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John Tobin Presents (Jimmy Tingle and more…)

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I sat down and talked rising national comedy producer John Tobin.

Tobin has been a mainstay in the Boston comedy scene since 1992 when he started as a doorman at a local comedy club. Today, Tobin owns ‘John Tobin Presents’, a live comedy production company that produces and operates shows in and around Boston at well-known clubs such as The Comedy Scene, Laugh Boston and the legendary Nick’s Comedy Stop.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • John producing Jimmy Tingle’s comedy show at The Cabot (00:43)
  • How John fell in love with Comey, and became one of the fastest growing comedy producers (01:19)
  • John reflects on seeing Joe Rogan, Bill Burr and Dane Cook in their early days (03:02)
  • Which comic he knew would be very, very big.  (03:35)
  • John’s newest venture, the Off-Cabot Comedy Club (08:00)

Connect with John Tobin Presents

For more information on all things Jimmy Tingle

Transcript – Please note, this Transcript is AI Generated. It has not had the discerning ears of a real human to edit it, as such, there are bound to be a few errors.

Jimmy Tingle 0:00
Hey everybody, this is Jimmy, thank you so much for joining us today. Today’s episode has been brought to you by our sponsor humor for humanity, a social enterprise that I found that a few years ago that raises spirits, funds and awareness for nonprofits, charities and social causes. Our mission is your mission humor for humanity. You can find out more information at Jimmy Thank you so much and enjoy today’s show.

Let us in gentlemen, drumroll please. For the one the only Mr. John Tobin. Hello, John.

John Tobin 0:40
H. Me. It’s great to be with you. Thanks so much.

Jimmy Tingle 0:43
Great to see you today. fowl. Thank you so much. Before I get going, I have to do a little plug. John was gracious enough to have me at the Cabot theater on Saturday Night March 26th. John Tobin present is bringing That’s right. Young Jim tingle into Beverly Massachusetts, ladies and gentlemen, to the beautiful Cabot theater 800 seats. So audio tickets now at Jimmy So ladies and gentlemen, John Tobin has been a Boston City Councilor for five terms, but I want to just bring it up to the present moment. He’s transitioned from five turn Boston City Council into comedy. Now tell me how that happened, John?

John Tobin 1:19
Well, it’s actually I’ve been in the comedy business now for 30 years. I loved listening to stand up comedy, my parents would always encourage me to do it. My first comedy album I ever listened to was Steve Martin wild and crazy guy. And I wasn’t exactly allowed to listen to that because, because it had some swear words on it. But my parents would, you know, have parties at the house on Saturday nights down to their finished basement, which was the old garage, and you can just have gales of laughter coming I wasn’t allowed to be in them. I was my feet pajamas up on the third floor. But these, you know, laughter and so they go out in the backyard and my father go to garden, oh, my mother would be out. I’d sneak down and put the record on just to listen to it. And just was just transfixed by this person who I didn’t know what they look like other than the album cover, we had the bunny is to stand on a stage just imagining in my mind, you know, making 1000s of people of strangers laugh to me just seems so powerful because I went to Nick’s comedy stop the first time in 1986 When I was a junior at Catholic Memorial, it was me my best friend Gary de MIDI and his brother Peter, and we went to a show we snuck in, I think you had to be at least 18 Maybe 21. But I was 17. We went in there. And we saw Kevin Knox opened it up DJ hazard. And then Don Gavin, who I’m from the same street as Gavin West Roxbury, we graduate from the same high school. And he closed up the show that Steve Sweeney came in off the street and did a surprise 15 minutes, and we walked back to the car, I’ll never forget it. My life was changed from that moment on. I had never seen anything like that in person in my entire life.

Jimmy Tingle 2:48
There is something electric about being in an audience when one person is onstage just talking freely, uncensored, no holds barred and making people laugh at the same time. You could feel it in the audience.

