By RITA CHARLESTON
For 21st Century Media
It’s comedy time at the Philadelphia Theatre Company with “Unconstitutional,” a new comedy written and performed by popular comedian and Saturday Night Live veteran Colin Quinn. The show runs at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (Broad and Lombard Sts.) through July 6. In his show, Quinn tackles 226 years of America constitutional calamities, offering his own satiric take on our national character, from predator drones to the Kardashians.
Admitting he’s not particularly politically minded, he does say, however, that this is the perfect time for someone like him to take a look at what “our Founding Fathers had in mind when they met in Philadelphia in 1787. I think those guys had in mind that they would rule, not be ruled by the government. But no matter how it all worked out, today we are living in a country where everybody disagrees about everything — except the constitution.”
Quinn first garnered fame in 1987 as the sidekick announcer of the MTV game show, “Remote Control.” Quinn thinks he got the job because people liked the gravelly sound of his voice and thought it was funny. In 1989, he hosted the A&E standup showcase, “Caroline’s Comedy Hour.”
But his biggest break came when he joined SNL. Quinn entertained audiences on that show for five seasons. After that, he hosted a short-lived sketch/variety show called “The Colin Quinn Show,” which led to the thematically similar “Tough Crowd,” and much more.
This funny man first started doing comedy because he felt there was nothing else for him to do. “I was bartending and everyone said I should go into standup. So I went into it because I had just quit drinking and had nothing left to do in the world. It was really that emptiness that made me do it. Before that, I think I was too scared to do it. I got a little bit of a late start. It was just that I realized that I had nothing to lose then. I couldn’t go drinking anymore, so that was it.” And after all these years, it seems to have worked out well for him. His first one-man show was “Sanctifying Grace” off-Broadway. He last appeared at PTC in “Long Story Short,” which earned him a Drama Desk during its Broadway run and an Emmy Award nomination for the film adaptation. A native of Brooklyn, he is a performer known for tackling contemporary social issues with satirical and sharp humor.
And “Unconstitutional” is no exception. He says as often as possible, each show is updated to keep it current. For example, his take on the Kardashians, a family he sees as the embodiment of the American dream.
“Here’s a family whose name has been somewhat tarnished, and yet they’ve managed to overcome that and make themselves into something, I think we are taken with them because they are good looking and have no shame about making a lot of money any way they can.”
IF YOU GO
WHERE: The Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 460 S. Broad St. in Philadelphia.
WHEN: Now through July 6.
INFO.: Call (215) 985-0420.