A Masshole in Full

If you grew up here, you know a Robbie Concannon: Tough. Funny. Big-hearted. Hard-partying. Frequently flirting with danger, or incarceration, or worse. But Robbie Concannon dodged the fate most guys like him meet. The unlikely tale of how the craziest kid from the neighborhood turned himself into a bona fide folk hero.

robbie concannon

Photograph by Matt Hoyle

The first time I saw Robbie Concannon’s penis was in the early ’90s at a party on the top floor of a triple-decker in Southie.

It was one of those kill-me-it’s-so-hot summer nights, and you can plug in only so many air conditioners before the fuse blows and the house goes dark. When the lights came back on, I noticed the room wasn’t as bright as before; the lamp next to me had a pair of shorts covering it. Before I had time to think it through, a lean, curly-haired kid in his early twenties was standing there wearing nothing but sneakers and a smile. “Do you want to see the terrier?” he asked a group of young ladies. It was a rhetorical question, because he immediately turned away from the girls, tucked his junk between his legs, and bent over. So this was Robbie Concannon, the crazy kid from Dorchester I’d heard all about.

When I was growing up in Southie, there were really only three things we ever talked about: girls, sports, and some crazy stunt some kid pulled. There were lots of kids pulling crazy stunts in the Irish neighborhoods—that place unto itself centered in Southie and reaching into Charlestown, large swaths of Dorchester, and pockets of the South Shore. Hollywood has done a great deal to mythologize the Boston Irish Guy, building stock characters whose motivation is booze and drugs and crime. But the things that motivate the real legends in the neighborhood are far more benign—a simple desire to make your friends laugh, to entertain the troops, to be talked about. A guy’s reputation hinges on delivering bits of comic chaos. In this world of larger-than-life characters, Robbie Concannon was as big as they come. Every story about him seemed to top the last one.

“Did you hear about Robbie riding a bike into a party down the Cape naked with a mask and snorkel on?”

“I heard he rode a moped up the stairs of a party naked.”

“Sully told me he crashed his Camry into a sand trap on the golf course at Franklin Park.”

“You know he got kicked out of BC High.”

“And Providence College.”

“O’Connell told me he jumped out of the second-floor window at one of the Mods at BC on Marathon Monday, naked with a spaghetti strainer on his head. Then he went back into the party and jumped out four more times with the crowd chanting, ‘Robbie, Robbie, Robbie.'”

“I heard he trashed the airport in Bermuda and got kicked off the island.”

“I heard he was in a bar in town the other night, walking around on all fours like a dog and pretending to pee on people’s legs. He ended up having to fight the whole place. And he almost won.”

Robbie was a half-dozen years older than me, and I didn’t know him personally, but I’d occasionally seen him doing his thing. Once, I was hanging with friends on East Broadway when a car came flying down the hill from the courthouse. It was on the wrong side of the street and it looked as if nobody was at the wheel. Robbie had his head hanging out the passenger-side window and he was screaming. He screeched up in front of us, and when we looked inside the vehicle we saw his penis, and the fact that he was driving with his left foot. (The car was second only to the penis as Robbie’s favorite comedic prop.)

Driving from the passenger side was a signature Robbie move, as was playing with the radio and pretending not to notice the people he was driving toward, a trick that would send pedestrians diving into snowbanks. He also enjoyed pulling over on busy roads to do pushups or jumping jacks in the nude.

Robbie and his crew were all very good hockey players, arguably the greatest group to come out of the city; they were also world-class ball-busters who dragged menace in their wake. “Robbie didn’t hang out with any saints,” says his mother, Lorraine. As Brendan Walsh, who was part of that group and is now a Boston cop, points out, “The scariest guy in the room is the guy who doesn’t give a fuck.” None of them gave a fuck. They’d show up at a party, steal all the beer, beat up all the boyfriends, and take all the girls. Their actions were impossible to condone, and impossible not to laugh at. They were the older kids, and my friends and I idolized them the way the younger kids always will.

