If readers recognize Jimmy Skinner’s name, it’s probably from his work performing standup comedy in Winnipeg and across the country for the past five years. Perhaps they’ve heard his voice on the podcast The Reel Debaters, which he co-hosts.
But if you grew up in the Interlake, you might also recognize his surname from Skinner’s hot-dog restaurant, which his family founded in 1929.
“I say I’m the heir to the Skinner’s hot-dog fortune,” he says, “which isn’t really something that exists.”
Even though the storied food spot has passed to other owners over the years, Skinner’s West Broadway home is still peppered with little reminders of family history. Among the many images evoking Seinfeld and The Simpsons, the eagle-eyed visitor can spot memorabilia from the restaurant or from Skinner’s grandfather and namesake, the legendary general manager and Stanley Cup-winning head coach for the Detroit Red Wings.
“It’s weird for me, because the most interesting things about me are things that are about my family,” Skinner says with a smile. “And I can live with that.”
Aside from the family heirlooms and pop-culture ephemera, the home Skinner shares with partner Zoee Wittmann is a cozy space with a DIY art atmosphere, featuring plenty of original wall-paint designs created by Wittmann herself.
“Zoee felt the beige (wall paint) was a little plain, so we went for something a little more fun,” Skinner says. “Don’t tell our landlord.”
“We’ve got my grandfather’s Cup-winning team at the top. Also his induction into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. My great-grandfather is down at the bottom. A wood-burned Blinky by Zoee. She’s very proud of that, and rightly so.”
‘A blast from the past’ (left)
“When I go (to Skinner’s), I get to have dinner with pictures of my dead family members on the wall. For other people to have that, they have to go home.”
Regular Sized Rudy (right)
“Her front legs are a lot smaller than her back legs, so it looks like she’s flexing one.”
Spooky breakfast nook (left)
“We picked (the painting) up at Value Village, and then we sent it to local comedian and artist Jesse Bercier. He added the Mothman and the tombstones.”
Custom paint job (right)
“I just think it makes the apartment nicer and easier to spend time in. I can’t imagine whoever moves in after us will want to paint it over.”
“I have to have a TV in my bedroom, or I can’t fall asleep. I need my white noise. And obviously I can’t sleep without my MF Doom gladiator mask.
“We try to support local artists as much as possible. Zoee painted the Moe Szyslak on the wall. The “Stay sexy & don’t get murdered” is by J.D. Renaud.”
Published in Volume 78, Number 01 of The Uniter (September 7, 2023)