Colin Quinn and Jerry Seinfeld Team Up for “Long Story Short”

The Philadelphia Theater Company hosts the pair's off-Broadway production now through July 10th

Photography by Carol Rosegg

Most will remember Colin Quinn from his five-year stint on Saturday Night Live in the late ’90s—specifically his too-short run as anchor on Weekend Update (well, I thought it was too short). Some—probably those a bit older—may remember Quinn from MTV’s ‘80s, kinda-stoner-but-kinda(-stupid)-awesome quiz show Remote Control. What many may not know is that Quinn, a veteran stand-up comic, has produced, written, and starred in off-Broadway productions. His latest, Long Story Short—now playing at the Philadelphia Theater Company, fresh from a Broadway run—is Quinn’s hilarious take on the rise and fall of societies: from cavemen to Snooki, from the British Empire to blue-plate specials.


The brilliance of this piece is Quinn’s delivery. His speaking voice is like a rolling New York gait: gravely, somewhat confrontational, with a rapid, semi-mumbling cadence. His appearance is just as unassuming. Wearing slacks, an untucked polo short, and a jacket, he paces the stage and gesticulates throughout every topic. But instead of getting knee-deep into subjects or the minutiae of political discourse, he approaches these topics as a “common” man. A very, very funny, “common” man.

While Quinn skewers all nations, empires (“China. One leader. One haircut”), and religions (“Wherever [Jewish people] go, they get chased out immediately; that’s why shalom means hello and goodbye”), the US gets the most attention. From discussing our preoccupation with the pursuit of happiness: “No other government made it their policy to cheer you up.” Or the failure of capitalism: where we “send all of our jobs to other countries, while people from other countries come here to find jobs.” On our obsession with youth and our disdain for aging: “We will give you one dollar off your [early] meal if we don’t have to look at you.”

Director Jerry Seinfeld is a perfect compliment for Quinn. Neither are joke writers. Each finds humor in the everyday, their delivery more akin to a conversation with a friend. (Quinn being the less hysterical friend of the two.) This is expertly displayed in Quinn’s inspired conclusion where modern world politics are equated to people in a bar fight: US, the braggart, surrounded by buddies Australia and England, is looking to pick a fight with Iraq, who US knows has a gun. But once US starts kicking Iraq’s ass, everyone else instantly becomes horrified.

Long Story Short: It is a smart, funny, short, and, yes, educational show. And features a great performance from Quinn. Get tickets as soon as you can.

Long Story Short runs until July 10th at the Philadelphia Theater Company. Click here for ticket information.

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