Direct from its Broadway run, and starring Saturday Night Live and HBO writer-comedian Colin Quinn, Long Story Short: A One-Man Comedy Manifesto continues through July 10 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
Directed by Quinn’s friend and comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld, this satirical production explores a history of the world in 75 minutes that proves throughout human history, the joke has always been on us.
According to Quinn, “I wanted to show that no matter how much time goes by, nothing really changes. People never really change. So in this play I could be talking about people in Philadelphia today or in ancient Greece. The only thing that has changed is that we may have gotten more sophisticated in our technology, but our behavior and our emotions have stayed exactly the same.”
Maybe so, but Quinn has certainly evolved over the years. Born in Brooklyn 52 years ago, Quinn’s gravelly Brooklyn accent and mannerisms became a trademark of his performances, as did his political commentaries, working-class humor and cynical delivery. Today he is known for tackling contemporary societal issues with satirical humor.
Growing up, Quinn said, he gave no serious thought to becoming a comedian, although he admitted he was the quintessential class clown. “I was the class cut-up, the wise guy who sat on the stoop making people laugh, the one with ADD who never shut up,” he said.
In the back of his mind loomed the idea of becoming a comedian, but when he was growing up there weren’t many comics around. “There was George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Robert Klein and David Brenner. That’s it. Only about four in the whole world who were successfully doing standup, so it was really hard to picture yourself joining those ranks,” he said.
Instead, Quinn worked as a bartender, which, he insisted, was just the right job for him to eventually go into show business.
“One night, I went to an open-mike night and fell in love with performing,” Quinn said. “I kept bartending while working on my routines. Bartending was the greatest job for a comedian, because I worked from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and wouldn’t go on until 1 in the morning, so I had time to make money and practice my comedy.”
In 1984, Quinn got his real start in standup, and by 1987 he became co-host of the MTV game show Remote Control, which also featured performances by Adam Sandler and Denis Leary. Quinn remained the show’s co-host for the next three years, and later wrote and performed in the popular comedic short Going Back to Brooklyn along with Ben Stiller.
Indeed, much of Quinn’s early career focused on writing as well as standup comedy, including a stint as a writer for the TV show In Living Color. In 1995, Quinn was hired by Saturday Night Live, working as a writer and a featured player until the beginning of the 1996 season, when he became a full cast member.
After SNL, Quinn went on to produce Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and later starred in his first one-man show, Sanctifying Grace, off-Broadway, which was later produced as Colin Quinn — An Irish Wake. More recently, he was seen in Sandler’s comedy film Grown Ups. Today, Quinn is happily touring his Long Story Short.
ldquo;I really like doing thematic stand-up — something with a beginning and an end,” he explained. “Maybe because in that way people pay more attention to me. Besides, I love writing and then performing the things I have written about. I also love the feeling I get when I’m doing standup. The laughs are what every comedian loves. And until that stops you feel good — really good.” ••
For times and ticket information, call 215-985-0420.