Colin Quinn on Surviving a Heart Attack and Hitting Broadway (Extended Interview)


-Already, you’re —
you’re starting trouble. -I thought it would be funny,
like I was gonna do a set. -Yeah.
You’re already doing a bit. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] -You’re already coming out here
doing a bit? -I was doing a bit like,
“Hey, I’m going to do stand-up.” -Yeah, exactly, yeah.
-Then you’d be like, to some producer,
“What’s going on?” -You’re a troublemaker —
you know that? -Well…
-You really are. You’re, like, from the streets.
I get it. [ Laughter ] Hard knocks, man.
It’s cool. Hard knocks. -I get it.
-I get it, man. Thank you for being here
on the show. Thank you for tweeting
about the show. So thoughtful of you.
-Oh. Oh, no. I didn’t tweet.
That wasn’t me. Some lady’s kid — you know, he — he wanted
to play with the phone. You know,
these little kids like — So I lent him my phone.
I wouldn’t do that. -Oh, so a child sent —
-I wouldn’t do that. I love the show.
-“Jimmy Fallon, thank you — thank you so much
for having me on the show. Thanks for the transportation.” That’s the subway.
[ Laughter ] That was a child —
That was a child that did that? -Well, you know, you guys
could have sprung for a limo. [ Laughter ]
-Come on, I know you. But you’re from
the streets, man. -Yeah. I’m sure Shaq didn’t have
a MetroCard out like I did coming for the show.
[ Laughter and applause ] -Did you meet Shaq?
-[ Chuckling ] Yeah. No, I didn’t meet him. -You didn’t meet him?
-No. -I know you’re a big basketball
fan, though. -I am a big basketball fan. I — I had a game in my day. You know what I mean?
-You did? -Yeah.
-Could you have gone pro? -Kind of
an Archie Clark-type game, which is
before everybody’s time. But you guys are from Philly.
You might remember Archie Clark. No? All right.
-Archie Clark? Yeah. -Thank you.
I know, yeah. I was kind of a Kyrie Irving,
Scott Skiles combination. It’s hard to describe my game,
but, you know. I busted my Achilles. Whatever career I could have
had, a couple of years ago, on a movie set,
they were playing basketball, and Richard Lewis was there. And I met Richard Lewis
like twice in my life. But then right before
we’re going, they go, “Do you want to shoot around,
play ball afterwards?” I was like, “Yeah.” And he just gave me
this weird look. You know, Richard Lewis —
he always looks like demonic. [ Laughter ]
-He doesn’t look demonic. -He does, too. Look at his face
from the side like this. [ Light laughter ]
-Wait. You think that — That’s my Richard Lewis
impression. -That’s a —
I’ve never seen you do that. That’s a fantastic impression. If you close your eyes…
[ Laughter ] -Anyway, I felt like
there was a curse — -You think
that Richard Lewis cursed you? -I swear to God —
I know it sounds stupid. But it was just getting
to be dark. And he just gave me a weird,
like, evil look, even though I met him twice —
we’ve always been on good terms. -Yeah. -But he just gave me
this weird look. And I felt like a jarring thing
go through my body. And then 20 minutes later,
I’m writhing in pain. My Achilles is destroyed. -And where was —
where was Richard? He was never there.
-He had left. But, I mean, he left with his,
you know… [ Laughter ]
You don’t give a cur– you don’t
put a curse on somebody and then watch like this.
[ Laughter ] -That’s true, yeah.
-Then you know it’s him. -You put the curse… -You put the curse,
and you leave. -You put the curse,
and you leave — there you go. Of course.
-Yeah, it was weird. -I got to say,
you look good, my friend. -Thanks. -About a year ago,
you had a heart attack. -Yes, I did. -It scared me.
-Yeah, thank you. -That was —
That was frightening, huh? -Yeah, it was pretty crazy.
But, I mean, you know. I thought it would be like
one of those things where, you know,
you turn over a new leaf. -Yeah.
-‘Cause I had had the heart attack. This is the only part
about the heart attack I like, is when people say it,
and everyone’s like, “Ooh.” [ Audience oohs ]
No, I don’t mean to say it. I meant how you feel —
[ Laughter ] -No, we do feel — Yeah.
-I felt that, yeah. -Yeah. Yeah.
