Jimmy Tingle
Jimmy Tingle

AYER - Comedy and Massachusetts politics may seem like entirely different worlds, but comedian Jimmy Tingle doesn't see it that way.

The Boston comedian, who is breaking into the political scene with a Democratic run for lieutenant governor, says the large crowds, meet and greets, and conversations about various social issues translate well from comedy to politics.

"It's putting on a show with purpose," Tingle said. "It's a long, extended production over a year working toward a common goal: election day."

Tingle will perform at Ayer-Shirley Regional High School Friday at 7 p.m. as part of his Humor for Humanity tour. Ticket sales - which are $25 or $35 for VIP seating and a meet and greet - will go to Ayer-Shirley Regional School District programs.

The goal of the tour is to raise awareness, spirits, and money for social causes, charities and nonprofits, Tingle said. But don't expect Humor for Humanity to be attached to his campaign.

He plans to put on a show with social, political, and autobiographical humor that touches on current issues. Think satire in the vein of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Tingle come to Ayer-Shirley in 2013 for his American Dream tour.

His career as a performer, commentator, writer, and activist spans nearly three decades. Tingle rose from the comedy scene in Boston and went on to appear on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. He is also a former commentator for "60 Minutes II" and MSNBC.

Comedy is what urged him to run for office.


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After the 2016 presidential election, there was a lot more content to use in his comedy, but Tingle said he felt motivated to do more.

He wanted to take his own philosophy, commentary, and skills to the next to the next level to address ideas he's talked about on stage.

Tingle announced his candidacy in October. He joins Democrat Quentin Palfrey, a former aide for Barack Obama, and Republican incumbent Karyn Polito in the race for lieutenant governor.

Being a first time candidate doesn't bother him. Campaigning has been a challenging experience, Tingle said, but he has assembled an experienced team to show him the way.

His political experience includes helping out with campaigns and local initiatives including campaign finance reform and plastic bottle recycling. He is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Tingle said his "social justice platform" hits on issues including access to health care, gun safety, protection of immigrant rights, and help for the environment.

He wants to connect with people and learn about what issues are important to them both during the campaign and show tour.

"I would like to try to use my comedy for a purpose beyond entertainment value," Tingle said. "That's why I'm running."