John Tobin 3:02
Yeah, you could feel like something special was about to happen here in so I was just part of something special and then working in the clubs and, you know, working with the legends that I knew of and then this up and coming group, which I didn’t know at the time, I was gonna be some of the biggest names in comedy, but it was you know, people like you know, when they leave and it was gab it was Sweeney. It was it was DJ it was Mike Donovan Kenny Rogers in you know, just this whole group of people and then you know, the other ones are coming up like Greg Fitzsimmons and Patrice O’Neal and Bill Burr and Joe Rogan. And

Jimmy Tingle 3:35
can you believe that? I mean, at the time, did you ever think that Bill Burr would be as big as he is? Or Joe Rogan would be as big as he is? Or Dane Cook, Bill

John Tobin 3:45
and Joe. I did not know. In fact, I’ve apologized to them both since Joe and I dated sisters for a brief time. And I was at one of his first open mic nights. And then he was dreadful. And on the way home, I was in the backseat with him. The girls were up front. They were driving his home. We had met him there he was there with his whole family. And he said, Do you think that was like 1988? And he said, I didn’t think I did. And I said oh, you’re gonna be a star. I was being a wise guy to him. You’re gonna be you’re gonna light the world on fire. And then four years later, I’m making $6.50 An hour work of addict seating people in a comedy club and who comes walking in but Joe Rogan fresh off a $300,000 Holding deal with Disney. Wow. And I was mocking him for you know, right, Bill. Dreadful and I’ve since apologized. You know this. The Chappelle is the Eddie Murphy is the Pete Davidson is those people who arrive at 19 selling out arenas, those are shooting stars. It really takes 10 years to find your voice and to find out who you are on stage. And so I have a greater realization of that now more than ever. I did know about Dane though. And the only reason I know that is because he was like the hardest working person I’ve ever met in terms of like just he didn’t hang around the clubs afterwards, maybe to the chagrin of the other comedians. He was all business. He was the first comedian I knew he had a Carphone, and he called me up. And he said, he’d already done two shows in Boston, he says, your room for me. And I said, Yeah, and he would come up. 93 fly up 93 and be close up, people started coming to the free Thursday show and paying money, because they knew Dane Cook was going to be there. And, you know, put all his money in into my space. And, you know, he was like a politician in a way. Yeah, he do these college shows. And after the show, he would sign every body part, every piece of paper, he worked his base,

Jimmy Tingle 5:27
right. And that’s so much of it. Yeah, so much of it is, it’s all personally driven. I mean, nobody is going to do the work for you. And you you really grow depends on how much you put into it. How many shows are you doing a week? Are you listening to your sets? Are you correcting yourself? Are you getting rid of bits that don’t work or keeping them in? Are you refining? And are you marketing yourself? All of those things, all those attributes are hugely important, and they make the difference between somebody who’s good, and somebody who’s really great, ultimately becomes great. Right now you have how many clubs in the Boston area,

John Tobin 6:02
so we left Boston, one of the owners of that along with a normal lavalette, who also owns the improv asylum and the North End and he’s got another one in New York City, and Northern I’ve been friends and partners forever. And we run Nick’s comedy stuff and produce the shows there, which to me is a great honor.

Jimmy Tingle 6:18
You got left Boston, Nick’s comedy stop. MGM in Springfield

John Tobin 6:22
roar. Am

Jimmy Tingle 6:24
casino at the casino. Okay, great. How is that doing?

John Tobin 6:28
It’s doing it’s making its comeback. I mean, like, close the last two years. And it’s ramping back up. So we’ve had several shows in this sense, and it’s making its way back. It was running on all cylinders, like everything else was before this. And so, you know, it’s coming back. I got a couple locations in Worcester, we’ve got a place down in Foxborough, the CBS scene down there. We bought a Connecticut company tree house back and

Jimmy Tingle 6:52
worked with them back in the day. Brad Axelrod at

John Tobin 6:54
Axelrod, great guy. 35 years. So we’re trying to get that back up and going and then became we opened up partnered up with a couple other folks who have places in Canada in the US. So we opened up we partnered up and open up a place in Plano, Texas, we’ve got another one coming up online, hopefully in late April in Detroit as a couple of locations, pretty much from the Midwest on that we’re hoping to sign deals on pretty soon. And we do a bunch of one night is like at the Cabot shooting theater, the Norwood theater, the denim community theater and you know, private events and things like that. So it’s really enriched my life in a way that could never I mean, the last 30 is just the meet to meet the men and women from this profession. comedians who are also part of the creative economy of the country. I know

Jimmy Tingle 7:36
some people that are complete introverts who have started to do comedy and people go rarely comedy you you don’t say two words any anytime. And they find that they can be their true selves on stage with a microphone. And it’s an amazing phenomena that just so organic that happened not only in this town, but around the country, and you’re playing a big part in that and I gotta say, as a comic, it’s awesome. And we’re grateful for all the rooms you’ve started and all the opportunities you’re giving people now you just started your newest room as the off Cabot which is right next to the cabin theater, we’ll be playing on March 26. What is the off cabin gonna be like,