-But…yeah. -But did you —
I mean, that’s — it just happened, right? It’s…
-It just happened. And now I know
I’m going to die someday. That’s the only bad part. [ Light laughter ]
-Nothing changed? You’re not, like,
a nicer person or…? -No, I mean, I was —
what bothered me is I — about a month later, I was like, “Yeah, this is really good
to be alive.” Then I’m like — look at this
heart-attack commercial with this guy —
had the same doctor I did. What’s — What’s wrong with me?
What am I — wood? I can’t be
in a heart-attack commercial? [ Laughter ] -You’re upset that you’re not
in a heart-attack commercial? -Yeah.
-That was the problem? -Hey, Colin Quinn. I get laughs for a living, but
the heart is no laughing matter. [ Laughter ]
-Oh, my God! -You know?
-Oh, my God. Don’t do this commercial,
please. -Why? -This is just
already embarrassing. [ Laughter ]
-What? -It’s already —
-You know, last year, I almost had
a permanent mic drop. [ Laughter ] -[ Coughing ] Stop. Please don’t do it. -That last —
The funny line in that — your producer gave me
that one — Sarah. -Oh, really? -Can’t even come up with the
funniest line in my own joke. -Tell me — Tell me about this. Let’s talk about
your one-man show here, “Red State Blue State”
over at the — -You don’t have to
hold it like that. Just like this. You’ve been doing the show
for years. You’re holding it like
this up to the mic. -What do you mean?
-I mean, you’re, like, too intensely holding it,
like this. -What do you want me —
to hold it like it’s a — -Yeah, like this. Like, “So, tell me
about the new show, pal.” -See, this is why
you don’t have a — -If I hosted the show,
here’s how I would be like. “So, what’s up with
this new show, Chief?” [ Light laughter ]
-You wouldn’t show it to me? -Yeah, people are like,
“Hey, let’s have a casual — it’s late night —
you know what I mean? -Looks like you’re
scalping tickets or something. [ Laughter ] -You’re holding it up like it’s,
you know, Kelly and Ryan in the morning. Like, hey —
you know what I mean? Hey, loosen up, pal. That’s all I’m trying to say. -So, tell me about —
tell me about this thing. -[ Laughs ] Oh! [ Laughter ] -[ Stammering ] I want to —
I want to know about it. -Will you — Will you show
the other tweet I sent, please? I really think it’s important that the crowd sees
what’s going on. You don’t understand
the brainwashing that goes on at 30 Rock. [ Laughter ]
-The photos — the caption says, “Less propaganda during
the cultural revolution.” [ Laughter ]
It’s the gift shop. -I go — I walk off the —
off the train, and I walk in the lobby. It says, the NBC Store —
it’s only pictures of Jimmy. [ Laughter ] The whole store.
-Dude. -Everywhere you look,
it’s pictures of Jimmy. -Aren’t you proud of me?
-It’s like Mao Tse-Tun, back in the, you know…
-Get a life. -Well, that’s what the cultural
revolution was, folks. -Did it make you happy —
see, a normal person — this would make them happy.
[ Laughter ] Because you were there
when it first started. -A normal person would never say
that, first of all, about them– A normal person would not look
at pictures of themself and go, “A normal person —
this would make them happy.” [ Laughter ] That’s the first thing
I want to say. [ Laughter and applause ] -But, dude,
I’m not saying I’m normal. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] -But I’m just saying,
wouldn’t you be proud of me? Your old — Your old buddy.
-I love you. -Your old buddy
from the streets. -From Day One, you…
[ Laughter ] I remember you were…
-Brooklyn. -…just a little urchin
on the corner — I said,
“This kid’s gonna do something.” -Yeah, I go [British accent]
“‘ello, Colin Quinn. Can I have…”
[ Laughter ] -Yes.
-Do you do your — -Brooklyn. Brooklyn.
-Do you do — Do you — -[ Laughs ] The Brooklyn accent
came from England, actually. -Do you do accents?
Do you do — Do you do — Do you do accents in this,
in your one-man show? -No, I don’t.
-You don’t do any? -No, it’s not — it’s not — I’m
not Joel Grey and Ben Vereen. This is a serious comedy — [ Laughter ]
Thanks, guys. -If you’re — If you’re playing
a drinking game at home, the Joel Grey drinking game…
[ Laughter ] …take a shot. What — What — No, but
you’re talking about how — -I’m not
the Entertainer of the Year. It’s not a Vegas revue.
This is serious stuff. -I understand.
