Both of Colin Quinn’s parents were teachers and he could have easily followed in their footsteps, but fortunately he didn’t, because there’s no other comedian quite like him. If you took George Will, my old building super, and Will Rogers and put them in a blender, maybe you’d have a shot at creating Colin Quinn.
Quinn has the tough, pugnacious attitude of a guy from Brooklyn, which is where he’s from, but he’s quite comfortable explaining the cultural differences between Athens and Sparta in "Red State Blue State" at the Minetta Lane Theatre. This 75-minute show (directed by Bobby Moresco) is not to be missed, and it’s loaded with so much rich social/political commentary that I plan on seeing it again, as soon as possible.
Quinn has none of the smugness of most left-leaning pundits nor the self-righteousness and bombast of conservatives, but instead skewers both sides in a bipartisan manner that is insightful and entertaining. Quinn kicks off the show with an explanation about the ineffectiveness of the two-party system, with quotes from John Adams and George Washington, followed by his own perceptive take:
“Two parties. Still. Three hundred fifty million people, two parties. We have fifteen genders. Four bathrooms, and two parties.”
Today we have an abundance of great comedians with strong partisan opinions who are all funny, but Quinn observes and reports about the behavior of Americans as whole without taking a side, although there’s some decidedly pointed commentary on Donald Trump late in the show. As a people we clearly take ourselves far too seriously and Quinn addresses this through a continual takedown of social media:
“And now, social media has created a new subcategory of people, the Messiahs. They have a savior complex. You can’t blame them, because if you have more than twelve followers, you’re doing better than Jesus. You think 'Well Jesus only had twelve, I have 23, so maybe I need to weigh in.' Thumbs up, thumbs down. It’s insane. We’ve created a nation of Roman emperors.”
The absurdity of today’s extreme opinions is that most people have little knowledge or data to support their positions, but Quinn’s grasp of history is formidable, as is his understanding of popular culture, so he can easily segue from discussing Barabbas to the finale of "The Bachelor" and continue by deconstructing everything from intermittent fasting to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Quinn closes the show with astute social observations about most of the 50 states, and every one of them is worth the price of a ticket. A few to wet your beaks:
"California. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, world’s best fruits and vegetables and you’re still bankrupt. Maybe you’re just stupid."
"Pennsylvania. If you can’t throw a perfect spiral by the time you’re 11, they make him wear a dress."
"New Jersey. A bad idea that continued."
"Colorado. You’re rich, you’re beautiful, you pretend to be down to earth. We already have a Gwyneth Paltrow."
In a time of such extreme political division in our country, I can’t think of a better ambassador of tolerance than Colin Quinn. "Red State Blue State" should be required viewing for every American, so we can laugh at ourselves and the idiocy we continue to perpetrate, no matter where we live or what party we support.
“Never trust a socialist with a summer house.” —Colin Quinn
"Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State." Through March 3 at the Minetta Lane Theater, New York, NY.
Rob Taub works as a broker at CORE in NYC, where he hosts a weekly podcast. He has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. Rob has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and has written for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.