John Tobin 8:14
it’s gonna be a cool little club about 120 130 seats. It’s up the street from the Cabot theater, we’ve been booking the comedy with Casey and his team there for the past several years, six, seven years. And so we just really liked each other and, and our teams like each other. That’s one of the things you just get to a certain age or you advance you get to work with people you get, you get to pick and choose who you want to work with, and people you like and respect and really don’t have time for to be around people that don’t enjoy being around. And so this opportunity came up up the street for this events play. So kind of a music little musical that went under because of COVID. And it was kind of sitting there and Casey called me up he said why don’t we take a look at it. And we took a look at it. We fell in love with it and said let’s do this together. Yeah, march 19 Is the is opening night. It’s the first show is already sold out. And that’s great. We’re excited because you get this bandwidth and you get it you almost feel like you’ve been in this business, you almost have a responsibility to do something with it and to create stages where people can work and people can enjoy themselves. I mean, everybody has problems in a health concern problems family problems, job problems, you know it money problems, and you go into a club and you’re there for two hours and you’re there to laugh at silly stuff or different points of view. Yep. And even people’s point of view at you don’t necessarily agree with but they can make you laugh is pretty powerful thing. And you know, that group of people whether it’s a big theater, like the Cabot theater or small club, that’s the only time ever that those group of people will be in the same room together at one time.

Jimmy Tingle 9:41
Right? And laughter The common denominator and agreeing or at least temporarily agreeing on this joke is funny. So it’s really a great service that you provide and John how can people find the clubs is John Tobin. is that

John Tobin 9:58
until, and has all of our clubs there and in the theaters that we that we book, all the informations there. And, you know, we’re all over social media and the regular places you could find us. And, you know, we’re really excited to present not just you with the cabinet theatre, but also all the other shows that we produce, and book and manage every week, just like to bring joy to people. And yeah, you know, during during COVID, when we were doing shows out in parking lots and in Dr. Higgins and in meadows and things like that, you know, you you would work in 20 times as hard for a nickel, but you almost felt like you had a responsibility to show a heartbeat and to bring a little bit of joy to people because everything else the next day was uncertain, or what is going to bring it either the the social things happening in the country and now, you know, the tragedies around the world were occurring right now. But also the virus and its uncertainty and, and yet we have a responsibility to our talent to comedians to get up and keep them sharp and give them some hope to

Jimmy Tingle 10:54
Yeah, keep people working. Well, it’s a great service. You’ve done a wonderful job, John, five times City Council has gone on to be one of the largest producers in New England and as they expand to Detroit and Texas be one of the biggest producers around the country, which is awesome. It’s given a lot of work to comics, which is really really critical. Comedy helps the local economy for every $1 spent on a comedy ticket or any kind of entertainment venue ticket. A $10 is spent in the surrounding neighborhoods when it comes to the the restaurants and the pubs and the shopping. So folks, come see us march 26 at the Cabot theater, I will be performing Jimmy tingle, live humor for humanity and visit John Tobin That’s John Tobin., you can get information about left Boston, Nick’s comedy stop the new theater off Cabot right there in Beverly, the shows out in Springfield, the clubs in Worcester, the one down in Connecticut, it’s just a lot of places that you can go have some fun, enjoy yourself, bring some family and friends. You’re gonna feel better when you leave one of these clubs because John doesn’t book crappy acts. He books, good people, not everybody’s a superstar, but everybody is working really hard on their craft, and they just keep getting better and better. So it’s a real tribute to you, John, for the people that you have booked and taking the time to make these places work and taking the financial risk to make these places work. So folks help John with his financial risk by coming to my show on March 26 at the Cabot Theatre in Beverly Dinesh show combinations. You will love it. Ladies and gentlemen. John, thank you so much for joining us, John Tobin. As Jimmy I really appreciate it. Thank you. Great to see your continued success. You as well. Thanks. Thank you for joining us today. This has been a humor for humanity production. I am the founder of humor for humanity, a social enterprise that raises spirits, funds and awareness for nonprofits, charities, and social causes. You can find out how we can help you or your organization, raise spirits, funds and awareness for you and yours. Our mission is your mission humor for humanity at Jimmy Thank you

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