The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Jimmy Dunn. Courtesy photo.

Hampton Beach Comedy Festival

When: Thursday, July 24, and Friday, July 25, at 8 p.m.
Where: Ashworth-By-The-Sea, 295 Ocean Blvd., Hampton
Tickets: $18/night
Appearing Thursday, July 24: 
Paul Gilligan, Dave Rattigan, Chris Pennie, Mac Livingston, Will Noonan, Josh Day
Appearing Friday, July 25:
Jimmy Dunn, Lamont Price, Katie Grady, Jeff Koen, Abhishek Shah, Jesse Bickford

Seacoast to West coast
Jimmy Dunn heads to Hollywood

By Michael Witthaus

 The Hampton Beach Comedy Festival returns with Jimmy Dunn headlining the final night of the event he created five years ago to break up the summer. Equal parts showcase and house party, the lineup is stacked with Dunn’s friends, and it’s shaping into a big sendoff for the Seacoast comic.

After the festival, Dunn will fly to Southern California and begin work on The McCarthys, a new CBS sitcom debuting Oct. 30. It stars Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), Jack McGee (Rescue Me, The Fighter) and former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre (The Heat).
The show revolves around a sports-crazed Boston Irish Catholic family; Dunn plays the son of a local basketball coach. 
“I really want the assistant coach job, but everybody else does too,” Dunn said in a recent phone interview, explaining that his character “used to be a star athlete in high school, but has since had a lot of sandwiches and hamburgs. He’s not the athlete that he once was, but he still thinks he is.”
Dunn filmed the pilot over a year ago, but it wasn’t picked up at the time. The experience paid a few dividends; the comic parlayed the connections he made into an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman and a long sought-after slot at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Otherwise, he assumed his sitcom dreams ended when the show was sent back for retooling. 
“They auditioned a bunch of actors, some famous ones too, so I had to resign myself that it was probably not going to be me,” Dunn said. “It would [have been] a heartbreaker to watch someone else do my role. But the directors said, ‘We just want to get Jimmy out here.’”
There are several reasons to bank on The McCarthys being a success. Director Andy Ackerman is a Seinfeld veteran who also worked on Cheers.  Producer Pamela Fryman did Frasier, Just Shoot Me, and the now-wrapped How I Met Your Mother. It’s slotted right after the final season of Two and a Half Men, and the cast members’ pedigree is unassailable.
But Dunn thinks the show’s secret weapon is newcomer Tyler Ritter, who plays his gay younger brother. One critic called the 29-year-old actor’s likeness to his father John Ritter “uncanny,” comparing it to watching an early episode of Three’s Company. 
“He’s the nicest kid in the world, and the whole show just sort of gels around him,” said Dunn.
But first things first.
Paul Gilligan and Dave Rattigan top the bill for the first night of the Hampton Beach Comedy Festival, with Boston funny man Lamont Price working prior to Dunn’s Friday night set. A dozen comics appear, along with promised special guests. 
“There are so many favorites that keep coming back every year,” said Dunn, touting Will Noonan — “he’s gonna be a star” — and newcomer Abhishek Shah: “Not a lot of people have seen him yet, but after this, they’ll all say, ‘That guy is really good.’”
Dunn expects a feel-good mood to prevail at his farewell bash. 
“All my friends are coming. They’re saying they might not see me for a while,” he said, adding he’s elated by his approaching move. “I’m on a roll that I have been working a long time for; Letterman, Montreal, and now CBS on Thursday nights. I don’t want it to stop; I’m very lucky right now.”
After the Hampton Beach festival, Dunn expects to be on the West Coast for another six to eight months. 
“I hope I’m out there for 10 years, a nice long run,” he said, noting that he tried and failed to make his mark on Hollywood in his younger days. “L.A. without a job is a tough place to be … with a job is a whole different thing. It’s the first time I’m going out there with a gig.”
As seen in the July 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu