Interview: Jimmy Tingle's Hilarious HUMOR AND HOPE FOR HUMANITY at Soho Playhouse

See Jimmy Tingle's latest now through June 2

By: May. 29, 2024
Interview: Jimmy Tingle's Hilarious HUMOR AND HOPE FOR HUMANITY at Soho Playhouse
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Jimmy Tingle began his career as a comedian many years ago, busking in Harvard Square. Then he brought his first one-man show, Jimmy Tingle's Uncommon Sense, to the American Place Theater in the early 90's. I asked Jimmy some questions about his latest endeavor, now playing at the Soho Playhouse's Huron Room through June 2, and his life as a comic.

How would you describe your show, Jimmy Tingle: Humor and Hope for Humanity?

The show is a personal and spiritual journey from my experience as an open mic and street performer to getting on network TV [60 Minutes IIThe Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; HBO] then going back to school to earn a Master’s degree from Harvard and ultimately a run for public office. The show brings us up to the present political moment in a funny yet hopeful way. Ideally the show inspires people to get involved and take action because "faith without works is dead." My goal is to help people leave the show happier, more hopeful and less fearful than when they arrived.

What was the first joke you ever told as a comedian?

I was dressed as one of the Blues Brothers with trench coat, hat and shades playing harmonica and singing "The Test Tube Baby Blues" at the legendary Ding Ho Comedy Club in Inman Sq., Cambridge, MA which was my old neighborhood. I originally did song parodies as the "comedian with the blues" which were pretty rough songs but sometimes very well received with certain crowds.

How did you get started in comedy?

Open Mic night at The Ding Ho with Lenny Clarke, Paula Poundstone, Denis Leary, Bobcat Goldthwait and Steven Wright as well as many others. The club was founded by legendary political satirist Barry Crimmins in 1979. I was the day time bartender, doorman and open mic performer. 

How many one person shows have you done?

I would say four. Jimmy Tingle's Uncommon SenseJimmy Tingle for President: The Funniest Campaign in HistoryJimmy Tingle's American Dream and Why would a comedian run for office? 

Humor and Hope for Humanity has some elements of my earlier shows so it is a bit of a retrospective show. They all still need to be published though as plays that stand on their own, so I still have work to do. 

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Getting sober was the hardest but also the most rewarding. 

What was it like running for public office? 

It was very challenging for myself, our staff, my family and friends but ultimately very rewarding. I learned a lot and have newfound respect for elected officials on any level in either political party. Elected office and public service is very demanding on the individual and their families and often not always appreciated by the general public. These public servants are essential to keep the local, state and federal government functioning and hopefully keeping a country of 331 million people afloat.

What music are you been listening to lately?

I was watching the making of the Beatles "Let it Be" on YouTube the other night and it was really awesome. I played it over and over and it got my head in a really great space.

Any pre-show rituals?

Writing out the show's bullet points pretty much bit by bit and listening to the recording and making sure I'm prepared when I get on stage. I also enjoy and benefit from prayer and meditation as it puts me in a good space to share my life, jokes and stories in "Humor and Hope for Humanity" with the fine people of NYC.

What’s next for you?

It would be great to play NYC for a while if we can find the right producer(s).


Jimmy Tingle: Humor and Hope for Humanity is running through June 2nd, tickets are available on the SoHo Playhouse website.

More information about Jimmy can be found at https://jimmytingle.com/.




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