Saturday October 19th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
Today is the birthday of one of my all time favorite comedians, the great Jimmy McHugh out of Chicago. He is also one of my favorite friends, and I can’t say enough good things about him onstage or off. In my opinion, he should have gotten a huge break a long time ago. He’s a talent.
There is also a comedian out of Boston named Jim McCue, but we’ve never met in person. We are Facebook friends, and I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about him onstage and off as well. The two do get confused from time to time, and Jim McCue’s birthday happens to be tomorrow.
I found it kind of odd that two guys who have the same sounding name and are both comedians from two different cities happen to have a birthday a day apart. I don’t think it’s weird enough to make it into the next Ripley’s Believe It Or Not compilation, but it’s close. It adds to the legend.
I first met Jimmy McHugh in the ‘80s at The Comedy Cottage in Rosemont, IL. I used to come from Milwaukee to get stage time when I first started, and that was the showcase club in the area. There were all kinds of comics that went on to much bigger things, and that’s where it all started.
What a vibe there was in that place. The comedy boom was just starting, and audiences were as hot as one could imagine – even on week nights. It was an era that will never be again and I wish I could have recorded some of those shows for the historical value. They were loaded with talent.
The thing I remember most about Jimmy was that his material was very polished. His style is a lot different than most comedians in that he writes in chunks. His stuff is very much his own, and has stood the test of time. Several of his bits are flat out standup comedy classics in my opinion.
He does a hilarious routine about a drunk taking the bus home on New Year’s Eve in Chicago. He plays the character to perfection, and it’s outstanding. He also has one about vacuuming a rug where a piece of lint won’t get sucked up. That might not sound all that funny, but Jimmy brings it to life and gets the crowd roaring every time. Again, it’s unique and he has made it his own.
I’ll bet Jimmy has a dozen chunks of really solid time tested material like that, and even though I’ve seen them literally hundreds of times they still make me laugh out loud even now. He knows what he’s doing, and I love to watch him work. He has been paying dues even longer than I have.
Even more appreciated is his friendship. I thought I was a giver, but Jimmy goes all out. When I was doing cruise ship work a couple of years ago, Jimmy would get up at 3 or 4am to drive me to O’Hare Airport to catch a flight and then let me park my car in his driveway to save all kinds of parking fees. This wasn’t just once either. He did it week after week and never complained.
Too often we wait until someone dies to recall all the great things they did, but I wanted to put it out there about Jimmy while he’s alive so he can be appreciated for the gem that he is. It would be great if the good guy would catch a break for once, and nobody would cheer louder than me if that happened. Jimmy has booked me for shows through the years, and always pays comedians a solid buck to the point of it coming out of his pocket. He puts his money where his mouth is, and nobody I know works harder. Check him out for yourself at www.comedianjimmymchugh.com.
|Chicago's Jimmy McHugh - a great comedian and an even greater friend. www.comedianjimmymchugh.com.|