"Colin Quinn: Long Story Short" at the Helen Hayes Theatre, November 15, 2010
Transferring after a relatively successful off-Broadway run earlier this year, Colin Quinn spends a little more than 75 minutes tromping through the history of the world. Skipping around the globe, his attempt at a sardonic, cynic's view of how we got to where we are boils down to a simple concept. There are two kinds of people in the world, smart guys and tough guys. Smart guys best represented by the Greeks, tough guys by the Romans. The influences of each are omnipresent today, but overall the tough guys generally win. He summarizes, "We're the descendants of the pricks."
There are quite a few laughs, particularly his descriptions of the Holy Roman Empire as the children of alcoholics, and the Incas' under the influence of cocaine producing the best and worst ideas: architecture and science, vs. beheadings and cannibalism.
In the end, there's not much to learn about history, nor does Mr. Quinn share much profundity of his own thoughts about how the world evolved. If anyone remembers Mr. Quinn's time on the Weekend Update desk on Saturday Night Live, there won't be any surprises here. This is a Comedy Central late night stand-up special. Jerry Seinfeld directs, but his impact seems minimal.
Most impressive is David Rockwell's set and video projections, though portions of the set appear leftover from Xanadu.
Colin Quinn: Long Story Short runs through November 9.