Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream

Katie Johnston Chase of the Globe weighs in with a fairly positive review of Jimmy Tingle’s new one-man show, "Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream." We saw the same show. She got more space for her review. I think mine manages to get more perspective on Tingle for those who do or don’t know him well. Then again, I’m biased. Here is what I wrote in the Herald

Satirist Will Durst once observed that the one-man show differs from a typical stand-up comedian’s act only slightly, offering more theatrical qualities and life lessons.
Jimmy Tingle, who hosted Durst in his namesake Davis Square venue earlier this year, delivers on both counts in "Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream.”
Befitting his "cafeteria Catholicism,” Tingle’s show has the air of a joking confessional.
He looks back to his beginnings at the Ding Ho in 1980, reminiscing about his fellow comics and their own pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. "Where do you see yourself in 25 years, Jim? I see myself in Davis Square! In a basement! Preferably on the Red Line!” he said. "I have a simpler dream.”
Over the course of 90 minutes, Tingle shares how he and other Americans, from the Pilgrims to the newest immigrants, pursue their dreams here.
The old pope, the new pope, gay marriage, stem cell research, the ineffectiveness of torture and the war in Iraq, the messiness of democracy and of the Red Sox – they’re all targets of Tingle’s wit.
Noting the irony of picking the Big Dig contractors to oversee Iraqi reconstruction is fairly easy around these parts.
The clash between Tingle’s abstinence from alcohol and the economic need to win a beer-and-wine license for his theater offers more rewarding laughs.
So do tales in which the comedian reflects on his own mortality.
At 50, Tingle has spent half his life onstage.
And he has had plenty of time since his 2002-03 production, "Jimmy Tingle in the Promised Land,” to reflect on his all-too-brief prime-time career as the closing commentator on 60 Minutes II and to come to grips with running his own theater.
Amid the storytelling in "American Dream,” the satirical barbs, a Q-and-A session and the very topical monologue, Tingle and director Larry Arrick still manage to construct a few stand-alone pieces of commentary that remind us how and why Tingle got on CBS in the first place.

"Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream,” at Jimmy Tingle’s Off-Broadway, 255 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville. 8 p.m. Thurs-Sat, open-ended run.

Related: His official show/theater page.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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