If you grew up around here, I’m certain you know someone like Robbie Concannon. And you probably know that what passes for funny at 18 can seem pathetic at 38. Those crazy kids—the truth is that a lot of them don’t turn out so well. The motivation has a way of changing, and the drugs and the booze and the fighting quickly get problematic. The cliché is that many end up dead or in jail, and there’s a reason it’s a cliché. I drifted away from Southie, went off to college, and stopped hearing Robbie Concannon stories. Last I knew, he was playing hockey in the minor leagues. If I’m being honest, I always feared the next Robbie Concannon story I heard would be the last.

But not long ago, I caught wind of what sounded like the craziest tale yet. Robbie was still nuts and still getting naked, according to the grapevine, but had become a full-blown celebrity in, of all places, Charleston, South Carolina. I poked around and found, among other things, a MySpace page where a woman lists her heroes as “Jesus Christ, Robbie Concannon, and the men/women of the military.” “He’s nearly worshipped in Charleston” is how the local Post and Courier has described that genteel city’s fascination with the Boston kid they nicknamed “Coocs.” Beyond wondering how it all happened, I got to thinking about whether Robbie was the same guy we’d adored in the neighborhood so many years ago. I figured I had to go see for myself.


  • Anonymous

    Great story about a good kid from Dorchester who made good. I laughed the whole time reading it .Should have more stories by this writer as he makes you feel the whole story.Captivating and entertaining do more with this Billy Baker .He has a knack for making you feel the story.

  • sandra

    He is my nephew and a great kid glad to see he is still crazy as ever. My sister Lorraine is a saint and I Love that kid. he always made family gathering funny and not boring

  • Kenny

    Growing up and getting to know Robbie and his Dorchester crew, this article is spot on. He was the ring leader, occassionally over the top, but always the one making people keel over laughing. Great article.

  • the general public

    for every one of the stories on how this guy is "bigger than life" or whatnot, there's probably about 10 from the other side. people who didn't know 'robbie' because he was just some random thug who pulled up in a car and beat them down because they happened to be walking home alone. people who didn't know him by name but only by him ruining their night to the delight of his other wasted, reckless clones who called him friend. i'm sure there are a large number of people who live in the non-insulated world of reality who are glad that he went to pasture in charleston. good riddance. all this article illustrates is that being a dick who likes to show his dick can make you a legend, just as long as you develop a big enough fan club along the way.

  • sandra

    I think that you missed the concept of the story It shows how people can change and make something out of life and himself. It is not all about him being a dick and having a fan club. It is about how he has grown up and making life work

  • Lorraine

    In reference to article "posted by the general public" Just what was expected as I read this article. There are those who loved him and those that hated him, there was no in between. He was a city kid whose address might have been Cedar Junction, Walpole or Cedar Grove Cemetery instead of Charleston, SC. I'm glad it's SC. Don't think Billy Baker was trying to portray him as a legend, you missed the point.

  • DJ

    I knew of Robbie when I was at BC High in the late 80's and watched him and Bosco win the whole thing at the garden when I was a Junior. Later at PC I got to know Robby personally and observed his antics firsthand many nights. The guy was a loveable lunatic just as this article portrays. Did he bust some jaws? Absolutely…but most of the time the guy or more likely guys he was fighting were looking for a fight….and he always gave it to them. Great to see he's having a great life in Charleston. Cheers Robbie! I'll drop into Trio if I ever make it down there.

  • scott

    good thing you didn't call me billy… I have pics to prove the nonsense… Cheesedoodle

  • Brian
  • Tom

    I played hockey against him both in College and the Minors and he was a very funny tough as nails kid. Would of loved to play on his team. Glad to see him doing well.

  • elbert

    'general public' why so bitter? did concannon fuck your girlfriend or slap you?

  • cara

    thats exactly what I was thinking that he either fucked your girl or beat the shit out of you

  • Mike

    Nice piece Billy. I'll never forget him doing naked pull ups (with skates on) in the UMass Boston locker room before a Bosco practice. Coach McHale walked in mid pullup and got a face full of Robbie's junk…Priceless

  • sarah

    General Public-here in Charleston we are more than happy he has landed here. Your loss- Our gain. Phenomenal article, this is the kid I remember from high school- his energy and ambition is more than welcome in Charleston.

