Comedian John Pinette passed away Saturday in Pittsburgh, where he was visiting family, at only 50 years old, apparently of natural causes; he had been battling liver and heart disease. Many of you will remember him due to his guest appearance on the finale of Seinfeld as the carjacking victim, but he was a successful and popular stand-up comedian for more than half of his life. Not only did he get acclaim from such institutions as The American Comedy Awards, but he also got the rare distinction of opening for none other than the legendary Frank Sinatra. Few performers and even fewer comedians can lay claim to such a gig.
Pinette was also noted by his kindness and generosity. Comedians such as Rory Scovel who have opened for him say that he would share his bonus with them, a undoubtedly rare occurrence when performing comedy on the road.
He was working right up until the end, with an engagement at the Ontario, CA Improv scheduled for this week and a new one-man show that would have presented a more personal, introspective show than they had previously performed.
Another comedian, Matt Goldich, had this deft remark to sum up Pinette’s passing: “Amazing that John Pinette & Chris Farley were gifted physical comedians while I weigh 160 lbs and don’t even know what to do with my hands.”
Here’s one of Pinette’s most popular bits on YouTube, on lines at fast food restaurants.