John Pinette: Taking a bite out of Williamsport

In the food obsessed culture we live in, we see all types of extremes. From gluten free to bacon-wrapped everything, we love food, in all its shapes and forms.

One man has stepped up to the plate to bring a little humor to topics that tend to stress people out, and comedian John Pinette is that man. Pinette will bring his show “Still Hungry” to the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Growing up just outside of Boston, Pinette originally went to college to be an accountant but realized he had other plans with his life.

“I was a business major, I picked accounting,” Pinette said, “which was a good decision until I had to sit down and actually do accounting from 9 to 5 and I said, ‘I could be sitting here doing the same thing in 40 years, this is not gonna happen.’ The rest was just the start of a journey.”

After being promised gigs at comedy clubs, Pinette quit the accounting business. “It was like out of a movie. I gave my notice and proceeded to grab my jacket and run, not walk, out the door, to what I perceived as freedom. Thank God I never had to look back.”

Growing up in Boston also gave Pinette a comedic dialect to pull from for his standup comedy and shows. He frequently does impressions, which were inspired by the “characters” he grew up with.

“You grew up with a cast of characters, both good and bad. People are very funny. There was a lot of people who didn’t grow up with a lot, and they had to laugh and learn,” he said.

Pinette started with other now popular comedians in the Boston comedy scene, including Louis C.K., David Cross, Anthony Clark and Dennis Leary. “I worked with a lot of really great comics. You have to stand out with your own voice, and I always wanted to be the guy people remembered. You wanna have that voice they remember,” Pinette said.

Pinette draws inspiration from great comics such as Billy Cosby, George Carlin and even Joan Rivers. “Way before all that jewelry and fashion stuff, she was a great standup comic,” he said.

While Pinette tells jokes about food, including the gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan and vegetarian diets that many people follow, he now has a balanced view of health as well.

“I talk about this, to set the record straight. At my heaviest, I was 450 pounds and now I’m at 248. Eating healthier comes easier to some people, it just took me a matter of finding the healthy stuff that tastes good,” he said. “Some people eat very healthy, and they love it. They are healthy mind, body and spirit, but they are also able to laugh at my jokes.”

Pinette’s list of roles that he’s played extend far from the stage as a comedian. He appeared in the finale of “Seinfeld,” and has shared the screen with Gwenyth Paltrow, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Travolta. Most recently, he was the host of “All You Can Eat,” a reality show on The History Channel’s H2.

He even had a turn on Broadway, playing Edna Turnblad in the musical, “Hairspray.”

“When I was on Broadway, every second I realized how lucky I was to be there, especially later in my career. I knew that this was a miracle. And to switch gears from standup comedy to working with other people, it was great. The first couple shows, it was kind of strange. It was like, why are these other people on stage with me! But I got by, I danced a little, I sang. It taught me to be giving, that was very helpful,” Pinette said. “In musical theatre, the show just doesn’t stop.”

For his show in Williamsport, audiences can expect Pinette to deliver fresh jokes, as well as his classics.

“Something happens every day that I include. My show is always a work in progress. You have to have a feel of humility about standup. And you should never be comfortable with the show,” he said. “You should always say, ‘You can do better.’ “

While touring, Pinette has been gearing up for his next show, which he said is titled “Call Me Slim.”

For more information, visit For ticket information, call the CAC at 570-326-2424, or visit