The Bedford Citizen invites you to be our guest at a special one-night virtual event on December 26 featuring comedian Jim Colliton.
Eventbrite is handling tickets for this virtual event. While there is no charge for tickets, please register everyone who will be watching. It’ll give us a good idea of the audience, and they’ll be able to use separate devices if they wish. Click https://www.eventbrite.com/e/laughter-the-best-medicine-tickets-131467933127.
Jim Colliton is one of our own – born and raised in Bedford, BHS Class of 1988. Perhaps being the youngest of six children with five older sisters had something to do with shaping his sense of humor and love of performance. One of his bits describing an impulsive plan to “borrow” a Bedford school bus when he was a teenager is a beloved story for many locals who have seen him perform in and around the Boston area. Jim also does corporate events and has appeared as a featured act on Royal Caribbean cruise lines. You can find out more about his experience at www.jimwhat.com.
After high school, Colliton attended Fitchburg State. He enjoyed the various comedians who would do stand-up at college pubs and decided then it was something he really wanted to do. Over time, he experimented with “open mic” nights and looked for opportunities to perform in local comedy clubs. “It was a tough environment to break into,” he said. “There weren’t many options for performers and competition was stiff. Then in the 90s when cable TV emerged, a lot of the comedy clubs closed. But I kept at it – it was what I wanted to do.”
In the meantime, he worked at Converse selling athletic gear. He also got married and started a family. He honed his skills and learned the business side of performing comedy. He began to achieve recognition and was booking gigs on a more regular basis. When Converse dangled a promotion that included moving to Florida, he decided to make the move from doing comedy on the side to focusing on it as a career.
Colliton’s act is characterized by audience members as extremely funny and upbeat; generally, there is a focus on parenting, family, and the ironies of daily life. Reviewers are consistent in their praise of both his delivery and his content which appeals to diverse audiences.
Asked about comedians whose work he appreciated, Colliton said he most admired the skills of performers like Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bob Newhart. He also acknowledged the work of two more local comedians, Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigin, who have been mentors to him as he learned the business.
The pandemic has been especially hard on performing arts of all kinds and comedy is no exception. Colliton’s working schedule for 2020 was upended as soon as lockdown began. Like many, he has been forced to innovate and come up with different methods of reaching audiences. Livestreaming and Zoom are two obvious options for which he is grateful, but both lack the energy and verve of a live venue where he can both read and interact with the crowd. Since the pandemic began, he has expanded into podcasting with a fellow performer, Karen Morgan, with a series dubbed “Lawn and Disorder” which finds the humor in family life.
Jim lives with his wife, Erin, and three children (Cecilia, a junior at American University; and Samantha and Joe who are senior and sophomore respectively in high school) in Wakefield.