By Grace Griffin Globe Correspondent
When Jimmy Tingle delivered his comedy set to the audience at Cambridge’s Sanders Theatre at the end of February, he had no idea it would be his last indoor live show for the foreseeable future.
Just weeks after the February show, COVID-19 closed venues nationwide. Coincidentally, Tingle had recorded his Sanders Theatre performance in hopes of turning it into a special, and, while stuck inside during lockdown, that’s what he did.
Running Dec. 26 through Jan. 3, Tingle’s curated string of seven virtual performances blend the prerecorded special, new comedy bits, and a live Q&A. The ticket price for the 90-minute event is “pay what you can.”
“It’s a tough time for everybody and I don’t want to be cost-prohibitive,” Tingle said. “Hopefully it’s an event that makes people feel more optimistic.” The hourlong special, titled “Jimmy Tingle’s 20/20 Vision,” focuses on Tingle’s 2018 run for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and the current US political climate. Though the Cambridge native and Harvard Kennedy School of Government grad was eliminated in the 2018 primary, Tingle said he aimed
to answer a question he heard often while campaigning: Why would a comedian run for office?
“It’s more of a documentary with my commentary woven through it,” Tingle said. “I tried to really make it something that, regardless of who you voted for, you’d appreciate the sentiment and the values we’re espousing in the film.”
Ticket proceeds will benefit local nonprofit organizations and theaters affected by coronavirus shutdowns through Tingle’s charitable initiative Humor for Humanity, dedicated to using entertainment for community betterment.
In addition to screening the new special, Tingle has written some jokes about quarantining and the 2020 election that he’ll perform live on the virtual stage. Each event will also allow time for audience members to ask the comedian questions at the end.
Tingle hopes the show will unite attendees from around the country.
“As a country, we’ve been through very difficult times,” he said. “I hope they feel like we’re going to be OK. We’re going to pull together as a society.”
Grace Griffin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GraceMGriffin.