You might have seen Colin Quinn hosting the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live back in the day, or more recently as Amy Schumer’s father in Trainwreck or playing Dickey Bailey in the Grown Ups films, but this famous comedian is currently doing his own thing.
From Thursday, February 8 to Saturday, February 10, 2018, Quinn will be in Denver for the first time ever, and he’s excited to headline downtown at the Comedy Works Larimer Square location. He said he’s been to Colorado Springs before, but it’s Denver he’s always wanted to check out— although he’s not sure what people actually do here for fun.
The native New Yorker’s thick Brooklyn accent gives Quinn his edge while delivering sets featuring observational comedy and political and news satire. Now the comedian’s re-entering the stand-up ring with new material on his tour he calls “One in Every Crowd,” named for the idiots who are in every crowd (he admits sometimes he is actually the idiot). Quinn wants everyone to come see his show, and we got to chat with the comedian before his visit.
303: Why are you so pumped about performing at Comedy Works?
Colin Quinn: Well it’s one of those clubs that everybody loves. You know comedians — we don’t really like that much stuff, but everybody’s going to Comedy Works. It’s one of four clubs that you never hear anything but good things about.
303: What’s on your itinerary for your first trip to Denver?
CQ: I don’t know. Tell me. I’ll go anywhere. What do people usually do when they go there? Can you go skiing in Denver itself, or no?
303: There’s no skiing in the city itself, but you can drive an hour to the mountains. Are you a good skier?
CQ: I tore my Achilles last year, so I’m afraid to ski, but I like skiing. I like the idea of skiing. The truth of the matter is my whole life I’ve been like “Oh, I love skiing,” but I’ve been skiing twice. And one time I was 15 and was trying to ski, and my brother fell, so I turned to stop my skis and make fun of him, and I ended up dropping the ski pole—pointed side up—and stabbed myself in the stomach. I had to go to the hospital for two days. It was a puncture wound.
303: Oh my God. Well, maybe no skiing for you then. Was there a lot of blood?
CQ: There wasn’t much blood, but then the ski instructor came and saved me. I was 15 and the ski girls were hot and they were like pulling my pants off.
303: Describe your comedy style to someone who has never seen a show.
CQ: It’s like skiing with the wrong end of the pole. I’m just kidding. My comedy covers every subject and it’s about what’s going on in the world right now. I talk about what’s happening.
303: Do you focus a lot on the news?
CQ: I do focus a lot on the news. My comedy isn’t for dumb people. I know even dumb comedians probably think they’re smart, but it’s not a lot of sexual humor. It’s clean with some cursing. So far it sounds like a bad time. I realize that.
303: Where do you get your inspiration for new material?
CQ: All the people who have infuriated me or done things that infuriate me, and then you look at yourself and go, “Oh yeah, I do that sometimes too.” So it’s really a combination of the worst part of humanity and the worst part of me. I talk about everything that’s happening right this second. You can expect a lot of new material. So far I get laughs at my new stuff, and I do update it from time to time. It’s about the world and the breakup of the United States — how the country’s going to break up.
303: What do you think about “New California”?
CQ: It’s going to happen everywhere — New California. When I hear about New California, instead of feeling sad, I think this is good for my show.
303: Are there are topics you won’t mention?
CQ: It depends on how you approach it, but everything’s on the table. You know nowadays you have to be very sure of what you’re trying to say. Even if you come up with the perfect joke, some people are going to be offended. That’s how it goes. You can’t really try not to offend some people because people are going to be offended.
303: How do you test new material?
CQ: The only way to test material is going onstage in front of a crowd. That’s the beauty of stand-up. There’s no easy way for any of us where you’re like, “I wrote it and it always works.” You still go on and the crowd says, “No you didn’t finish that part,” and you don’t realize even after all these years until you actually go onstage and think, “Oh my God, how could I have told half a joke?”
303: Do you have any advice on writing comedy?
CQ: I would just say you write your stories. Whatever your life is, and the jokes will come in the middle. Every joke will fit. People that write one-liners, they’re great, but it’s 10 times harder than people who just tell the story of their life. Everybody admires a great one-liner. They’re brilliant. But it’s harder for them.
303: Do you still use one-liners like the ones on Weekend Update?
CQ: I’ve transitioned. On Weekend Update those were joke-jokes, but it wasn’t really my style. I mean I’ve kind of been more conversational. Everybody’s trying to get their point across and get laughs. If you’re getting your point across and not getting laughs, that’s preaching. I never want applause when I do a show because they’re basically sad and miserable. I want laughs.
303: Honesty is the best policy in comedy. Do you agree?
CQ: I would agree. Nowadays I would say, it’s easier said than done because now everybody is taking a stance. People have a harder time being in comedy now than ever before because everybody’s an extremist and so overly woke. People are too woke. There’s a fine line between being woke and being overly woke. It’s a problematic term because its like, “Oh I get the joke, but it’s too much.” You have a room full of people who think they’re intelligent and we’re not that intelligent because nobody has any solutions to problems; they just know what’s wrong.
303: How has the comedy world changed since you first entered it?
CQ: People are more sensitive. The comedy world has gotten worse and better. It’s gotten worse because the audience analyzes every joke, but it’s getting better in the sense that people really understand comedy. In the old days, you could get away with murder just doing hackneyed jokes, and the whole crowd would love it. Now comedians have to be much better comedians. Which is the good part. You can’t just get away with blurting out some nonsense. You have to be good.
To purchase tickets for Colin Quinn, visit the Comedy Works website.