MY INTERVIEW WITH COMEDIAN COLIN QUINN
Like the Grateful Dead once sang, “You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn!” That song was about an Eskimo. I don’t know if Colin Quinn has any Eskimo blood in him, but it’s not too presumptuous to say his comedy is mighty. You can tell from the accolades he’s getting for his new Broadway hit show, Long Story Short. The New York Times and New York Post called it “Hilarious!” New York Magazine called it “Brisk and Seinfeldian”. That’s no surprise, considering it’s directed by Jerry Seinfeld. It’s not often a stand-up comic has a show on Broadway. But this isn’t just a stand-up show and Colin isn’t just a stand-up comic. Long Story Short is a comedic chronicling of the history of the world. Particularly, empires and their eventual demise. It’s comedy, commentary and satire rolled into one. And I’m glad to say Birmingham is lucky enough to have Mr. Quinn bring his show to town!
Long Story Short will be performed at the Alys Stephens Center on Friday January 20th.
I’ll be there and I suggest you be there too. Alys Stephens is far from Manhattan, but it’s a great place for a Broadway show. They’ve got big beautiful theatres and stages. Plenty of room for Colin to sprint around and do cartwheels as he talks about history. (Disclaimer: I can neither confirm nor deny that Colin Quinn is capable of or willing to do cartwheels during his show or at any other time.)
Colin was gracious enough to give me an interview before he came to town. We talked about everything from my favorite show he hosted on Comedy Central called Tough Crowd to his time on SNL. Most of the interview, interestingly enough, was us exchanging recipes. Colin gave me a great one for Apple Brown Betty and I taught him the best way to blanch brussel sprouts. Oh, fun! Since there’s not enough room to talk about all the food we discussed, I’ll just keep it to the comedy.
Chris Davis: Welcome to Birmingham.
Colin Quinn: Thanks!
CD: Alys Stephens is cool. I think you’ll be pleased with it. Mo Rocca just performed there.
CQ: He did? What was he doing?
CD: Q&A, trivia, showed clips from CBS Sunday Morning. He knows the capital of every country.
CQ: I know the capital of 10 countries.
CD: Name them.
CQ: I’ll have to Google them.
CD: Google? You’re a charlatan Colin Quinn. A charlatan!
CQ: Well ya know... I have a loose definition of knowledge.
CD:A lot of people knew you first from MTV’s Remote Control. Adam Sandler was on there with you. What’s it like with you two working on Remote Control and working on the movie Grown-Ups?
CQ: On Remote Control, I gave the orders.
CD: Ha ha ha. Yes you did! To me, you were the real power on Remote Control. I thought, no one should cross you.
CQ: No, nobody crossed me. Ha ha!
CD: Later you went on to Saturday Night Live. How was your time on SNL? And be careful how you answer because Lorne Michaels can have us both murdered.
CQ: Well, my time on SNL was good. It was really fun to be working in the city, it was like a dream come true but it was hard. Still the greatest gig ever.
CD: What were the pros and cons of working on SNL?
CQ: The pros is that you really get to be creative in a way that you don’t get to be a lot of times in your life. The cons... it happens so fast and it’s over before you know it. Everybody feels like they’re jockying for position the whole time. There’s a lot of people trying to get their stuff on so it’s tough.
CD: Now, Long Story Short. From what I’ve seen on HBO, I love it already. How’d this show come about?
CQ: Just from wanting to do something different with comedy. Trying to figure out the world by doing stand-up. We’re just covering a bigger subject than normal.
CD: How would you best describe the show to someone who doesn’t know about it?
CQ: It’s like covering the whole history of the world in 75 minutes. Figuring out why we keep behaving the same way and why every empire fell and how it’s obviously a warning for us.
CD: How was it working with Jerry Seinfeld? Did he keep calling you a “close talker” or say you had “man hands”?
CQ: I wish I had the “man hands”, Ya kiddin me?
CD: Ha! Hopefully we’ll meet after the show, and we’ll compare hand sizes. Are you a political guy? Do you bring politics into your act?
CQ: Sure I do. I always bring politics in. I wouldn’t say I’ve seen any brilliant insights come out of politics really.
CD: Who was your favorite presidential hopeful during the debates?
CQ: I liked Herman Cain for a while when he was saying, hey I didn’t do it, meanwhile every girl is like, no you did. People said he created a sexually uncomfortable environment during a conference at a corporate weekend. That’s what those conferences are supposed to be about! Sexually... uncomfortable... environments.
CD: You were on MTV. Alan Hunter, one of the original MTV VJ’s is from Birmingham and lives here now. On the first season of MTV’s The Real World, there was a young girl from Birmingham named Julie. You’re all from MTV, and you’ll all be in town at the same time. I think you know what I’m gonna say. You need to start a detective agency!
CQ: Why not!
CD: The three of you solving crimes! Are you the leader?
CQ: No, Alan Hunter’s the leader. He’s like the rational one. Even when he was a VJ he seemed like a rational guy.
CD: Alan? Rational? (Just kidding! Much like Lorne Michaels, Alan Hunter can have anyone murdered.)
CQ: We solve a lot of crimes where we flash back to old MTV footage when me and Alan Hunter both had mullets.
CD: Is Julie just on weapons? Handling AK 47’s and glocks?
Well there you have it. With the exception of some kick-ass casserole recipes, that’s how the interview went. He was a great, very down to earth guy and I appreciate him taking time out of his day to talk to me. See you all at the show. And if you need a crime solved that night, don’t hesitate to call on the MTV Mystery Squad!