Comparing Antigone to Snooki may seem like a long shot to many, but in Colin Quinn’s low-key, high-humor show, it makes perfect sense.
Transferring to Broadway after a successful run at the Bleeker Street Theater, Colin Quinn: Long Story Short presents a history of the world in just 75 minutes. An alumnus of Saturday Night Live,, Quinn combines riffing on the idiosyncrasies of everyday behavior with commenting on the major events in history and what they predict for the future of the world.
No one is safe when Quinn is onstage. Every country and race is poked fun at, whether it’s the cavemen, the Greeks and Romans or the tortured relationship between France and England. His wry observations and deadpan humor provide a low-key environment the humor of the writing is equal to, if not better, the humor of the delivery. Instead of lapsing into over-the-top imitations and accents, Quinn merely hints at the context of the situations, allowing the audiences to find the humor themselves.
The hypocrisy of the environments of yoga classes and even the power of Martha Stewart are mentioned as well as the latent cruelty of human nature. Quinn describes visiting a sick aunt in the hospital, sharing that her last words were, “Turn off the TV so the person in the next bed can’t see it.” He then asks the audience, “If we can’t share a hospital room, how can we share the Middle East?”
Perhaps the most poignant aspect of Quinn’s show is his commentary on the state of America today, acknowledging what people from other countries sacrifice to come to the “land of the free.” Comparing the state of the world to a bar at three in the morning, Quinn describes everyone as drunk and ready for a fight and America acting like the “the alcoholic, drug-addict brother of Canada. He’s even spilling his drink in the Gulf of Mexico.”
While the show is certainly entertaining and amusing, its ending is not exactly uplifting. But it is thought provoking, and that might be even better.