No, it’s funny. -I’m gonna call Bradley Cooper
onstage? [ Light laughter ] Oh, just laugh. Oh, and it wasn’t a good
reference, but it was topical. [ Laughter ]
-I don’t even — What does it mean?
What does it mean? -Well, yesterday, he was all —
all viral with Lady Gaga. It’s — You know, it was a —
it was a bad reference. But it was topical.
-What’s happening? -I’m not — I’m not gonna
bow down for it. -Have you ever apologized —
-Even though it wasn’t funny. -Have you ever —
-I stand — I stand — -I’m not —
No one’s asking you — No one asking you
to apologize for it. -Well, I think I — Yeah. But I could have
easily groveled. I could have shriveled up
from a lack of humor in a comedian statement.
[ Laughter ] But I chose to stand tall.
-Instead, you rose. -I chose to back it up.
-The cream — The cream — Rise to the top.
-They can’t all — What do they say?
They can’t all be gems. [ Laughter ] -Let’s talk about this —
what is the play about? -Oh. [ Laughs ]
Let’s do it. I got off on the wrong foot when I came out
with my fake stand-up routine. -Your bit, yeah.
[ Laughter ] No one — No one got
that reference, either. -That was…
[ Laughs ] -You came off the wrong foot
for that one, yeah. [ Laughter ]
But… -I didn’t even think I had — I literally almost said
to the guys backstage, “Hey, do you have a mic?” I was gonna do, like, a prop. -God. What are you doing, man?
-I don’t know. Sometimes you get playful,
and people are not in the mood. I’ve been there. I’ve been on the other side
of it myself, so I understand if people
want to stab me right now. I get it. But let’s talk
about the show, yeah. -I haven’t been listening
to anything you said. -Oh. Okay. [ Laughter ] -“Red State Blue State.”
Tell us what this thing is. Please don’t show… Just stop touching everything!
Stop touching everything! Get — Seriously.
Give it to me, man. What’s wrong with you, dude? Can you just — Can you tell us
what this play is about? -Oh, yeah.
On a serious but comic note… [ Laughter ]
-No, but it’s funny. -It’s not funny.
Yeah, you’re right. My show is about the breakup of
the United States, you know. How this country really is on the verge,
on the precipice of a breakup. So it’s about that.
But it’s funny. I mean, you know,
I’m making fun of the fact that we could actually
get to this point. -But you think social media
is one of the reasons why… -Yeah, I feel like
social media — I think free speech was not —
It’s an acoustic art. It was never meant
to go electric. You know what I’m saying? It’s like a Bob Dylan thing. I think once it went electric… -That’s pretty good.
[ Applause ] Wow. Well, you’re killing…
-All right. Yeah. Okay, I’ll take one for 20.
[ Laughter ] -You should open
with that, yeah. -I’ll take one for 20. Isn’t that what Shaq says
on the foul line? [ Audience ohhs ] -Who are you — Jeffrey Ross? [ Laughter ] He’s a roastmaster, man.
I know you. [ Laughter ] No, let’s talk about your bit —
your acts. You used to do
The Lovemaster, right? Isn’t that you?
-[ Laughs ] -No, it was Craig Shoemaker.
-Oh, that’s — that’s right. [ Laughter ] -Now you’re the one
that’s acting up. -Well, no, it’s —
Well, I’m not acting up. I’m just more playing with you,
’cause I know you,
and I feel like — -I know, but, you know, let’s
not get too saccharine about it. Now you’re being weird. -This is what you —
you want me to be. You made this.
-Yeah, it’s true. -The old me from five minutes
ago would’ve been like this… and interested in you.
-Oh, thank you. -The new me is already
on to the next guest. -I like this.
The new, casual Jimmy. -Casual Jimmy. Casual Friday.
Wear, like, a Hawaiian shirt. Picture me in a Hawaiian shirt
and shorts, Crocs. -Let me see you —
You come out in jorts one night. -[ Laughs ]
-Jorts and flip-flops. -Jorts. Social media.
You did that joke, right? -Whoa. Let’s try to keep, you know,
the illusion alive here. “Did that joke.”
It’s a conversation. [ Laughter ] What are you doing, Jimmy?
