Formidable rotundity is the most obvious physical trait of comic John Pinette, and it's the source of his claim to TV fame. Pinette, who performs this weekend at the Tempe Improv, is most quickly identified as the the mugging victim to whose rescue Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine did not go, to their regret, in the series finale of Seinfeld.
But while just being a fat guy may land you a specialty acting gig or two, it certainly won't win you Standup Comedian of the Year from the American Comedy Awards. For that -- even if your principal topic is your longtime relationship with food -- you have to be funny guy. Pinette won the award, along with Robert Schimmel, in 1999. You can't steal any laughs with your physical aspect on audio, either, but Pinette is winning raves for his concert CD John Pinette: Show Me the Buffet on Uproar Entertainment.
Nor has his Seinfeld gig been his only foray into acting. Pinette has appeared in such films as Dear God with Greg Kinnear, My 5 Wives with Rodney Dangerfield, Junior with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reckless Kelly with Yahoo Serious and the TV movies Revenge of the Nerds III and IV. He also played a major role in the deeply bizarre Dennis Rodman actioner Simon Sez. In a way, however, his juiciest role may have been his brief appearance in the Gwyneth Paltrow drama Duets, in which he played a karaoke singer ripping into "Copacabana." His rendition of the Manilow classic is featured on that film's soundtrack.
Not bad for a former accountant from Malden, Massachusetts. Of his horror at his earlier occupation, Pinette has asserted that even being around his own accountant gives him "'Nam-like flashbacks."