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Colin Quinn in Red State Blue State

Review of Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State at Minetta Lane Theatre

Tulis McCall
Tulis McCall

Colin Quinn has a keen eye and a big mouth. Thank God. What most of us would view as a sorry state of affairs Quinn sees as a feast for the taking. With so much going wrong and so much more wrong-headed behavior coming down the pike, Quinn is like a guy who hasn't eaten red meat in a month of Sundays looking at a beautiful hamburger - beer and french fries included of course....

Quinn is not predictable or dependable. While the right-wing may be in his cross-hairs, the left (you know, people like US - normal people who know what is true...) is not safe either. Freedom of speech is overrated. Consider that it's direct descendant is Social Media where the butthead most stupid people in the world are given as much air time as they want. Granted there are a few extraordinary voices out there - but the traffic is running neck and neck. People who you would not cross the street to listen to have soap boxes the size of Delaware - why? - because they can.

America is great but maybe not the greatest country in the world. Be careful around whom you say that or even think it. We are definitely the leader in ice-cube production and usage, which becomes a great equalizer when you compare the average person's American soda glass contents with, let's say, the Queen of England who would only be allowed the customary one cube.

Why this is called Red State Blue State is a mystery, event though he is dressed in red and blue. Quinn does pose the idea that we are a nation divided as red and blue. Actually we are a world divided, and our job is to figure out how to get along. On this path Quinn has noticed the cards stacked against us. In the world and in the country. His philosophy is that we should consider shrinking it down to something smaller than a state but bigger than a family. Families are sources of molecule-sized insanity and the problem is that, considering that we all come from families, we are defenseless against it. But the notion of countries - well that is just over reaching. Natural boundaries should be respected at the very least. As proof of the dysfunctionality of the present system, Quinn will be happy to give you a blow-by-blow assessment of of the state of our states. It is hilarious - but not pretty.

Still, when he dismisses us after 90 or so minutes, instead of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, we walk out of the Minetta Lane Theatre with a jaunty gait. Although Quinn disparages most of the immediate world, he does it with a light touch. He also repurposes and recycles his material, and makes it work. Opinions on the Constitution, international relations, the two party-system have not changed. He has, perhaps at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, brought them back in a new set of clothes. He has read and studied and read some more. Life is easily broken down into simple truths that, if most people got their noses above the water level, they would see for themselves. Quinn understands that we are walking around with blinders on, and he does not condemn us for that. Instead he steps into our field of vision and makes it impossible to look away. Quinn makes you smile as you squirm. Quinn is a comedian who sticks to your ribs. Bravo.

(Photo by Monique Carboni)

"Colin Quinn always seems like a barstool philosopher, some guy you'd see holding forth — entertainingly, pint in hand — down at the corner pub... Good for him, then, for walking the walk: getting dressed, leaving the house and finding a whole theater full of people who, at one point or another in this 75-minute performance, surely clash with him on something. In a smart, if sometimes shaggy, monologue that ponders an ideologically riven nation, Mr. Quinn is not firmly allied to one side or another."
Laura Collins-Hughes for New York Times

"At a brisk 75 minutes, Red State Blue State has a fairly high laugh rate and, despite its hot-button topicality, feels designed to unite, not offend. We may be hopelessly divided as a country, but Quinn stakes out territory for comedy as a temporary common ground."
Raven Snook for Time Out New York

"Quinn is at his funniest when he takes on — no surprise — Donald Trump. He doesn't resort to the beach-blond wig, the obscenely long red tie or turning his mouth into a cat's anus. Quinn doesn't even sound that much like the president, but he replicates his one-syllable bombast ("great") to perfection. So how come every state in the union, even those that didn't vote for Trump, get the same one or two-sentence take-down? (Michigan: "No one's going back to Detroit. Drop it.") Red State Blue State is the ultimate feel-good false-equivalency show."
Robert Hofler for The Wrap

"The country is hopelessly divided, with liberals and conservatives bashing each other in the halls of government, the media and occasionally even in the streets. It seems an intractable situation, even to the most astute of pundits. So we might as well laugh about it, if only to ward off the feelings of despair, right? That unfortunate state of our union provides the subject matter for Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State, in which the gravelly voiced comedian dissects the current social and political climate with his usual cutting wit and keen observations. He also shows remarkable restraint, managing not to mention the name "Trump" until nearly the show's midpoint."
Frank Scheck for Hollywood Reporter

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