Remember Colin Quinn? If you do, it’s probably from his time on Saturday Night Live. What you might not know is that Colin Quinn is the best stand up comedian in the world right now. For the uninitiated, names like Louis C.K, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld would be thrown out as the best stand up in the world, and they might be right. But I believe Colin Quinn has all of them beat.
His recent one-man show “Long Story Short” was brilliant in simplicity while being broad in its scope, allowing for an incisive look at history that never got boring. I don’t think anyone else could have made this subject matter incredibly funny, and that’s why Colin Quinn is so good.
He took an act cultivated from a vague written manifesto, seasoned it in New York city comedy clubs, and then took it to Broadway and beyond. Doing this without compromising “the funny” is an unparalleled feat.
But what separates Colin Quinn even further is his use of Twitter. I thought all of the angles had been exhausted, making Twitter an endless stream of shitty jokes and celebrity inanity. But, “CQ” as he calls himself in jest, has come to the rescue. His tweets have exposed the true nature of the humourless drones on twitter that seem unable to understand his ironic slams on pop culture and the entertainment industry.
The worst perpetrators are the media who mistook his comments that he, infact, came up with the idea for Anchorman for a serious attack, spurring outraged Will Ferrell acolytes and media coverage of the controversy. His facetious rants are spectacular for their cringe-inducing arrogance and douchiness. Here are some of my favourites:
“I thought Melo was looking at me funny, but then I realized he was just star struck. You’re never to big to ask for a "graph", son. #humility”
“CQ Recipe for success/dinner. 1/2 cup of brass you know what’s, a tablespoon of I don't give a care, and a pound of get off my back, jack!”
Re Gadhafi’s death: "I know one thing, when it all boils down to it, I think we all agree, he did more good than bad, and that's all any of us can expect. He made people smile and that's something not most people in Libya can say. To me it's all about longevity and this man lasted. Like Tony Bennett."
He’s at his best when riling an audience, making Twitter the perfect platform for his unique ability to be cheesy, insulting, and very humorous. So why isn’t he more famous? Why is he not considered by most people as one of the greatest stand up comedians of all time? For one, he only has one HBO special (filmed in 1992) other than his latest one-man show. His time on SNL didn’t lead to any break-out characters, and being weekend update anchor didn’t lend itself to his long form digressions.
He’s attained a level of success that most comedians never get, but it seems odd to me that he doesn’t have more. He’s a true original, an irreplaceable voice in comedy that brings an acerbic wit to topics both silly and important. But don’t take my word for it, follow @iamcolinquinn on Twitter, go watch “Long Story Short”, watch the now defunct “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” on youtube, and listen to his radio interviews (where he is often at his best).