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John Pinette: Comedy Legend Dead at 50

One of my favorite stand up comedians has died. John Pinette was found in a Pittsburgh

hotel room over the weekend. He was 50. Pinette had been suffering liver and heart disease and that his death was due to natural causes.

My favorite bit of John’s was his description of a tough bout with the flu. He was trying some over-the-counter remedies and had some success with NyQuil. He dubbed it the “sniffling, sneezing, coughing, fever, headache, sore throat, wake up on the bathroom floor with a small plastic cup in your hand medicine.”

Pinette’s humor was often self-depricating with refererences to his weight. He pulled his weight with some of the funniest stage work in the history of the genre. I wish I could have talked with him on KRNA.

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While his stand up routine was what put him on the map, Pinette was very well known for his role in the “Seinfeld” finale, playing the role of Howie, a victim of a carjacking. Characters Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer videotape the carjacking and mock Howie in the process, and end up being charged with violating the Good Samaritan Law.

Mr. Pinette was working on a new one-man show “They Call Me Slim” at the time of his death. Mr. Schapiro described the new material as “groundbreaking,” and said Mr. Pinette was maturing as an artist and exploring bringing deeper, more personal issues to the stage.

The comedian had performed in such films as “Duets,” “Dear God,” “The Punisher” and “Junior.” His most recent hour long stand-up special “Still Hungry” premiered in 2011.


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