7 Questions with Jimmy Dunn


Photo by PT Sullivan


Jimmy Dunn is an actor and stand-up comedian from Boston, who co-stars on the CBS comedy “The McCarthys” as Sean McCarthy.  He got his start in the comedy world telling jokes at a bar in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he was paid in beer and fried clams. Since then, Jimmy has gone on to perform at some of the comedy industry’s most prestigious events, including Denis Leary’s Comics Come Home, Montreal’s International Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, and the Late Show with David Letterman.  “The McCarthys” is about a loud, Irish-Catholic, sports-crazed family from Boston. Jimmy plays Sean, a chubby, dim, former star athlete who likes to drink beer and eat fried clams, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.

RM:  So now that you’ve had some time to bask in the glory of yet another New England Patriots Super Bowl victory…How many more years do you think that Brady can play; and how many more Super Bowls can they win before Belichick finally decides to hang up the sleeveless hoodie?

JD:  I think Brady could play until he’s 60. But he’s gonna leave soon. He’s got Gisele at home, man. Another Super Bowl and he and Bill walk into the sunset, arm in arm, Tom in a GQ-cover-worthy turtleneck, Bill in the hoodie.

RM:  What do you remember most about your first time on stage doing stand-up?  What was the first joke you told that really hit; and what was so special about the feeling of the response the crowd gave you that made you want to try your hand at doing it again?

JD:  My first time doing stand-up came on 3 days of notice. I was working in a bank and the club next door started doing a comedy night. The owner knew I was interested in stand-up and figured I could get some people to come in, so he offered me the opportunity to emcee. I spent three days writing bad jokes with my friend Dave Hackett. Most of them bombed, but the place was packed with my friends and they were laughing at me, not with me. The owner didn’t care. I did 5 bad minutes and introduced the pros to a full house. I had a couple of legit laughs that night and got the bug.

RM:  You had the opportunity to perform at the Worcester Comedy Festival the last weekend in February with some heavy hitters such as Lenny Clarke and Steve Sweeney…What was the highlight of that whole experience for you; and what makes the city of Worcester such a great setting for a show such as that one?

JD:  The highlight of the Worcester Comedy Fest was the pre-show dinner with Lenny Clarke, Don Gavin, and Tony V. They are the three most influential comics in my career, three of my best friends and I hadn’t seen them in 6 months. And they were very happy to let me spend a little of my sitcom dough on steaks and seafood. Fortunately, the audience at the Palladium was amazing, because we were all a step slower than usual due to food comas.

RM:  You had the chance to do “Comics Come Home” with Denis Leary a while back…What was the most surreal part of that whole experience for you; and how did your preparation for that gig differ from your preparation for a weekend at a comedy club?

JD:  The Comics Come Home gig was the best comedy show I’ve ever done. Denis runs an amazing event and the Boston comedy fans know it’s going to rock, box to wire, every year. I did my best 15 minutes in front of thousands of Boston fans. Dream gig.

RM:  How would you best describe the moment right before you walked out onto the stage when you performed on The Late Show with David Letterman?

JD:  This will sound cocky, but I was so prepared for that set that it was easy. I had run the set dozens of times. I’d been dreaming of that moment for 20 years. And the audience was so great. My third joke, I heard Dave, sitting behind me, laugh. It was just the coolest! When I was done, and I shook his hand, I felt like I just lifted the Stanley Cup.


RM:  On your Wikipedia page, it says that according to the Portsmouth Herald you are known for your “portrayal of the ‘big, loud, dumb guy’…”  Do you ever worry about being pigeonholed into that particular character type for the rest of your career; and do you think that type of character is often an incorrect stereotype of outspoken men that live on the upper East Coast?

JD:  Nope. I’ll play the big, dumb, loud guy forever. That’s my wheelhouse!

RM:  Which aspects of constructing new bits would you consider to your specialty; and why would you say that you excel at that portion of your craft?

JD:  The hardest part of writing a new bit for me is finding the topic – the angle – the premise. Something that’s not going to be a quick joke, but a chunk. And something that not everyone else is going to be doing in a few weeks. Topical jokes, news stuff, I put on Twitter. (@jimmydunncomedy) But I like to write bits that will have some longevity.

RM:  What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond?  Anything big in the works that we should know about?

JD:  I’m waiting to find out if we will get a second season of The McCarthys. Contrary to internet rumors, the show is still very much alive. We will find out more mid-May. I hope that’s my future. It’s the greatest job I’ve ever had. In the meantime, I’m enjoying doing stand-up after a 6 month break, and I’m going to record a new CD on May 2 at the Flying Monkey in NH.

Official Website:

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