Ligotti's spotlight opportunity came from a New Hampshire cigar store owner named David Garofalo, whose plan was to sell tobacco online using Ligotti's impassioned spiels about topics ranging from national security to credit cards. In little time, The Guy from Boston went viral; his brand was cemented when, in 2007, he triumphantly returned to YouTube after being censored by the site for three months. But the partners fell out over royalties earned from Ligotti's television engagements, and their relationship officially ended in 2008, when a federal district court judge ruled that Garofalo owned no part of The Guy from Boston trademark or moniker.
It's no surprise that the legal system found Ligotti and his alter-ego to be one in the same. In addition to his being a true-to-form gilded goumba, by the middle of that year he'd become a fixture on Fox News, where host Neil Cavuto regularly featured him sounding off on buzz issues. He also landed a field-correspondent stint with Fox 25 in Boston; despite "not knowing shit about what the hell [he] was supposed to do," Ligotti reported live from the New Hampshire presidential primary and Red Sox opening day, among other major events.
Primed for television, Ligotti was called to TheTonight Show in January 2008. He partied with Jay Leno after taping, but the real rewards came soon after. By April, he was tapped for his current WTKK slot, and even landed a literary agent. Though he has yet to finalize a title, Ligotti says his upcoming book might be called something like "Hey, America! Why not save up to buy that fucking TV instead of getting it on credit?"
Ligotti has been relatively quiet since his equal-opportunity election-time bashings of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and John McCain. The consummate gadfly has held down his Saturday program and sporadic Fox & Friends appearances, but spent most of 2009 handling personal-health issues and caring for his 14-year-old son. Now that's about to change. The Guy from Boston, on a diet, is convinced there is a megalomaniacal socialist in the White House, and he's returning in full-force to rock the boat.
Vote for Joe?
For the final hour of their show — before Ligotti joins the Phoenix for shrimp tempura — Joe and Huggy answer calls about Kevin Smith, the Clerks director who, just days before, was removed from Southwest flight because of his weight. Ligotti calls for a boycott of the airline, and assumes his recurring role as spokesman for the obese. "When you start throwing people off of planes," he says, "you bet your ass it's a civil-rights issue."
"Joe is always up for a friendly argument — especially when it comes to politics," says Bergman. "But the one part of Joe that's bigger than his mouth and girth is his heart. He may have the greatest case of ADD I've ever seen, so I think that makes it easy for him to juggle so many facets of his personality."
No doubt, certain facets of Ligotti's personality contradict his teddy-bear side, as The Guy from Boston draws decisively intolerant lines across his platform. On Iraq and Afghanistan: "Nine years is not enough time to change 5000 years of thinking"; on the affordability of health care: "I'd like to drive a pimped-out Escalade with the 24-inch wheels, but I can't afford it"; on illegal immigrants: "Don't even get me fucking started about those people."