Former Weekend Update host to perform at Higher Ground

Alek Fleury

At the end of the comedian Colin Quinn’s last special, he imagined this country ending like the ending of the movie “The Birds.”

“The last ten minutes, just silence. Nobody says a word. Nobody utters a sound. That’s what we do, empty this country out. Just leave. No one will be left here.” he said.

The only people left would be the Native Americans, he said. 

“They’ll be standing there, watching for a while,” he said. “Maybe a McDonalds bag will float by. Finally, one will turn to another and go ‘Was that the peyote or was that just a really weird, 400 year dream I had called America.”

This is not exactly the most optimistic vision for the future of our country.

But this joke, juxtaposing a McDonalds bag with an obscure Native American drug, is classic Colin Quinn, bringing his intelligent musings to the barstool.

The former host of “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update sketch and “Tough Crowd” is set to perform his new show “Wrong Side of History” on Friday Dec. 20 at Higher Grund.            

Quinn has made appearances in the HBO series “Girls” as well as alongside Amy Schumer in “Trainwreck.” 

But as Quinn spoke, his Brooklyn accent bouncing out of the phone as he walked the streets of New York, what became clear was that his comedy is about recognizing the differences between people and valuing those differences. This is the key to Quinn’s comedy. We are all in the same boat.            

“Nobody so far has come up with answers,” he said. “We always think we are this and we are not.”

While that might seem like a nihilistic downer, Quinn says it gets to the heart of comedy and why he loves it. 

“The goal for stand up is to do things that allow you to talk about what you want to talk about, except it gets laughs,” Quinn said. “I don’t want to start being a preacher. Either you’re getting laughs or you’re not.”

From his special “New York Story” to “Red State Blue State,” dealing with racial and ideological difference, Quinn has never shied away from hot button or controversial  topics that seem to immediately divide people. 

Quinn understands that this tendency and instinct to divide has stayed the same throughout history.

“People have improved in certain ways throughout history, but the core which is liking to see people ridiculed and liking to hate people, their tribal instincts, that has stayed the same since time began,” Quinn said.

 Quinn’s new show promises to bring that same pessimism to stage in the wake of a country that has culturally and politically not changed much since his last special in May.

 The new act tries to give people who think they’re smart a little shake before he dies, Quinn said.  

 “It’s about the mentality of how everyone is on the wrong side of history since time began, but they always think that they’ve evolved.”

Quinn will perform at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at Higher Ground.