“We got kicked out [of 45 Bleeker] because they wanted to do ‘Deep Throat’!” Colin Quinn said yesterday afternoon at a press event in New York City promoting his upcoming Broadway show.
The veteran comedian and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn creator is taking his once off-Broadway show Long Story Short the Helen Hayes Theatre starting Oct. 22 for previews through Jan. 8. For the show – in short, a 75-minute history of the world, as filtered through Quinn’s style of gruff comedy – dream maker Jerry Seinfeld was enlisted to direct.
The Saturday Night Live alum has figured out a way to make learning about history fun, in part, by pointing every past empire’s foibles and assuring us that our expectations for peace are crazy. Quinn says its ridiculous, for example, for us to expect Muslims, Jews, and Christians to share a Holy Land when sensible people can hardly share an elevator.
And few empires are spared in Quinn’s show. “Germany, we did them a bit,” Quinn starts.
Seinfeld interrupts: “But they weren’t very funny. It was too short to be an empire…they didn’t make it. And the Ottoman Empire did not quite make the cut. An empire based around putting your feet up…we didn’t think it was worth the effort.”
Tag-teaming with Seinfeld, who he’s known for more than 20 years, clearly shaped the performance as Quinn’s delivery follows a tighter pace filled with hilarious one-liners, yet is still expressed with the same dry, intelligent sarcasm that’s made him one of country’s most endeared comedians.
“I’m very smart about being funny and he’s very funny about being smart,” Seinfeld reflects on the pair working together on his stage directing debut.
“I thought he was just going to be a figurehead,” admits Quinn. “You need a name to be on a show or reviewers are not going to review it.” But the comic-turned-sitcom legend proved a crucial element in terms of adding stage movements and keeping the show topical and helping with re-writes.
Asked where he learned about stage movements, Seinfeld dead-pan answers, “I had a sitcom once. Maybe you heard of it?”
The pair explained that Quinn’s vision for his satirical takedown of history’s greatest empires needed a ‘”container”— that the distractions introduced at traditional comedy clubs waiters dropping checks on tables, hecklers – would have limited the appeal of the show.
But why go Broadway instead of, say, an HBO special? Colin turns to Jerry. Jerry leans over to look off-stage. “Can we even talk about that?” he starts. Then he slips, “There might be an HBO special.”
You’ll have to wait for that, however, if it even comes to pass. For now, gear up for Colin Quinn: Long Story Short on Broadway. Preview performances begin on Oct. 22and will officially open on Nov. 9. The production is scheduled to run through Saturday, Jan. 8. Ticket prices range from $59-$98 and are available through Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or telecharge.com and at the Helen Hayes Theatre Box Office (located at 240 W. 44th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. For more info on the show, check out the official site.