Meet this week’s Somerville News Weekly Special Person of the Week Timothy Winn
Timothy Winn was born in the Somerville Hospital on July 6th, 1957 and from that day on Somerville was his world.
The center of Tim’s world was 10 Tennyson St. This was where he played street hockey, touch football, stickball, any and every game he could think of.
He filled his days engrossed in running, hiding, being ‘it’ or counted to a hundred while friends conjured up exotic places to hide. It is well known, that in the Ville, Tim said that “his and most of his childhood friends homes had garbage bins built ito the ground in their backyards. These bins were covered by a heavy iron top that you opened by pushing down on a pedal with your foot. These bins were gross; very gross. during a long game of Relievio, one person could not be found. Tim and his friends searched for hours to no avail.”
This person was Tim’s younger brother and yes, he was hiding in the bin in their yard. When Tim’s little brother finally emerged, he was covered by maggots and a smell, that to this day makes them gag.
Because of this,Tim said that “his mom was horrified, disgusted and as mad as a wet hen and Tim’s brother didn’t smell quite right for days to come!”
Tim states that “as kids, their games of Relievio were legendary. They’d start at 8:00 a.m., take a 15 minute lunch, go back to playing, take a half hour for supper and right back at it until the street lights came on. ”
Tim recalls one time, the game was so intense, that his parents let him go until 10:00 p.m. Tim recalls hiding on roofs, behind chimneys, inside parked cars, neighbors basements and the very tops of the tallest trees!
Tim said that his point here is that “he never had a dull moment growing up and sure, there were fights and arguments, but also crushes and first kisses. The Ville was a place of grandeur growing up.”
Tim went to The Forster School for Kindergarten, St. Ann’s Parochial until the 7th grade, Northeastern Junior High and Then he graduated from Somerville High School in 1977.
Tim started doing theatre in the 7th grade, in school and with The Somerville Players after school. He continued doing plays in High School and he figured that this would be a pretty cool career. Tim states that “he didn’t have the money to go to Emerson College and he didn’t qualify for a grant, so he went to the next best college….Bunker Hill Community College! It may sound inane, but I lucked out and worked for a director who had seen it all, done it all and was one hell of a great director and over time, an even greater friend and mentor.”
Tim said in an interview that “he did four plays in two years and I got all four leads. I got my first lead in a play called ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in 1973. so when I left bunker Hill, I knew acting was what I was going to do. But, what to do for money in the meantime. I worked lots of odd jobs and I got a great bartending gig at The 1369 Jazz Club in Inman Sq. Cambridge. It was there that this tall, lanky guy would come in once in a while. We’d talk and I’d make him laugh. It just so happens that the 1369 was right next door to a Chinese Food/ Comedy Club called The Ding-Ho. Well this tall lanky guy told me I should go there and try out an open mic night. He told me he knew the guy who ran the open mic on Wednesday nights and he’d put me on for five minutes. So, Steve Sweeney introduced me to Lenny Clarke and I quit my job at the 1369 and went to work at the Ding-Ho. Not only did i work the stage, I worked the bar, the door and the sound. Not long after starting at the Ding, I met the man who started Boston Comedy; Mr. Barry Crimmins! I didn’t feel I was very good on stage, but Barry told me to stick around, find your niche’ and you’ll be just fine. Of course, I took Barry’s advice and of course, he was right. I got to work with not only Steve Sweeney and Lenny Clarke, but also with Steven Wright,Bobcat Goldwaithe, Denis Leary, Mike Donovan, Jimmy Tingle and a slew of great Boston Talent. I Knew I was starting to get somewhere when I opened for Warren Zevon (Werewolves of London) and a five minute opening spot for Jay Leno who was in town promoting the opening of a new Club(Which closed about a week later.)
But, back then, you didn’t make a ton of money doing Stand-Up. The only real money I made in Comedy was when I was approached by two Somerville businessmen, who had just opened a club and they wanted me, specifically, to run it. We opened on a Thursday night and the place was jam packed! Not even standing room left. My premier night I had Don Gavin, Lenny Clarke and Steve Sweeney, with myself as host and emcee.
The next day a legend was born….Deco’s Lounge had arrived on the comedy scene.
Bill and Joe Decologero, who are still great frinds of mine to this day were over the Moon with our success. All the comics wanted to work Deco’s because it was a beautiful, new venue, the crowds were great and of course, the Somerville gals. Villen women are by nature, gorgeous, but back in the early 80’s…WOW!
After about a year Deco’s started to slow down, so we quit while we were ahead. I wasn’t done with the Ville yet, so, I opened another comedy club at the old Jumbo’s Lounge. That didn’t pan out as well as Deco’s, so I went back on the road. At this time, my Dad, a life long Teamster asked me if I’d like to work for him in the Teamster’s Movie Division.
He explained that I would make good money, get a pension and healthcare and maybe make some connections on the side. At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer; working with stars, making money and still being connected to ‘The Business’. That went very well for twelve years. I got my SAG card, got some speaking roles and made many famous friends. Alas, all good things come to an end. My Dad passed away and a new movie regime moved in. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Today, I am still a teamster working in the Tradeshow Division. I set up all the conventions that come to Boston. I enjoy my job and I work with great guys.
Every now and then, I will spare as a worker for Local #11 stagehands; setting up concerts. Good work if you can get it.
Just think, it all started 58 years ago right here in ‘The Ville’ and if I have any say in it, it will end in ‘The Ville’!”
We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute you for everything that you do to make Somerville a better place.