Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quinn's History


Colin Quinn: Long Story Short
Written and performed by Colin Quinn
Directed by Jerry Seinfeld

Performances through March 5, 2011
Helen Hayes Theater
240 West 44th Street

Long Story Short, comedian Colin Quinn’s new 75-minute monologue, riffs on the downfall of every single empire since the ancient Greeks. Quinn, who brought a gruff comic sensibility to “Saturday Night Live” during his stint back in the late ‘90s (including two seasons as the host of “Weekend Update”) has honed a dry, almost arrogant comic style, and his snide asides make for the most amusing running gags in the show.

While looking back at various “advanced” civilizations, from the Greeks and Romans to various European rulers to America and Asia (with Africa and even Canada thrown in for good measure), Quinn uses a maximum of snark to chronicle the Achilles’ heels that have doomed the greatest civilizations, with remarks that reference everyone from Snooki to the Mob that put everyone on a level comic playing field.

One could call Long Story Short a “History for Dummies” or, to be charitable about it, a “History for People Who Don’t Care About History.” But that may well sell Quinn himself short. In a fast-paced set, cleverly directed by Jerry Seinfeld and greatly aided by David Gallo’s tongue-in-cheek sets and witty projections, the comedian makes all kinds of hay lambasting mankind’s basic fallibilities even while managing to remain above the current political fray by concentrating on our damaging similarities rather than differences down through the centuries.

Ultimately, we’re all in the same boat, Quinn says, so we might as well joke about it all while we’re heading toward our own destruction.

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