John Pinette has carried as much as 450 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame, until he had gastric bypass surgery several years ago. (2005)
Answering a general casting call for the Bruce Vilanch replacement role as Edna Turnblad in the Broadway musical production of Hairspray, John Pinette's audition won him the part over John Goodman and Lanie Kazan. Pinette says he channeled his mother's concern and sweetness, small bits of his sisters, and Ethel Merman in order to pull off the role.
John Pinette suffered from heel bone spurs as a result of having to wear high heels during his two-year run playing the role of Edna Turnblad in the Broadway musical production of Hairspray.
In September of 2007, John returned to Malden Catholic High School in Malden, Massachusetts for his 25th Class reunion, where he entertained his classmates with a celebratory stand-up comedy routine.
At age fourteen, John secured his first job as a salesclerk at a neighborhood Dunkin Donuts (Malden, Massachusetts). He remembers his employer forewarning him, "You're going to work here a month and you're not gonna want to look at another donut."
John Pinette, along with Canadian comedian Brent Butt (Corner Gas, CTV), headlined at the first ever Niagara Falls Comedy Fest (NFCF) held in Niagra Falls, Ontario at the newly renovated Niagara Centre for the Arts (formerly Kingston College) in 2007.
Besides straight stand-up, John Pinette, who began his comedy career doing vocal caricatures of celebrities, has done noteworthy impressions of The Chipmunks singing Bon Jovi, Robin Leach, Elvis Presley, Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, as well as an Ewok. He is recognized as having an impressive singing voice, demonstrated by his modified rendition of "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz in one of his stand-up routines.
In 2000, John Pinette was nominated for a Gemini Award for his televised performance at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Quebec. Four years later, his one-man show I Say Nay Nay set the record for the fastest selling solo show in Festival history. Just for Laughs is a comedy festival held every July and is the largest of its kind.
John Pinette, along with rock band Matchbox Twenty, provided the entertainment at the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony live on the ESPN Classic network.
After receiving his high school diploma in 1982 from Malden Catholic High School, Malden, Massachusetts, John Pinette enrolled at University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting in 1986.
Taking over the role for Bruce Vilanch, John Pinette had to shave his eyebrows for his two-year stint as Edna Turnblad in the Broadway musical production of Hairspray, which closed in 2006. Pinette, who claimed the lack of eyebrows made him look like a cherubic Uncle Fester, was also unable to put on his own pantyhose, requiring a dresser be assigned to him for just that purpose. Prior to Broadway, John played Edna in the popular national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the John Waters motion picture.
In 2007, John Pinette performed at the 42nd annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon, a fundraising tradition created by Lewis in the mid-50s to help rid the world of over 40 neuromuscular diseases. Pinette returned the following year, staging his stand-up routine during the nineteenth hour of the 2008 Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. Both fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association originated from Las Vegas and broadcast on some 180 stations nationwide.
Following his stint as the opening act for Frank Sinatra in the early 90s, John Pinette toured with fellow comedian Howie Mandell, a chronic practical joker who once painted Pinette's toenails black while he was passed out from intoxication in the back of their tour bus. John didn't realize the joke until pool side gawkers at the hotel where they were making their stay, embarrassingly drew his attention to it.
After twenty years on the road, John Pinette sold his house in Las Vegas and bought a home in Pennsylvania to be near his family and, ultimately, to get away from the heat (2006).
According to John Pinette, his life is the funniest thing he can think about.
Also nominated in the same category the previous year, John Pinette was the recipient of the 1999 American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Stand-Up Comic.
John Pinette first comedy CD, Show Me the Buffet, became a reality in 1998. His second, Making Lite of Myself , was released in 2007.
John Pinette brought his stand-up comedy to DVD in 2005 with release of I Say Nay Nay. The following year, I'm Starvin' was produced.
John Pinette: (having left an accounting career for comedy) I love to entertain people, and it sure beats being an accountant. I won't even talk to my accountant. I get 'Nam-like flashbacks from accountants. Some people had to deal with napalm. I had to deal with White-Out.
John Pinette: (describing his stand-up) I talk about my life, it is the funniest thing I can think of. For some reason, people enjoy seeing me lose my cherub-like demeanor.
John Pinette: It's a great way to live life-- musical theater. If you make a mistake, you have to fix it and move on. You can never go back to the previous scene. You have to keep moving ahead. So it is a great way to be.
John Pinette: (when asked what he'd want his legacy to be as a comedian) That I made people laugh a lot, that I was kind and considerate, and that I never forgot where I came from.
John Pinette: I'm the Forrest Gump of comedy, really. I pop up in these strange places.
John Pinette: (on performing in Las Vegas) It doesn't matter if I lose money at the tables, 'cause I can always make it up at the buffet. $2.98 breakfasts? Hell, I can eat $2.98 worth of toast! I go up to the Prime Rib table and say 'Hit me!'
John Pinette: My cholesterol count has a comma!