When Jimmy Dunn went to work in his family’s painting business, the first thing he learned was that he didn’t want to be a painter.
“I knew I wasn’t climbing ladders with my dad,” he said. “I painted the steeple at St. Margaret’s Church when I was 15. I got attacked by hornets.”
But Dunn learned a few things from that job in Beverly that would relate directly to his career as a comic.
“My dad was a great storyteller,” he said. “He used to sit down with buddies after work over a beer. They’d tell the same stories over and over, and they got funnier every time, which is what comics do.”
Dunn has been polishing his delivery for 25 years in appearances on Comedy Central, CMT and NESN, and in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York, on stages that he has shared with the likes of Robin Williams, Denis Leary and Chris Rock.
Tomorrow night, he performs at Larcom Theatre in Beverly in a show called “Thanksgiving Leftovers,” a mix of Dunn’s new and old material that also will be recorded for a CD.
“I figured the day after Thanksgiving, everybody’s going to be back in Beverly and have nothing to do,” he said.
Dunn grew up “in a tiny apartment behind the fire station in Beverly Farms” and attended the former Beverly Farms Elementary School and Beverly High.
After painting but before he started telling jokes for a living, he tried several other lines of work, including training as a teller at Beverly Savings Bank.
“My first day, there was some confusion, and they thought I was coming from another branch,” Dunn said. “They put me out in the drive-through window. The traffic started backing up.”
He also worked at the North Shore Music Theatre for about a year, answering phones in the ticket office.