AYER/SHIRLEY -- "Who the heck is Jimmy Tingle, and why is he coming to Ayer?" has been a question uttered fairly often in recent weeks as the town prepares for his arrival on April 26.
"Jimmy Tingle? He's a riot," said Ayer resident Brenda Gleason. "Just Google, watch him on YouTube, listen to him on NPR. The guy's everywhere!"
"Never heard of the guy," said Ayer-Shirley Regional High School and Page-Hilltop parent Amanda Scaffardi. "I heard he's a stand-up comedian or political satirist. Whoever he is, though, if he's coming to town to raise money for my kids, I'm more than happy to go to the show ... and my kids can even go for free!"
Sponsored by Sorrento's Brick Oven Pizzeria, Jimmy Tingle is coming to Ayer-Shirley Regional High School with his "American Dream" tour as a fundraiser for dramatic arts in the schools, including enhancements to the forthcoming "new" auditorium that are not covered as part of the state/town renovation project.
The evening will include a showing of Tingle's self-written and produced film "American Dream," followed by a meet-and-greet reception complete with appetizers from Ayer's newest fine dining spot, Markoh's, on Main Street, and closing with a live stand-up performance by Tingle.
The production is rated G, family-friendly, recommended for ages 10 and up (as the nature of the humor might be more grown-up than some very young minds.
"I'm really looking forward to raising spirits, funds and awareness for the dramatic arts in the Ayer/Shirley schools," said Tingle. "I love that we can use my film, along with a Q&A, and a little comedy to help others achieve their artistic goals."
He continues, "The film is a self-produced and self-financed documentary about my dream of becoming a stand-up comedian, making it onto national television, starting my own theater, and going back to school. (Tingle graduated in 2010 with a master's degree in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.) I always enjoy the way the audiences get a kick out of the people we interview about what the American dream means to them -- everyone from a homeless person to my mother, to Oscar winners and other comedians. Our goal on April 26 is to raise a lot of money and, even more, to help inspire the students and attendees to follow their own dreams and aspirations in the arts and beyond."
Tingle is regarded as one of the top social and political humorists in America. He has worked as a stand-up comic, producer, writer, actor, filmmaker and commentator in several media from the early 1980s to the present day. His professional career has spanned nearly three decades.
For information on Jimmy Tingle, visit him online at www.jimmytingle.com, where you'll also find a direct link to his "American Dream."