Man versus Ball:  Q&A with Jimmy Dunn, star of CBS’ The McCarthy’s

Comedian Jimmy Dunn. Photo courtesy of
Comedian Jimmy Dunn. Photo courtesy of
Comedian Jimmy Dunn. Photo courtesy of

Jimmy Dunn is one of the stars of The McCarthy’s, which airs every Thursday on CBS. He plays a diehard, Boston sports fan. It’s art imitating life because Jimmy is that guy. Jimmy, a veteran stand-up comedian, took a few minutes to discuss his new show, the new sport he’s creating and gambling on shuffleboard, among other topics.

You worked for the Red Sox. What was that experience like?

I was their travel correspondent. I covered a Giants game from McCovey Cove in a kayak, ate BBQ with Boog, got punched by a woman at Yankee Stadium, all while watching the 2004 Sox win it all!

What was your sport of choice growing up? What’s the highest level you took it to?

I played baseball and basketball. I got cut from my high school team as a freshman, so I played in a church league for St Margaret’s. Our city had a great church league. I never tried out for the high school team again. I was having too much fun in the church league.

Have you had a chance to shoot hoops or do anything remotely athletic with your co-stars?

We have a court on set, the home gym of The Cardinal Hennigan Saints. Joey and Tyler are both great basketball players. My game is mostly trash talking.

Your character on The McCarthy’s is a former athlete. How did Sean’s athletic career go?

Sean was a two-time Boston Globe basketball all-star. But that was many sandwiches and beers ago.

What’s tougher memorizing lines for the show or hitting a 90 mph fastball?

Fastball. You can be a little off with your lines and still get a big laugh. And I’m not afraid to get hit by a script.

A lot of people complained this year that baseball games are too long. You agree? Any ideas to quicken them up?

Agree. The game would be a lot quicker if you couldn’t step out of the box. Or if you do step out, the pitcher can throw at you. If you get hit when you’re out of the box, you’re out, and out of the game. It’s a baseball-dodgeball hybrid I’ve been working on. So far, Bud Selig hasn’t returned my emails.

For March Madness, are you one of those guys that keeps a bracket?

Yes, but I choose the teams based on the comedy gigs I’ve done in their cities. I’ve got University of Maine winning it all this year. Hello, Bangor!

Fantasy sports, yay or nay?

I quit. It had changed the way I watched the game. I found myself screaming, Throw it to anyone but the back-up tight end. Damn it!

You wrote a hilarious book about your days and nights doing stand-up on the cruise ships. What’s the most popular sport – and I use that word loosely – on the ships?

Shuffleboard for cash. I supplemented my income hustling senior citizens. I’m not proud of those days. Or Irv Shapiro’s Rolex.

You’re a dinner party with four Boston sports stars – a Red Sox, a Bruin, a Celtic and a Patriot. Who would you choose those individuals – past or present – to be?

Derek Sanderson for the hanging-with-Namath-chasing-babes stories. Big Papi, because I hear he’s a great chef. Robert
Parrish to bring the salad and Rob Gronkowski because, who doesn’t want to have a few beers with Gronk?

Jon Hart is the author of Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy And His Extraordinary Sports Adventures,