The mighty Quinn brings latest show to Bethlehem
Colin Quinn is a quintessential New York comedian.
But he’s become much more than that.
Quinn’s latest one-man show, “One in Every Crowd,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6, Musikfest Cafe, SteelStacks, Bethlehem, is part of the cerebral comic’s first full-scale stand-up tour in more than years. Previously, Quinn’s shows had a central theme.
You may have “discovered” the Brooklyn-born Quinn on stage in dark and smoky stand-up rooms such as the infamous Pips in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Pips, billed as the oldest comedy club in the United States, is no more. A victim of the changing tide and taste in Brooklyn and New York City, it is unrecognizable in its incarnation as an Italian restaurant.
Working the room at Pips was a right-of-passage for any New York comedian worth his or her salt and an unwritten requirement for a Brooklyn native such as Quinn.
The MTV generation embraced Quinn as a regular on the TV game show, “Remote Control” (1987-1990), credited with being the first non-music program on the music network.
Quinn became a household name when he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 1990s. In addition to creating recurring characters, he hosted the “Weekend Update” segment from 1998-2000.
Quinn also hosted a panel show, “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” on Comedy Central (2002-2004) that featured comedians discussing current events. It can be said that “Tough Crowd” was a template for future comedian-helmed political programming.
Millennials likely know Quinn as “Hermie,” the coffee shop owner on Lena Dunham’s seminal HBO series “Girls” (2012-2017), or the father of Amy Schumer’s character in the motion picture comedy smash, “Trainwreck” (2015).
It can be argued that although Colin Quinn has appeared in virtually all forms of popular media, he is a dish best served live.
“It’s sort of been ‘stand-upy before,” Quinn says of his past performances, most recently “Unconstitutional,” and “New York Story,” which focused on specific subjects as the founding of the United States and a history of New York and its immigrant population, respectively.
“I can talk about different stuff,” he says of his latest show. “I don’t just have to keep to the theme. I can just mess around more,” Quinn says in a phone interview.
“It’s still pretty structured,” he adds, “I can never go back to my old ways. But [the new show] definitely feels freer.
“Mostly it’s about our system,” Quinn says when asked about the central theme of the new show. “It’s about the break-up of the United States and how no system has ever really worked.
“The whole show is sort of about how I should be in charge, and what I would do. It’s a lot of suggestions, most of them, I have to say, even though they’re jokes, when I look at it I say, ‘I should be in charge.’ I start really believing it.”
In addition to his stand-up tour, Quinn has been working on a web series he hopes will become a television show.
“I have this show, ‘Cops Show.’ I did it online. It’s a YouTube show. I’ve mostly been trying to get that made,” he says.
“On YouTube, it has gotten about 100,000 views each episode, which is not a lot considering who the guests are that I have on. It’s been received tepidly.
“Everyone [who sees it] loves it, but I wouldn’t say it’s crashing the nation’s consciousness, let’s put it that way.
“I loved Bethlehem the last time I was there. I had a great show.”
Quinn performed his “Unconstitutional Tour” show in 2014 at Musikfest Cafe.
“It’s unbelievable,” he says with respect to the area’s history and performing against the backdrop of the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. south side plant blast furnaces.
“I stayed at this great hotel. It was on the hill, a little old-fashioned hotel from the 1800s. It was the greatest hotel I’ve ever stayed at.”
Quinn had stayed at the Sayre Mansion, 250 Wyandotte St., at the south terminus of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, Bethlehem. “My God, it was amazing,” says Quinn.
This show, originally scheduled for Oct. 29, has been rescheduled for Jan. 6. Tickets for the Oct. 29 date will be honored at the Jan. 6 performance.
The show is expected to contain adult language and-or situations. Anyone between 13 and 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No child 12 or under will be admitted.
Tickets: Musikfest Café box office, ArtsQuest Center, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem; steelstacks.org; 610-297-7100