Colin Quinn's Long Story Short

Colin Quinn's Long Story Short

Colin Quinn probably should have been famous something like a decade back. Even before Tough Crowd, the comedian was part of a cohort that included Jerry Seinfeld and Louis CK, not to mention Jon Stewart and just about anyone else you can think of. Yeah, Saturday Night Live was a boon. And surely, Quinn’s concert ticket prices appreciated the boost in the comic’s public visibility. But he remained a rather gruff figure in the comedy underground – not in the same way Marc Maron’s become quantified. But similarly.

Either way, with Tough Crowd, Quinn circled around him some top tier comics, if not intellects, to craft a comedic news show, sort of like The View, but for guys with drinking problems and a few issues with woman. The show didn’t make it too long and would eventually be replaced only to have Stephen Colbert’s program take off in the same time slot a few years on. Bummer.

Always fancying himself something of a blue collar intellectual, Quinn eventually worked up what seems more like a performance than a stand up set for Long Story Short. The title, though, isn’t exactly accurate seeing as the comedian takes a pretty long time to wade through human history while making his crowd laugh at what isn’t really funny. Quinn’s distinction is his ability to punctuate proclamations in the right way, add a smirk to the end of it and some tossed off hand gesture to make it seem like his observation was either common sense or just thought of in the moment.

Seinfeld, despite being attached as director, doesn’t factor into the proceedings at all – that might be a bonus considering his own sets aren’t really all that tremendous in the first place. But as Quinn begins his historical tour, the accompanying visuals and the stage he stalks around may well have been unavailable to him without the patronage of Seinfeld’s namesake. Much in the same way Tough Crowd addressed each and every facet of political and social life, Long Story Short does roughly the same, only looks back on historical occurrences – like the Greeks being overrun by Romans – turning each into a modern corollary. Somehow, the hour and a half long history lesson flies by. It all might be chalked up to the heaping on of production value, but Quinn seems least at home while making transitions from one section of the show to another. Whatever the case, it’s just about required viewing for comedy nerds.