What are you doing to me? -Oh, my God. -I like to be meta as much
as the next guy, but come on. -Oh, my gosh. [ Laughter ] Oh, my gosh. I’m broken, man. [ Laughter ] But one thing I think
is interesting from this is that you do —
You said that we don’t know what the founding fathers
sounded like. -That’s right. They might
have sounded like Trump. “We the people
of the United States in order to form
a more perfect union! And, by the way, it’s actually
getting pretty perfect! It’s actually pretty fantastic!” [ Laughter ] “James Madison,
tremendously talented person!” [ Laughter and applause ] -You have big news,
though, tonight? ‘Cause this —
You’re extending your run. -Yeah.
I’m extending it two weeks. So, it’s not really —
[ Cheers and applause ] Well, thanks. [ Cheers and applause ] I extended it two weeks.
There’s a lot of people I know that haven’t been
to the show yet. [ Laughter ] Oh, I wasn’t talking about you. I’m just, you know… -It’s just hard to get downtown. -[ Laughs ] You could have at
least thought that out better. Hard to get downtown?
I got d– I live downtown. Show that picture… A little thing we call
the F train, ladies and gentlemen. [ Light laughter ] When I was a youth,
it was the Ind line,
back in those days. -Yeah. My driver doesn’t go
around this neighborhood. -Whoa. [ Audience ohs ] [ Laughter ] -There’s a lot of illusions
being crushed tonight. The casual conversation,
my social-media joke. The fact you’re Mr. Regular Guy,
elbowing people on the train. Singing at the train station
with Justin Timberlake. I’ve watched the show.
I know what goes on. -Yeah. I’ve never sang
in the train station with Justin Timberlake ever. -Well, you sang with
somebody of his caliber. -Yeah.
-Somebody famous. -Miley Cyrus.
-Ooh. [ Laughter ] -I’m not name dropping!
You’re the one that started it. -I thought you did that
as a regular thing. That’s probably
a good regular feature, but it’s probably too much
of a hassle security-wise. -It’s hard, but we pull it off. We work with the NYPD and stuff.
And they help out. -You just went to Puerto Rico.
I watched that whole thing. -You did?
-I know what’s going on. Yeah. -I love you.
Thank you for doing that. I appreciate it.
Thank you for watching. -This whole interview
is turning around now where I’m the good guy
and you’re the villain. [ Light laughter ] If you stay in an interview
long enough, it turns around. -What are you talking about?
There was never a villain here. -Oh, yes. Every interview, there’s
a good person and a villain. I’ve always said that. -You have to put
your coffee cup down, ’cause when we edit this —
We have continuity. -You should have a cigarette for
one of the things when we edit. I’ll be like this, smoking.
Can somebody smoke on TV? You probably
can’t even smoke on TV. -Of course you can’t smoke
on TV, no. -Well, don’t say “of course.” In the old days,
you could smoke on TV. When I was on MTV… [ Cheers and applause ] You weren’t born yet.
I used to smoke on TV. -You did?
-Yeah. -Letterman used to smoke
in between commercial breaks. -Well, but I was
literally smoking on TV. Don’t throw Letterman
in my face. I don’t care what Letterman did.
Letterman is yesterday’s news. We’re talking about me,
here, now. I’m promoting a show
and used to be on MTV. -Yeah, but you’re talking
about old times. -I could have done a great set. I could have just been finishing
my stand-up set right now. [ Laughter ]
-What would you open with? Social media?
-I have no idea. You should’ve left me out there and said,
“Go ahead. Do stand-up.” -How long is the show?
-How long is it? -Yeah. How long
do we have to sit there? [ Laughter ] -And watch this…? [ Laughter ] -An hour and 15.
-An hour and 15? -Oh, it goes by like nothing.
Goes by like nothing. -90 minutes.
-What? -You got to change it up. -90 minutes is longer
than an hour, 15. [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] -That’s the intermission. -That’s where I draw the line.
90 minutes. I’ll leave it at 90. A janitor just comes up. “Sir. You have to leave.
Everyone’s gone.” “All right.”
-You want to play a game? All right. Don’t look at what
I’m writing down. Okay? -Should have let me
play that game before. It looked like fun.
-Yeah. I wanted you to watch it, right? -All right.
-Don’t look at what I’m — -I’m not looking.
[ Laughter ] I’ll look at my thing.
-All right. Ready? Ready for this?
-Whoa. Yes. -What’s 2 plus 2?
-4. -What’s 4 plus 4?
-8. -What’s 8 plus 8?
-16. -What’s 16 plus 16?
-32. -Name a vegetable.
-A carrot. Whoa! ♪♪ -Colin Quinn, everybody! “Red State Blue State” is at Minetta Lane Theatre
through March 16th.

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