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An Interview With Colin Quinn

By Gary Wien


Politics has always played a role in Colin Quinn's comedy, but never more so than in his current show, "Unconstitutional", which makes a stop at The Newton Theatre on July 26. In his latest one-man show, Quinn takes a look at how the Constitution influences the national character of America regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Quinn was a veteran of the New York comedy club circuit when he landed a spot as co-host of MTV's Remote Control game show. That run led to five seasons on Saturday Night Live where he wrote segments, acted, and eventually stepped in as anchor of Weekend Update. He's since had his own show on Comedy Central ("Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn"), had roles in films like "A Night at the Roxbury" and "Grown Ups", and brought two separate one-man shows to Broadway ("Colin Quinn— An Irish Wake" and "Colin Quinn — Long Story Short").


How does Unconstitutional work? Do you go step by step through the Constitution?
I go through all of the articles and what they mean to me basically. It's more like highlighting one, two, and three, obviously, and all of the Bill of Rights. It's the psychological and philosophical journey of our country. My whole philosophy on the Constitution is that it's so ingrained in us we don't even know that we believe in it. It's just part of our personality as Americans.

It's an interesting document that both political parties tend to twist and turn to their liking.
Yeah, I mean that's the truth of the matter. It's one of those documents where interpretation is interpretation... it's the Court's interpretation. That's what you're getting, so, of course it's going to be a problem.

The country is obviously quite divided, but has anything surprised you along this tour?
No, I feel like the big thing is that people don't like the division. I was talking to my friend about this earlier today. I was saying that this country should break up. It almost feels like ‘why are we doing this? Why are we still trying to get along as a country when obviously we have great philosophical differences about what this country should be?' And the differences aren't going away.

It's like we've got a city with a good side and a bad side and you wonder why it's one city.
Exactly! And the only people who would get lost in the divorce is a place like Austin. They would have to pay the price because they're in Texas and they are a blue state city in a red state. Somebody always gets hurt when the parents break up...

Politics has always been the background of what you're doing. Were you interested in politics growing up? Did your family discuss politics in the house?
Yeah, we were kind of political. We definitely read a lot. My relatives would talk about politics. They'd all sit there and smoke and drink and philosophize. But it was said in a very cynical kind of way.

As someone generally described as an Irish-American, were Irish politics discussed?
Oh yeah, we all knew that the IRA was a non-terrorist group and everybody else was a terrorist! (laughs) The thing about being Irish... I feel like part of being Irish is that you should be cynical. The worst thing you can be is sincere on one side or the other completely. I feel like anyone that is a true believer in anything 100 percent is the ultimate fool to Irish people.

Before you created this show, what did you think about the Constitution?
I didn't like the language, it was boring to me, and I was just turned off by the whole culture of the Constitutional Convention. I couldn't understand how everyone I know loves the Constitution. People who hate everything and disagree on everything, love the Constitution. So, that's what got me fascinated with trying to figure it out for myself.

Looking back on your career, you shot the video "Going Back To Brooklyn" in 1989. The city has changed so much now, did you ever wonder how you might have turned out if you grew up in today's hipster Brooklyn?
Oh my God, I would have probably been even more cynical and more ironic. Yeah, I would have been even worse.

And in the 80s, MTV was blamed for killing radio, but you were co-host of Remote Control — MTV's first non-music program. In a way, you helped kill the video star!
Honestly, I've never heard it phrased exactly like that. I've heard we killed MTV, but I like that... we killed the video star! We were there at the beginning of the end...



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Patton Oswalt To Perform At Beacon Theatre
(NEW YORK, NY) --  Patton Oswalt will take the Beacon Theatre stage on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 7:30pm. A comedian, actor and writer, Patton Oswalt continues to find success in all areas of entertainment. From his award-winning comedy specials to his many memorable film roles and guest appearances on his favorite TV shows, Oswalt continues to choose work that inspires him and entertains audiences.
Craig Ferguson To Bring His Hobo Fabulous Tour To Mayo Performing Arts Center
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Craig Ferguson's Hobo Fabulous Tour comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30pm. The show, which will be 100% new material, will never be recorded for any form of broadcast or streaming outlet given Mr. Ferguson's new (ironically) Luddite mistrust of digital technology. Tickets range from $49-$79.
NJPAC Presents Candice Guardino: Italian Bred
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Presents Candice Guardino: Italian Bred on Saturday January 26 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Created, written by and starring Candice Guardino, Italian Bred is based on true-life events seen through the eyes of a little girl.
SOPAC Presents Todd Barry
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Comedian Todd Barry has been performing for decades, bringing his dry humor and sharp wit to stages all over the world. Now, audiences at South Orange Performing Arts Center will get a taste of his special brand of razor-edge comedy on November 17 at 8:00pm.
Kevin Hart To Perform At Atlantic City's Hard Rock Hotel In Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Comedic Rock Star, Kevin Hart is bringing his Irresponsible Tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on Friday, December 28 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from from $100 to $350.


A Look At 2 Guys From Jersey
In issue 50, New Jersey Stage gave readers the opportunity to learn more about the writers who contribute to the magazine and the daily site. We’d like to give you the opportunity to learn more about the two shows that are featured in our magazine each month.  One is a podcast called 2 Guys From Jersey that runs a new episode every Wednesday. It involves Dr. D, Rocky, and Erin (a recent addition to the team) trying to settle trivial bar arguments that have plagued mankind for centuries.
"Legal Immigrant" Alan Cumming Brings His Cabaret To State Theatre New Jersey
It was the fall of 2008. Barack Obama had just been elected president. And Scottish-born actor Alan Cumming was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.
“Hysterical!” Gallagher LIVE! at The Strand Lakewood
Gallagher is joking with patrons in the lobby of Lakewood, NJ’s historic Strand Theater this Thursday, May 24, 2018 evening. In his audacious style, he’s grabbing cameras out of the hands of patrons who want to take great selfies with him, while also taking the time to sign T-shirts for stand-up comedy fans waiting for him at the merch table.
So You Want To Be A Comedian?
“I feel I have the kind of life where people think I’m making things up all of the time, but weirdness is kind of attracted to me,” said Jess Alaimo, a comedian from Monmouth County.  “So, I just go with whatever happens to me.”
The United States of Russia
Rutgers alum, Ben Rosenfeld released his third comedy album in January.  Entitled, The United States of Russia, the album was released by Comedy Dynamics and continues the Russia born, American raised comedian’s style of mixing tales of his immigrant parents and outsider childhood with topics ranging from millennials, terrorism, politics, and adjusting to life as a newlywed.  We caught up with Ben to talk about the album.






Event calendar
Monday, Nov 12, 2018


MUSIC

DAVID SANCIOUS & WILL CALHOUN @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

WHEN BROADWAY GOES DARK, VAN DYK GOES LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Bickford Benefit All-Stars @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 7:30pm

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

MUDDFEST 2019 @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 7:00pm


THEATRE

Elf The Musical @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm







FILM

Free Solo @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm


LITERATURE


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