Review: The New York Story

Colin Quinn TNYS+crate2

Colin Quinn is one of the better comics doing political satire – he communicates highly complicated ideas through the most mundane and absurdly funny examples. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his previous shows Long Story Short and Unconstitutional, which brought enormous issues wittily down to a comprehensible human scale. So I got excited when I heard about this new show about the the history of New York.

Quinn quite rightly sees the “the New York story” as being about different layers of attitude arising from each new immigrant ethnic group. He goes right for the jugular, humorously eviscerating political correctness, perhaps most deftly by observing that people talk about having a conversation about race instead of actually having that conversation.

As such, there is plenty of ethnic humor in the show, but it’s generally gentle and often actually complimentary. As, in, how do you know the building on the corner is a “Puerto Rican building”? And there are plenty of self-deprecating jabs at his own Irish Catholic background.

Quinn’s manner is engagingly off-hand – this is bigger and smarter than your usual stand-up, but it never totally leaves that sphere. He’s a sharp-eyed satirist, his take decidedly coming from a working class point of view, or at least from the point of view that’s been formed by being around working class people. The New York Story is jaunty and fun with a biting edge, a thought-provoking good time that I can easily recommend.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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Review: Colin Quinn Unconstitutional

Colin Quinn Unconstitutional

Colin Quinn is one of the better comics doing political satire – he communicates highly complicated ideas through the most mundane and absurdly funny examples. I thoroughly enjoyed his Broadway hit Long Story Short, which told the history of the world, brought wittily down to a comprehensible human scale.

So I got excited when I heard about Unconstitutional, his new show about the American constitution, a document he mostly uses as a springboard for canny observations about our national character. For example, he hilariously makes clear that the Kardashians’ story is a quintessentially American one, a disgusting one to be sure, but very American.

Quinn’s manner is engagingly off-hand – this is bigger and smarter than your usual stand-up, but it never totally leaves that sphere. He makes artful use of recurring images, the most potent being the 1787 Constitutional Convention as one big drinking party, which rings true in many surprising ways.

He’s a sharp-eyed satirist, his take decidedly coming from a working class point of view, or at least from the point of view that’s been formed by being around working class people; Quinn self-deprecatingly jokes that he’s been jabbering all his life to avoid manual labor. Also, Quinn generally avoids stereotyping ethnic humor from the bad old days, but deftly scores points against the paradoxical racism of a politically correct media that avoids making jokes about an American president just because he’s black.

I’m seeing this show a lot earlier in its trajectory than I saw Long Story Short, so its not a shock that it’s still pretty rough around the edges. But it’s jaunty and fun with a dark edge, a thought-provoking good time that I can easily recommend.

For tickets, click here.