Comedian Colin Quinn talks history and comedy

Former SNL star brings his "Unconstitutional" tour to Newton

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  • Colin Quinn in ' Unconstitutional.'

    (Photo credit Mike Lavoie)

If you go...

WHO: Colin Quinn.
WHAT: Unconstitutional comedy tour.
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday, July 26.
WHERE: The Newton Theatre, 234 Spring Street, Newton, N.J.
HOW MUCH: $39 premium, $34 orchestra and $29 balcony.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 973-383-3700 or

For a comedian who "peaked at 13," Colin Quinn is not doing too shabby at 55.

Best known for his five year stint on Saturday Night Live and his work in the Adam Sandler films Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, as well as Comedy Central series Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn — Quinn is finishing up his newest comedy tour "Unconstitutional" with his second to last stop at Newton Theatre on Saturday, July 26 at 8 p.m.

"This show will cement my reputation as the most boring, successful comic out there."
— Comedian Colin Quinn

"I was always funny and always had a very large mouth, so I think it was meant to be," said Quinn. "I was actually funny when I was a kid, people think I am joking — but ask anyone as a kid who grew up with me they say, 'Yea you were funnier as a kid.' I peaked at 13 and that’s the truth."

Comedy and history
As a Brooklyn native, Quinn enjoys returning to the local tri-state area to perform.

"I feel people have more of a — you can speak as fast as you want," Quinn said. "People go at the same pace. New Jersey is a big part of the constitution too, William Paterson, a lot of big names out there. People don’t realize that."

His tour, "Unconstitutional" essentially crams 226 years of American Constitutional calamities into 70 minutes. Mixing history with comedy is no easy feat. Quinn said it took him about a year to come up with his act.

"I don’t think I did (life history,)" Quinn said. "Now I am starting to think I did because I keep doing it. But history itself like today, it's like so connected to everything today. That’s really what I am interested in, is today."

Although Quinn says he had never really been a fan of history, it seems to be a pattern in his comedy routines. As seen with his one-man show "Colin Quinn Long Story Short" on Broadway in 2010 — which took a satirical look at the history of the world in 75 minutes.

"I wasn’t thinking of doing another history show," Quinn said. "I was thinking of something else but somehow it turned into a history show. What can I say? I am a one trick pony at this point. (Long Story Short) was pretty successful, but this show will cement my reputation as the most boring, successful comic out there. Which is what I guess I was going for the whole time. I just never realized it."


Having performed for many years in all types of environments such as SNL, movies, Broadway and stand-up — Quinn admits he still has mixed emotions about getting on stage.

"In a way I don’t prefer (stand-up)," Quinn said. "It changes right before you go on, its like, ugh your stomach hurts, this is terrible you think ‘What am I doing? What is wrong with me? I always do this.’ And then afterwards you are high as a kite. It’s great."

The nerves though are not because he is scared but more for the fact that Quinn like to gives audiences his best performance every time.

"It’s a different kind of nervousness, its more like you just want to make sure everything you want to say gets said," Quinn said. "I just don’t want to miss any punch lines, I don’t want this to be mediocre."


Already working on his next show, Quinn is writing material about the death of ethnic humor and death of ethnic identification.

"We live in a country where there is 100 languages but you are not supposed to point out anyone's ethnicity," Quinn said. "Oh it will be funny, I just don’t know how many people will tolerate it. Nowadays. It’s just what everyone wants — to be lectured about ethnicity by the white man these days."

Quinn is also hoping to tour in Europe.

"Every comedian has gone there like five times and my last show was tailored for like international but no date, no Europe, no nothing," Quinn said. "But that’s why I am a comedian because when I try to do things and make things happen they fall apart and that’s a sign of a real comedian. Just basically a loser that is trying to be a winner."

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