John Pinette is making a successful, long term career in stand-up look like a cakewalk. Add in that fact that Pinette has also been fruitful in television, film, and on the Broadway stage and now we're talking about a man who is completely living a dream job. This job is also taking him to the Brea Improv this weekend (March 27th through 30th) and before his headlining gig kicks off, we talked to John about his family, his recent health issues, and quickly found out that he loves the good ol' OC just as much as we do.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Since you've been in the game so long, will you be doing some of the old classics or will you be working out new material?
John Pinette: It's actually quite the mixture. There is a lot of new stuff but I'm always happy to do the old stuff too because ultimately, I'm an entertainer. If somebody wants to hear something, you know, it's not like I'm Billy Joel where I'm going to be like, yeah I'm not really doing the old stuff. I just want to make people laugh.
OK if Billy Joel didn't do "Piano Man" I'd be pissed personally.
[Laughs.] Oh I'd burn the stage down! Actually, Billy Joel is pretty good about it but Springsteen, you never know. Springsteen could go, "I'm gonna do this whole concert on a harmonica." There'd be 18,000 people and you'd hear me in the back going, AWWW SHIT!
You have quite a set of pipes yourself so are you going to be doing any singing in Brea?
You know what? I probably will! I try not to get my set list in order too soon because then it runs around in my head. Like I'll be at the grocery store thinking about writing instead of thinking about how I need toilet paper. I have a lot of ideas about it and I know I'll have some old things and then I have a lot of new things I'll be trying. My last DVD was called "Still Hungry" and some of it was food based, but it really was a double entendre because I've been doing this for so long. I still feel like every show is a new experience though so I'm still hungry to make them laugh.
It's nice that you still have the passion and aren't burned out after all of this time!
You know, if the road takes you to a place where you don't have the passion, you have to take a step back. I live part time in Pennsylvania with my family so all I have to do is take a month off, stay with them, and I get the passion right back! [Laughs.] It's hard because my sisters call me at 8 a.m.! They're lovely people but you know, they don't get me! They call me at eight in the morning saying, "What are you doing?" It's eight in the morning! Why are you calling me? They go, "We're going to the farmers market, you wanna come?" Absolutely not!
I totally get what you're saying. I have insomnia and if someone calls me before 9 a.m., they clearly hate me. But hey, we all live different lives.
Yes! And because I'm on the road all of the time, one of my sisters takes care of my house. She does a great job and I couldn't get a more trustworthy person in the world. And that's not just because she's my sister. But, she watches everything! She said to me, "Sit down. I notice you use a lot of fabric softener. You only need to use a capful. I just noticed that I bought one three days ago and it's almost gone. How much are you using?" I was like, I don't know! I ran out of conditioner and I'm using the fabric softener! Matter of fact it was such a concern to her, another one calls and says, "I hear you're using a lot of fabric softener." If me using a lot of fabric softener is something that we have to worry about, that's a quality problem!
Your sister's kind of sound like my Jewish grandma…
I'm Jewish by deli. When you eat at as many deli's as I do, you get that title. Oh your family must have a lot of questions for you then! I don't want to pressure you but, when are you getting married? We're just here to help! That's really funny.
Yeah, that's pretty much my life. I don't want to nag or anything but, how's your health been? I know you took some time off there for a little.
Oh no you're not being a nag. I was originally 450 pounds and now I'm 225. You know how they say inside every big person is a skinny person waiting to come out? Well my person came out and was still fat! I had all of this loose skin so I had surgery and when they went in, they found a couple of hernias and the complications started from there. That's why I took the time off to just feel better. I was trying to come back too soon but it was like putting a band aide on a chest wound. So I cleared the schedule long enough to get back on track. It's much more doable now. Now I'm thinking about my next hour special and thinking about where I'll do it. Maybe in Brea, Irvine, or Ontario because I feel so comfortable in those places.
You should wait until the new Irvine Improv opens up and do it there!
Yeah that's what I'm thinking. I'm doing Brea and then I have my nieces wedding, which I will get a lot of material from I'm sure. Then Ontario and by that time, it'll allow me the shows to get comfortable again with all of the people that make me feel like I'm home.
John Pinette performs at the Brea Improv March 27th through 30th, 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821. (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. You can pick up one (or all) of his hilarious specials on Amazon and for more info, visit www.JohnPinette.com and follow him on Twitter: @JohnPinette.