Colin Quinn’s “Red State Blue State” Takes on Our Divided Nation
Is America's imperfect union a laughing matter? No. But yes.
Comedian Colin Quinn’s new one-man show — Red State Blue State — has a title that sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss.
And while the Off-Broadway show packs laughs, the ex-Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” anchor has serious matters in his crosshairs.
Like the current state and future of our imperfect union — and how to deal with the Founding Fathers’ fundamental prinicples.
“I think about the Constitution all the time,” Quinn tells RealClearLife, adding that his previous monologue, “Unconstitutional,” was all about it.
“It’s a living document, sure,” Quinn says. “It’s like the Bible. Everybody interprets it for what they want it to mean — in order to get what they want.”
In the opening minutes of Red State Blue State, which Audible.com will record and release at a later date to be announced, Quinn acknowledges that all Americans share similar desires — “family, security, universal values.”
But, he continues, Red Staters and Blue Staters disagree so deeply on how to get those things that we’re on the brink of another civil war.
“Maybe,” he suggests in the show, “we need to take some time apart … consciously uncouple.”
Quinn, 59, who grew up Brooklyn and lives in downtown Manhattan not far from the Minetta Lane Theater — where the show runs through March 3— admits that the situation is dire. “It’s not a laughing matter,” he says. “I wish it were different.”
And for now, there’s a show to do — and a reckoning to face up to. In this case it’s that every relationship comes to a breaking point; a time when enough is enough and too much is, well, too much. Quinn believes we’re there, and he blames two-party political system in which the sides can no longer agree on anything.
“It’s gone too far,” he tells RealClearLife.
Pushing boundaries up to — and beyond — the breaking point forms the crux of the show. “When the director, Bobby Moresco, came on board, he said to me, ‘This show is all about excess.’ And he’s right. I feel like everything starts out as a good idea,” Quinn tells RCL. “Like free speech. And equality. But even they go too far when you really think about.”
“People who sleep until three in the afternoon have the same rights as you,” he continues. “I don’t think so.”
Another thing that’s gone too far is political correctness, especially when it comes to the current war on comedians. On stage and during our interview, he calls the funny business “Orwellian.”
“To march in lockstep” with society’s conventions, he grumbles in the show, isn’t why he got into comedy. The veteran of TV and films like Trainwreck isn’t at all interested in reinforcing “mainstream opinion.”
And while it’s bound to rattle people’s chains, the same goes for fallen comedians like Louis C.K. “I’ll defend any comedian’s right to say what they like even if I don’t like it,” says Quinn.
Like everybody else, he has opinions about how Donald Trump has contributed to the current fractured and fractious United States. “I look at Trump as a main coagulation of hate and rage,” he tells RCL.
In the show he sees Trump’s future and it looks, he says, “like Tony Montana in ‘Scarface.'”
In other words, not well.
Even so, he notes in his show, whenever Trump goes, Red State and Blue State differences will remain. That’s not a laugh line.
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