John Pinette

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John Pinette
Pinette in 2010
Birth nameJohn Paul Pinette
Born(1964-03-23)March 23, 1964
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedApril 5, 2014(2014-04-05) (aged 50)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
GenresObservational comedy
  • Impressions
  • self-deprecation
  • everyday life
  • obesity
  • world travel
  • food

John Paul Pinette (/pɪˈnɛt/ pi-NET) (March 23, 1964 – April 5, 2014) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and Broadway performer. He toured the comedy club circuit beginning in the 1980s and appeared in cinema and on television. Besides stand-up, Pinette did impressions of Michael Jackson, The Chipmunks, Elvis Presley, Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, Hervé Villechaize (Tattoo from Fantasy Island), an Ewok, actor Marlon Brando (notably Brando's role in The Godfather), as well as various ethnic accents. He occasionally sang in his stand-up routines; for example "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz, "Will You Be There" from Free Willy, and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".

Early life[edit]

Pinette was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 23, 1964,[1][2] the son of Robert Pinette Sr. and Louise Pitre (Petrie).[3] His mother was of Acadian ancestry, with both her parents from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. He graduated from Malden Catholic High School in 1982.

He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1986 with a degree in accounting.[4]


He started a six-month[4] career in accounting[5] but, on the advice of friends, left to pursue a career in comedy.[5]

An early break for Pinette was being asked to tour with Frank Sinatra. Pinette was a regular guest on The Tonight Show and The View.[5]

Pinette appeared in the films Duets, Simon Sez, The Last Godfather, Dear God, and Junior. In 2004, Pinette played Bumpo in Artisan Entertainment's The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta.

In 1991, he was a regular cast member on the reality show The Grudge Match as the referee on the series. He was a regular on the series Parker Lewis Can't Lose and, in 1998, played the carjacking victim in the final episode of the sitcom Seinfeld.

Pinette was named Stand-Up Comedian of the Year by the American Comedy Awards in 1999 and received a Gemini Award nomination for his televised performance at Montreal's Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in 2000.[6] At the time of his death, he still held the record for the highest-selling one-person show in the history of Just for Laughs.[7]

In 2004, Pinette joined the touring cast of the musical Hairspray in the role of Edna Turnblad.[8][9] He later went on to the Broadway production in 2005, and continued in the role until May 28, 2006.[8][10] In his 2006 concert I'm Starvin', he said it was the first musical theater production he had been in since high school.

In 2004, Pinette's stand-up material was featured in Comedy Central's animated series Shorties Watchin' Shorties. In 2007, Pinette performed at the 42nd annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. He performed at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2008, and toured in cities in 2010 beginning in April. During this tour, Pinette recorded a Comedy Central special titled John Pinette: Still Hungry. The taping took place at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. The world premiere of Still Hungry was on July 29, 2011, on Comedy Central.[11]

Pinette was a host of the E4 Laughs at Edinburgh podcasts, showcasing comedians from the Edinburgh Festival in 2008.

In 2012, Pinette was one of the comedy acts in Ron White's Comedy Salute to the Troops on CMT.[12]

He was the host of All You Can Eat, a TV series taking a humorous look at American cuisine. The show debuted on the H2 network in the United States in late June 2013.


Pinette died on April 5, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the age of 50.[13] Pinette's personal doctor signed off on his cause of death as pulmonary embolism.[14][15]

Pinette's funeral services were held near his home in Springfield, Pennsylvania.[3]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ferguson, Lisa (May 22, 1998). "John Pinette: Keeping His Plate Full". Las Vegas Sun. 34-year-old
  2. ^ Brodeur, Nicole (September 23, 2004). "'Hairspray' and heels: kicking back at spa with mama Edna". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Pinette, 40
  3. ^ a b "John Pinette Obituary - Media, PA". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 21, 2019 – via
  4. ^ a b "John Pinette, stand-up comedian, dies at 50". The Washington Post. Associated Press. April 8, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2018. He graduated with an accounting degree in 1986 from what is now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He lasted six months in that career.
  5. ^ a b c " (Official Website)". Archived from the original on October 23, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  6. ^ "John Pinette". Comix at Foxwoods Comedy Club. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  7. ^ "In Memory of John Pinette – A Just for Laughs Legend". Just for Laughs. Archived from the original on September 29, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Replacements/Transfers: Hairspray - Neil Simon Theatre". IBDB. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth (July 1, 2004). "Comedian John Pinette Straps on Edna's Pumps for Hairspray Tour Starting Sept. 7". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth (September 6, 2005). "John Pinette Slips Into Edna's Housecoat in Broadway's Hairspray Sept. 6". Playbill. Archived from the original on July 28, 2010.
  11. ^ "John Pinette Biography". Broadway World. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Ron White Comedy Salute to the Troops 2012". IMDb. Archived from the original on September 29, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  13. ^ Fox, Margalit (April 7, 2014). "John Pinette, 50, Stand-Up Comic and Actor, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Polke, Clarece (April 6, 2014). "Comedian John Pinette, 50, dies in Pittsburgh hotel". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  15. ^ "John Pinette Dead: Comedian And 'Seinfeld' Actor Dies At 50". The Huffington Post. April 6, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.

External links[edit]