Colin Quinn, July 2005
June 6, 1959 |
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
|Genres||Observational comedy, black comedy, sketch comedy, satire, political satire, news satire|
|Subject(s)||American politics, American culture, current events, race relations, world history, drinking culture|
|Influences||Richard Pryor, George Carlin|
|Notable works and roles||Co-host of Remote Control
Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live
Host of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn
Colin Edward Quinn (born June 6, 1959) is an American stand-up comedian and writer best known for his five years in the cast of Saturday Night Live, as the sidekick/announcer of MTV's late 1980s gameshow Remote Control and as host of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central from 2002–2004.
Early years 
Quinn was born in Brooklyn, the son of teachers and was raised in the Park Slope section of the borough. He attended and graduated from John Dewey High School. His natural idiosyncratic mannerisms are trademarks of his stand-up act, headlining at top comedy clubs across the country, including Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City. Before becoming a comedian, Quinn attended Stony Brook University for a year and worked as a bartender. He stopped drinking in the early 1980s after several bad experiences with alcohol, including drunken blackouts and nights spent in jail.
After quitting bartending, Quinn began his stand-up career in 1984. He first achieved fame in 1987 as co-host of the MTV game show Remote Control, which he did for three years. In 1989, he hosted A&E stand-up showcase Caroline's Comedy Hour, and acted in and wrote the comedic short/music video Going Back to Brooklyn along with Ben Stiller. Much of his early comedy career focused on stand-up and writing for shows like In Living Color. He later co-wrote the story and was an associate producer for the movie Celtic Pride, starring Damon Wayans and Dan Aykroyd.
Saturday Night Live 
In 1995, Quinn was hired by Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured player until 1997–1998 season, when he became a full cast member. He established himself on the show with characters such as "Lenny the Lion" and "Joe Blow", and did the recurring segment "Colin Quinn Explains the New York Times". Quinn took over as host of the Weekend Update segment in January 1998 after Norm Macdonald's firing, and anchored the segment until departing SNL in 2000. Quinn would often comment on the highly publicized media circuses such as Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal and the Microsoft Anti-Trust Trial. At the end of each Weekend Update segment, he would use the catchphrase, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it." He was not thrilled about his run on the show, declaring on an episode of Tough Crowd, "I don't miss it."
During his SNL years, Quinn made his Broadway debut in his one-man show, Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake co-written with fellow comedian Lou DiMaggio, and was offered the role of Scott Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery by Mike Myers, which he turned down to make time for his writing projects. The role was taken by Seth Green.
Recurring characters on SNL 
- Gene, an ex-convict who does menial jobs.
- Joe Blow, a blue-collar worker from Queens who complains about the declining quality of his neighborhood.
- Lenny The Lion, a lion, similar to his Joe Blow character, only he talks about trying to better himself.
- Rolf, a racist who always has second thoughts about his behavior.
Celebrity characters 
- Dale Jarrett
- Elvis Costello
- Bill Clinton
- Leon Panetta
- Robert De Niro in the "Joe Pesci Show" sketch where the real Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci make surprise appearances.
Post-SNL career 
Quinn became host of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central in December 2002. The show immediately followed The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and was one of several attempts to create a companion show for Stewart's program. However, Tough Crowd never managed to keep the majority of its lead-in audience. Although it was renewed through the 2005 television season, Tough Crowd was placed on indefinite hiatus in October 2004, with its "final" episode airing on November 4, 2004. The show featured four comedians (often his friends such as Dave Attell, Greg Giraldo, Jim Norton, and Patrice O'Neal) with Quinn as host, discussing various political issues in conversations that were often heated. Quinn gave many comedians exposure on the show, which ran for roughly 250 episodes over a two-year period. His stand up material was also used in Comedy Central's animated stand up series Shorties Watchin' Shorties.
Colin performs regularly at the Comedy Cellar in New York City, where many top comedians perform when not on the road. In 2004, he was named #56 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time. He was also named to the Irish America Magazine list of the "Top 100 Irish Americans of the Year".
He would later be heard as the "unofficial co-host" on the Nick DiPaolo show on the now-defunct 92.3 Free FM in New York City, airing Monday-Friday from noon to 3pm. Quinn and DiPaolo were originally slated to host the show together on WJFK-FM, but the station decided not to pick up the show. Nick often referred to Quinn as "the joke fairy", due to his propensity for telling a joke and hanging up the phone before getting a response. Quinn is also a regular guest on The Opie & Anthony Show. Recently Quinn has discussed what he refers to as thousands of pages of "manifestos" that he's written since his departure from Tough Crowd, but never elaborated on the contents.
In 2010, Quinn premiered his one-man show "Colin Quinn Long Story Short" on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre, directed by Jerry Seinfeld. Comically channeling the demise of various world empires, Quinn takes a satirical look at the history of the world in 75 minutes. Quinn recorded a special performance of the show that aired on HBO on April 9, 2011. He explores the attitudes, appetites and habits that toppled some of the world's most powerful nations.
In summer 2011, Quinn toured "Colin Quinn Long Story Short" to Guild Hall in East Hampton, Philadelphia Theatre Company in Philadelphia, and other cities including Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.
|1987||Three Men and a Baby||Gift shop Clerk|
|1988||The Cosby Show||Davey Herbeck||Television series<br /13 episodes|
|1988||Crocodile Dundee II||Onlooker at mansion|
|1988||Married to the Mob||Homicide detective|
|1988||2 Hip 4 TV||Television series|
|1989||Caroline's Comedy Hour||Host||Television series|
|1990||Manly World||Television series|
|1990||True Blue||Television series
|1992||The Ben Stiller Show||Guest||Television series
|1993||Who's the Man?||Frankie Flynn|
|1995||The Larry Sanders Show||Cully||Television series
|1995-2000||Saturday Night Live||Various||Television series
|1996||The Christmas Tree||Tom||Television film|
|1997||Pulp Comics: Jim Breuer||Cop||Television film|
|1998||A Night at the Roxbury||Dooey|
|2002-2004||Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn||Himself/Host||Television series|
|2003||Crooked Lines||Annoying customer|
|2003||Windy City Heat||Talk show guest||Television film|
|2010||Grown Ups||Dickie Bailey|
|2011||Colin Quinn Long Story Short||Himself||Television film|
|2012||That's My Boy||Strip Club DJ|
|2013||Grown Ups 2||Dickie Bailey|
- "Colin Quinn". Popentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Colin Quinn: Tough Guy
- Broadway World
- Colin Quinn at the Internet Movie Database
- Colin Quinn on National Public Radio in 2003
- Comedy Cellar - a Comedy Club in New York and one at which Colin always performs.
- SNL Transcripts: Colin Quinn - contains searchable database of almost all of Quinn's SNL works
- ColinQuinn.com - Website for Colin Quinn's Broadway show "Long Story Short" directed by Jerry Seinfeld.
Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon