By Cary Shuman
Joe Ligotti sat on the coach on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but Ligotti, known far and wide as “The Guy From Boston,” isn’t sitting still.
In fact, the charismatic and cigar-chomping Ligotti has been making people stand up and take notice of his gig as the opinionated co-host of The Joe and Huggy Show that broadcasts Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 96.9 FM WTKK.
Ligotti hosts the show with veteran radio personality Lawrence “Huggy” Bergman.
Their opinions differ on just about every topic – which makes for some interesting and provocative discussions, much to the delight of listeners. Their on-air battles can be so contentious – yet entertaining to listeners – Bergman doesn’t know whether to hug Ligotti or hit him.
What’s it like sharing a microphone with The Guy From Boston?
“It’s one of the most challenging, at times frustrating, but mostly rewarding and the best time of my career,” said Bergman. “Working with Joe keeps me on my toes. He is passionate and I like that. He cares. It’s never boring. It’s always exciting. It’s always moving. It’s always changing. And even though he and I argue and may not agree from time to time, I find it always cathartic after I leave here with Joe. ”
Described by friends as a great guy with a big heart, Ligotti is enjoying his weekly forum on WTKK. He’s humbled by his success in the media savvy Boston market.
“I thank program director Grace Blazer for this opportunity,” said Ligotti. “I pinch myself. Here I am on the same microphone with Michael Graham and Jay Severin and Michelle McPhee, some of the largest talents in Boston. I just can’t believe it. I’ve been ready for this since I was 8 years old and looking in my full-length mirror and talking into a hairbrush. It’s a privilege to talk to Boston and New England.”
Ligotti is a true Bostonian. He has worked at Logan Airport for 25 years and has family in Winthrop and East Boston. He graduated from Shawsheen Tech in Billerica. His father, Joe, is the clerk magistrate of the Hingham District Court.
His in-depth knowledge of the Boston and national political scene makes his observations all the more relevant and funny. He’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind, even if it means ruffling the feathers of people he knows on a first-name basis. He’s the new Dick Flavin, the witty but eye-opening pundit who makes people smile but also think about life in Massachusetts and beyond.
John Parker, radio producer, said Ligotti’s enthusiasm for politics is infectious and he looks forward to hearing his irreverent look at current events.
“I think Joe’s great – he’s smart and funny and a blast to work with,” said Parker. “I’ll always look forward to hearing what he has to say every week. It takes a lot of guts for anyone to get on the air and speak their mind the way they do. There are going to be people who call in and agree and disagree with Joe and be very vocal about it. I have nothing but respect for Joe because he gets up there and does it, and does it without apology.”
Ligotti resonates well with the common man.
“I think he’s very down to earth, and people feel likes he’s speaking with them and not down to them – and he’s one of them,” said Parker.
How has Ligotti adapted to being recognized in the street and his rising fame as a Boston celebrity?
“I’m excited about what’s happened in my career, but I don’t understand it,” said Ligotti. “I’m humbled by it. Sometimes, I go to an event or a parade and people are waving and calling out my name. The reception I get is heartwarming.
He describes his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as surreal.
“I was in a tow truck when I got the call that they wanted me to be a guest on the Tonight Show,” said Ligotti. “I couldn’t believe it when it actually happened. He [Leno] treated me great out there. All the guys [at Logan] told me they watched it. People still come up to me and tell me that they saw me on the show.”
While he’s making waves in Boston’s competitive talk radio market, Ligotti may be considering another arena in which to make people stand up and take notice – politics.
“A lot of people have approached me about running for office, and I would love to help this country come back a little bit to the traditionalist type of views,” said Ligotti. “It would be an honor to represent a district in Massachusetts. I would bring a lot of fresh ideas and the knowledge that I have about being a street guy and a working guy.”
His future in politics on the backburner for now, Joe Ligotti seems to be having the time of his life as The Guy From Boston.