are involved, Pinette is all good.

“There are so many talk shows on TV,” says Pinette. “Who could outdo Anthony Bordain, who is a genius, and Andrew Zimmerman, who was that kid who would eat anything in elementary school for a buck?”

If anyone could, it’s Pinette. While his PG-13 comedy routines tend to focus on his life (“I can’t think of anything funnier,” he says), one recurring theme tends to be how hard it is to find a shred of sanity in a world so full of irritation. For Pinette, food tends to be that sanity. But he’s the first to admit that it’s easy to take any passion too far.

 

“What we do is take something that is good, and then we make it completely insane,” he says.“Like the cupcake store. Do we need any more cupcake shops? I’m sure that there was some conversation at a bridge party or a crazy eights game (which is what they play where I grew up) where somebody said [in a whiny housewife voice] ‘You know what I’m gonna do? Everybody says I’m a good baker. I thought I would open up a cupcake shop and make six flavors and that’s it.’ Somebody did that 14 million times!”

Pinette’s act melds sweetness and cynicism, the latter of which he attributes to growing up in Boston. “You’ve gotta fight to live in Boston. We’re a tough group,” he says.

But don’t call him a Masshole.

“I hate that name,” he recalls. “I’m on a cruise ship and my manager is talking to this beautiful girl … And she says to me, ‘You’re a Masshole, aren’t you?’ I don’t know what to say to that that doesn’t involve a whole lot of four-letter words!”

Spoken like a true Masshole if we ever heard one.

If you go

Friday + Saturday, 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$33-$45, 617-248-9700
ticketmaster.com


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