  • brian

    Can't stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!Was there for a lot. The world needs more people with a heart like Rob's. Great job Billy. South Boston.

  • Anonymous

    Great story Billy, I am happy to hear and see the pictures of Robbie and see he is doing good. The people who know him know he has a heart of gold and I am glad and know he will never chang,good for you Robbie ,See you if you come back home .

  • The

    Could some one please tell robbie Concannon there are no shower towels in the Steelheads locker room..

  • Brian

    Billy great work…..hope all is well. Connie long time…how've ya been brother?

  • Stephanie

    I have loved Robbie since the first time I met him.I believe that was at Jared Bednar's wedding……I didn't believe it when my husband told me he did not drink. My husband played hockey with him, and he has always been very kind to me. He was in our wedding, and if I can remember correctly…he didn't let us down that evening either as he ran naked through the parking lot of the reception. Whenever I talk about my wedding with friends of mine…they say "remember when your husband ran across the parking lot naked?"….I just laugh and say "oh that was Coocs". He has been a great friend to my husband and he has a huge heart……..love ya RobbieStephanie

  • Daniel

    I lived with Robbie in Charleston and we played on the same line. Don't let him fool ya as a tough guy, I had to protect him all the time on and off yhe ice. He'd be the first guy in though if anything happened and would drive you home late night no matter how far you lived since he was sober. Shocked a few Canadians at my wedding when he streaked the lot naked, Still calls routinely to see how things are and when I'm bringing the fam to town. We always have a place to stay but I never do cause i don't need my wife and kids seeing him naked. Great guy big heart!!

  • Anonymous

    What about Mason and Dixon those crazy mutts, they are part of the story.

  • Chuck

    I went to PC with Robbie and he was always a welcomed highlight at 100 Eaton street anytime of the day and always at night time. Every now and then I wonder what happened to Robbie after he left PC so it was a great thrill to read such an in-depth update on the infectious personality of the kid we called CoCo…Great Job Billy !

  • steve

    I just finished reading the Robbie C article and I am still smiling.Billy baker did a great job in describing Robbie in a way the made you feel like you knew him.I would have liked to see him doing some of his antics.His personality has taken him to a great place.

  • Paul

    Great article… General Public, you ever think that maybe you need to lighten up, buddy, seeing as you're the only person who had a negative thing to say???

  • Ashleigh

    I was at PC with Robbie, this article brought me back and couldn't stop laughing while reading it! Pretty sure I was at some of those parties when he was sans clothing. Happy to hear he is still making people laugh.

  • Keepit

    What a bunch of leeches. Why celebrate someone who define his night by getting in fights? Yeah, great hero. I bet the guy buying a sandwihc "deserved it" like some idiot commented. You folks fawn over him like a young girl and Miley Cyrus. Picture this a$$ in a bar where you're trying to have a good night. We've all been there and been disgusted by the egotistical insecure jerks who define their night by "bustin heads dude!" And the nudity is sorta questionable?

  • Donny

    I remember the Savin Hill Stickball Tourney when Robbie rode his bike into the middle of the courts naked in front of at least 100 people. One of the girls who didn't know him didn't like it so they had some words, her brother didn't like that so next thing you know they are going toe to toe and Robbie had nothing on…Played baseball and street hockey with Robbie in Savin Hill and always had fun times.

  • Anonymous

    I was on his hockey line at NMH, great player, funny, funny kid. My mom left a tin can of brownies as a care package and Connie Mac removed one and left a little present for my roomate and me. One of my favorite guys of all time -

  • Skippy

    I'm gonna be in the minority here with a few of the other posters, since this board is full of kiss-asses. It's too easy to pass off the many recipients of Concannon punches as guys "who deserved it," when in fact there were plenty of innocents who had a night ruined or worse so Rob could get some cheap laughs. He'd hit anyone who looked at him the wrong way, guy or gal, and he was a master of the sucker punch. I saw him throw a rock into a crowd of people in college because he thought it would be funny- he was known for brainless, reckless feats of idiocy. And while the nakedness is kinda funny in small doses, it has a way of getting old and offensive quick. You're lying if you say you'd let your sister or daughter date this chump. One more thing- no way this guy stopped drinking in his early 20s; you don't live cleanly for most of your adult life and look like that. He has the mug of a 55 year old- Keith Richards looks younger.

