NEWS

Video: Jimmy Tingle says goodbye with a wrap party at the Burren

S.H. Bagely

Goodbye, Jimmy.

Comedian, activist and theater owner Jimmy Tingle said “so long” to Somerville on Dec. 20. His theater, Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway, was a Davis Square fixture for five years. Tingle’s theater closed down last month after he decided not to renew the lease.

Tingle had a formal wrap party in the back room at the Burren. “This is the best thing,” he said. “I don’t regret any of it.”

“The best thing about the theater was the people,” Tingle said in a brief speech early in the night.

The Burren’s back room was packed with people who gathered to wish Tingle farewell. Tingle went from person to person, shaking hands and chatting, warmly. It was a room full of friends parting ways.

And they will all miss Tingle. Chris Britt, one of Tingle’s theater staff members, said he was proud of what the theater was. “It was a bright flash in time,” Britt said. “I feel proud of what it was.”

Comedian Chris Walsh said he owed his career to Tingle. Walsh said the act he shares with his brother would not have gone anywhere without him. “Jimmy took a big leap on us,” he said. “It’s sad as all get-out. It’s a tragedy. It was great for the cities of Somerville and Cambridge.”

Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Mackey was there to say goodbye to Tingle, too. “Jimmy was just a tremendous asset, a new dimension in Somerville,” Mackey said. “He was a good business, neighbor, and a friend to the city and the square.”

Dot Dwyer, who worked as a teller at the bank where Tingle’s family had an account, said the theater had a reputation as one of the best-run in the business. “If you wanted to do a show nice, in a nice place, you do it at Tingle’s,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer said if she had enough money, she would lease the theater and call it Tingle’s, “in honor of Jimmy.”

“Time goes on,” Mackey said, “and things change. The theater will have another life.”