Colin Quinn Announces For President

(And discusses the one-man Broadway show, "Long Story Short," he's bringing to Charlotte)
Courtesy, Blumenthal Performing Arts
Hail to the chief?

Empires fall. And there are those who've been worried for some time that America may be the next to topple. Could comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member (1995-2000) Colin Quinn be the man to turn us around? We could do worse, America.

You can hear what Quinn has to say about the decline of empires (rest assured, he'll put a comic spin on the topic) when he brings Colin Quinn: Long Story Short to the Knight Theater on Jan 19. In the meantime, here's his take on the Kardashians, North Carolina basketball, and his own modest political aspirations. Which this writer assumes should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.

Revue: When anthropologists sift through the rubble of our society, who will they blame more for its downfall — our politicians or the Kardashians?

Colin Quinn: All of them. It's like Catholicism. Everyone's guilty. We're to blame, too, for watching them.

Do the Kardashians make it into your show?

They were in there, but I may have taken them out. I can't remember. I haven't done it in a while. But they're almost too big now. In a way, you have to admire them. It's the same with the Jersey Shore kids. They've turned this into an empire financially. When I was on TV, we never made this kind of money. It's ridiculous. They're making so much money with their stupid phone lines and their fashion and their perfumes.

So you give them grudging respect?

I do. You have to, you know what I mean? It's the mother, in their case. She's the power broker. You know, to take a sex tape and turn it into a cottage industry about family is kind of amazing.

TIME magazine said, "Acting on Broadway is easy. Stand-up comedy is hard. But Colin Quinn has nailed it."

Oh, that's nice.

What do you think you did differently that allowed your show to win all the awards and be extended twice on Broadway? 

Because the others — those that came before — are ants. They crawl before me. I know that sounds arrogant, Page, when you first hear it, but [breaks into laughter]. I don't know. It's thematic stand-up. And whatever talent I may have … someone has to put some structure around it. That's what [director] Jerry [Seinfeld] does. I may be like Seth Curry, and Jerry's Mike Krzyzewski. I'll come in there with a nice long jump shot. But, Jerry, like the Duke coach, brings some structure to the thing.  

So you're a basketball fan?

I love basketball. I love college hoops.

But, there's nothing about basketball in your show?


Because basketball isn't going to contribute to the downfall of our society?

Basketball may be our last great hope, actually.

Who's your team?

Well, I grew up pulling for St. John's … But you never hear about them. They're not even mentioned any more. So, I started to go back and forth. I pulled for Villanova for a while. I had a Villanova phase. I'm not proud of it. I liked Indiana because of Bobby Knight. I like Duke; I actually can like Duke and North Carolina at the same time. Because the rivalry doesn't mean anything to me.

You just made everyone in North Carolina happy. That's a good political move — don't provoke either side.

Well, everyone except the people who pull for Wake Forest.

That's where I went! I can't believe you know about Wake Forest.

Of course. The great Norm Snead went to Wake Forest.

I don't know who that is.

He was the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. He went to Wake Forest in the '60s.

Oh, well, there you go. Back to your show. There's plenty to signal the end of America's empire. Do you think it's imminent? What are the signs?

Yes, well. Look at China — both the good and the bad of China. All we ever do is criticize them. We never say what they're doing right. They've got a work ethic, and they're unified. America was built on the rugged individualist, but in the long run, what does the rugged individualist do to help society? Ultimately, he doesn't help.

So, that part's in the show, I guess?

Yeah, I think so. I don't really remember at this point.

Really? You're not touring with the show now?

No, I'm working on a movie script. But I need funding for it. I need $5 million. I think we should get someone in North Carolina to help fund it. Who's the richest person in North Carolina? Hold on. I'm going to Google right now. [Typing] It's Jim Goodnight! With SAS …

Well, they're in Raleigh. I'm not sure they'll be at your Charlotte show.

So much for that one.

What else signals the demise of America?

The fact that no one can ever look anyone in the eye any more. In the old days, you'd be texting all day. You'd never look at anyone. Siri may actually save us. Now, with Siri, we're still not paying attention to each other. But, we can look each other in the eyes again while we're on our phones.

I've been following you on Twitter, and you said Justin Bieber's version of "Let it Be" [on New Year's Eve] was as good or better than the original. Were you serious, or were you trying to provoke?

I guess I was trying to annoy people.

Was there any seriousness to it?

Of course not. But Justin Bieber is a good musician.

You also said on Twitter your health care plan was "Walk it off."

Well, that was part — just a small part — of my campaign platform. My campaign for president.

Are you going to run?

I think it's probably gonna happen. You know, now's the time.

Since Alec Baldwin announced he wasn't going to run …

For mayor of New York. I won't, either. It's too easy, so I don't even want to do that. I'd win too easily. Where's the challenge?

Can I say you announced on Charlotte magazine?

Yes. This is not a joke. If I can get my good buddy at SAS — what was his name again? Goodnight … if I can get him to fund my campaign … You know, he can fund the movie and the campaign …

Will you run as a Democrat, Republican, or whatever Mr. Goodnight wants you to be?

I'll run as an independent. I might run as a benevolent dictator.

We could use one of those. Anything else Charlotte should know about you?

Tell them about how I never realized my childhood dream. All I ever wanted to be was a point guard for a North Carolina team.

Well, maybe you'll get to be president.

Categories: Arts + Culture, News – Web Exclusives, Revue