  • BuckRogers

    What a heart warming tale of a sensitive kid who gained some confidence through hockey and then made a life out of intimidating and bullying others. A two dollar thug.

  • jay

    In order to understand him you have to have grown up in the city in the 80's. Those of you who are offended I bet never ventured into Dorchester in 1988. Skippy I bet you have had your ass kicked many times. Rob Concannon was not perfect but he was a good man. I've known him my whole life and have watched him transform himself. This is a transformational story of hope that many kids in the city need to read.

  • Puffy

    A story about an egotistical punk who didn't land in jail. Not sure he deserves any more attention then what he has spent his whole life trying to get already. I guess I just didn't know him well enough.

  • Greg

    Went to Bosco with him, and he was a great guy. Glad he's doing well for himself. He could have gotten into trouble, but he turned out OK – as so many in that Bosco class could have.

  • fred

    I grew up in a Cambridge/Somerville and now live in DOT and thought this article was HYSTERICAL. I read it Sunday morning and haven’t laughed so hard reading an article in a long time. I grew up with some guys like this and also had friends who new people like this. Well done.

  • Frank

    Softball article that that seems entertaining now, an insulting attempt to tear at heart strings, but trust me, here's how it would go:

    An innocent kid or kids would be on the T or in a sub shop or a bar, and some punk would flip his baseball cap off, he'd go to pick it up, someone would kick it across the floor (these "tough" guys never traveled alone, always in packs), start tossing his cap around or kick him over while he tried to pick it up, then the runt of the gang would take a swing, and the minute he swung back they all jumped in and kicked your ass.

    Or you'd walk past them on a street and a rock or a beer bottle would come flying at you from behind…turn around, and you'd get the "what's your problem pu$$y boy," and with the protection of their "crew" you had no option but to walk (or run) away.

    The overwhelming "support" of the guy, is just the stupid "code" that prohibits anyone from crossing their own.

    The whole naked antics thing was just a way for him to see

  • Frank

    if someone had a problem with it, and when they did, they paid the price by getting ganged up by the spineless "crew." And trust me, if he pulled this many stunts, 99% of the time he hightailed it out of there just in time for someone else to get blamed.

    Just calling it as I saw it.

  • Dot Kid

    The only thing this article is missing is a mention of Robbie terrorizing Boston Cable Access TV call-in shows. He was always hilarious. Glad to hear he's doing well.

  • Richie

    I met Robbie in 1998 in Norfolk,Va before a Stingray/Admirals game.In the restaurant he went out of his way for my 3year old son. We still talk to each
    other and my family and I have visited and stayed with him,(never saw him naked,Thank God) Good hockey player but..a BETTER PERSON. Article was great.

  • Chris

    Did you ever hear the story down in Chinatown when a group of guys wanted to fight and we had just came from a Hockey game their was about 5 of us and 10 of them so we opened the trunk of the car and started to play hockey again right their in Chinatown, only thing we use them as pucks, good night no great night, or the night Conny came up to Dorchester from PC with two girls sisters and the two fought over him all night.. Conny wants knowing from no one just a laugh. God Bless

  • RC

    This article glorifies terrible behavior by a terrible example of a human being! He is a bi-polar prick who cheats on his wife any chance he gets. Rob also owns a bar called Trio Club. If you’re a girl and want to get sexually assaulted, Trio is your place. If you’re into drugs (especially cocaine) Trio is your place. If you want rude bartenders, nasty bathrooms and an owner whose a giant douche…Trio is your place. I hope he gets what he deserves. Rot in hell.

  • Guest

    I remember the Concannons from Dorchester. when we moved into St. Marks, their 4 year old pissed on my 3 year old daughter’s foot. oh yes,they were legendary….

  • Christine Maguire

    I remember the Concannons from Dorchester. when we moved into St. Marks from St. Brendan’s, their 4 year old pissed on my 3 year old daughter’s foot. oh yes,they were legendary….