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Paul Pedersen

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Posted: November 28, 2017

Q&A with Colin Quinn as his standup tour stops in Portland

Written by: Paul Pedersen
Colin Quinn Photo courtesy of Michael O'Brien Entertainment, LLC

Colin Quinn
Photo courtesy of Michael O’Brien Entertainment, LLC

Colin Quinn is a dying breed of brazen Brooklyn native who hasn’t cleaned up his comedy act to conform to an increasingly politically correct world — and, for him, it seems to work.

Best known as a former anchor of the “Saturday Night Live” news segment “Weekend Update,” Quinn also hosted a talk show called “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” in which he discussed politics and current events with other comedians, such as Patrice O’Neal, Bill Burr and Greg Giraldo. He has written and starred in several one-man shows, been on Broadway, appeared on the TV show “Girls” and played Amy Schumer’s father in the 2015 movie “Trainwreck.”

On Thursday, his standup tour, “One in Every Crowd,” is stopping at Port City Music Hall. Before this latest trip to Maine, Quinn spoke about his previous visits to the state, the meaning of his show’s title and his thoughts on comedy in the current social climate.

 In your one-man show “The New York Story” is a small blip about how Mainers interact. Do you have a good Maine story?

I’ve been to Maine a couple of times … One time we went on a little family trip to Maine … something happened with me and an old Maine guy, we got into an argument, I was probably like 9, and he goes “I’ll kick your (expletive) all the way to Lemoyne Beach!” If anyone deserved a kick in the (expletive), it was probably me at that age.

What’s the theme of the material in your current standup show?

“One In Every Crowd,” it’s a lot of stuff that I’ve been thinking about. It’s about the one (expletive) in every situation. Every job you’ve had, every gym you belong to, every classroom you had there was one toxic (expletive). How can that be? How could everybody know what I’m talking about? Why do we all know him? Why is there at least one in every situation? So that’s the thing. I mean there’s one person that just, you know, makes everybody feel weird. …Where you start a new job and everybody rolls their eyes about this person, and you’re like, “Oh, that’s the person!”

You have a bit of an Irish-American angle that comes up in your comedy. Are you seeing any young comics coming out and doing the same thing?

No, I mean, not really… nowadays people are sort of … ethnically, very cautious … It’s a very time-specific thing.

You have to be careful of everything you say for fear of getting chewed out. Do you think that’s negatively affecting comedy?

I think that anytime people try to squelch someone’s personal observations and personal thoughts about stuff in comedy it’s going to affect it badly. Because a lot of it’s based on people’s experience and when somebody’s like, “You can’t really say that because …” Right away, it’s not good for comedy. When you’re going, “You can’t say that,” the whole point of comedy is you’re supposed to say things that you can’t say … It’s not all of comedy, but it’s a part of it. So, yeah, I don’t think it’s good. It’s a strange thing that’s happening right now.

Speaking of things happening in comedy right now, what are your thoughts about sexual harassment and Louis C.K?

I heard the rumors, of course, years ago, but it’s definitely not the same as Harvey Weinstein. You know, it’s something that’s got to be dealt with, but it’s not Harvey Weinstein … People are pissed… and I get it, how could they not be? I’ve been talking about it a lot on stage, this climate … Every woman I know is like, yeah, we’re sick of this (expletive) … they don’t like being treated like this.

I think it’s going to change the way courtship goes down.

Exactly, that’s right! I’ve been doing this in comedy, we’re going to go back to the old days of manners, going over to the house in white gloves … dames and gentlemen.

Do you have any closing thoughts?

I’m excited to come back to Maine. It’s been quite a while since I got up there. And I hope that old man, you know, if he wants to kick my (expletive), I’m more than welcoming. I’m ready to go right now.

Colin Quinn: “One in Every Crowd”

WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
HOW MUCH: $33, 18-plus show

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