Where: McPherson Playhouse
When: Tonight 7: 30 p.m. and Friday 7: 30 p.m. Also Nanaimo's Port Theatre, Saturday.
Tickets: $53.75 (250-386-6121)
He's back in Victoria for a two-nighter. And this time he's leaner - and meaner.
"Well, lean kind of," said John Pinette, a portly fellow. "Let's use 'lean' in the relative sense."
Last April, the 48-yearold comedian cancelled Canadian dates - including two in Victoria - after losing his voice. It was bronchitis that felled him, Pinette recently told the Times Colonist.
Following those cancellations, he took six weeks off. He dropped 60 pounds over the summer and generally got into better shape.
Part of the problem, Pinette said in a phone interview, was trying to maintain his overly frenetic tour schedule. It's not like being in a rock band, for example, where you tour hard and then take months off. "My schedule just ebbs off for a little bit. Then I start up again," he said.
Pinette, who divides his time between homes in Los Angeles and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, intends to cut down the number of gigs he does in 2013.
His current show includes bits on weddings and taking his family to Disney World. And he promises new "nay-nays." This is a classic Pinette routine in which he mock rages against something by declaring: "I say nay-nay!"
"In fact, I've got new nay-nays which transcend 'nay-nay' to 'I'm not doing it!' " Pinette mock-bellowed into the phone. "It's a nay-nay on steroids."
The Boston native (who sounds a bit like Peter Griffin from Family Guy) makes a good living by keeping his comedy clean and joking about his weight battles. At his heaviest, Pinette weighed 450 pounds. His discography includes I'm Starvin', Show Me the Buffet and Still Hungry. In one of his routines, Pinette plays an upset waiter at an Asian-American buffet who tells him: "You go now! You been here four hours!"
"I think it's OK to bring the trials and tribulations in your life to the stage," he said. "Weight is a challenge in my life and it will always be a challenge in my life.
And I think it's OK to laugh at it. But I don't want to do it in an 'I'm so fat' kind of way."
Pinette visits the Canyon Ranch health spa in Florida when he needs a diet/exercise tune-up. A Weight Watchers points-counter, he's now eating better. However, sticking to a regime on the road can be challenging. Travelling in Canada, Pinette admits to being tempted by Tim Hortons donut emporiums.
The comedian, who enjoys an especially fervent following in this country, takes his craft seriously. He studies videos of himself performing, always hoping to perfect his delivery.
Because he likes to improvise, Pinette will ask the opening comic to take notes on his act, so good material doesn't disappear into the ether.
"It's my responsibility, it really is," he said. "Any time I've taken it lightly or taken it for granted, I've felt so disappointed in myself. As I should be. Because, listen, I've got the job I love. And I shouldn't f---it up."
While touring performers always profess to love whatever city they're in, it appears Pinette genuinely does harbour fond memories of Victoria.
He recalls being so enamoured with its natural beauty, he requested an extra day in the city the first time he performed here.
Pinette, a history buff, visited a Titanic exhibit at the Royal B.C. Museum.
"You definitely tell the people of Victoria I'm looking forward to going there. I do like it. I like that kind of British Columbia thing."
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