The title of actor and standup comic Colin Quinn’s latest tour is “One in Every Crowd” – as in one loud, obnoxious person that ruins things for everyone else.
But like his previous one-man shows that focused on the Constitution and the history of New York City, Quinn’s current show is much deeper than jokes about the loudest bloke in the bar. The former “Saturday Night Live” and “Girls” star examines systems of government through the ages and why they were doomed.
He spoke to the Observer last week about the show, the recent allegations currently rocking the entertainment biz, and why he would have never made a good professor.
Q. The last time I saw your show there was a heavy history element. What’s this new show like?
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A. This is more about now. It has history to it and how every system (of government) eventually falls apart. It’s about the breakup of the United States. The country’s going to break up.
Q. In what way? Split it down the middle? Civil war?
A. You’ve got blue cities in red states and red cities in blue states. Will it be a red Monday, Wednesday, Friday and blue Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday? That’s what I’m talking about in the show. We need engineers for that. It’s why nothing ever works. Our country is basically an opinion. That’s what a democracy is. Every gives their opinions. It’s a lot funnier than it sounds.
Q. Did you do a lot of historical research for the show?
A. I always do research. I read a lot of books. It’s more of a conceptual thing. The other show about the constitution or the history of New York. This show is more about mental states – what the mental state puts a monarchy together or communism and why those things fail. That one in every crowd has to ruin things.
Q. Did you find a system better than the others?
A. Obviously democracy works better than tyranny to a degree. But there are positive things in a tyranny and in capitalism and the idea of communism is a good idea, but it works horribly. Everybody gets equal, what’s wrong with that? Capitalism sounds like a great idea, but it’s like anything else. Work hard and make money, but one person wants to find a way to make even more money.
Q. Did have any epiphanies about it?
A. The biggest revelation in my mind from this show is that I’m not really an individual rights person. I don’t like it. People can call me a fascist and a tyrant. Just ’cause I grew up here doesn’t mean I have to agree. I’m more of a benign dictatorship kind of person. I feel like we need a new system. A combination of all the systems in history combined.
Q. A review of a past show said you are kind of like a professor. Is that profession you could see yourself in?
A. No. I really hated school when I was young. It’s like everything else. It becomes a big complex machine that works for some people. I was pretty good in that environment. It just started to annoy me on some level. I don’t think kids are meant genetically to be in school. Work from age 7 to 29, then retire from 30 to 49 to then at 50 go to school and study. That’s when people want to be in school.
Q. What are your thoughts on the onslaught of allegations of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood?
A. I think it’s great. You want to be a dirt bag? Guys are always going to make moves, but it’s the other side of it. Once you start yanking people’s jobs and taking stuff away, we men are saying, “Oh, we see what you’re saying now.” It’s been sort coming because of social media. One of the positive sides is you can go after people and people actually hear it. In the old days, it would be women going out for a drink after work telling each other to “Watch out for him.” I wasn’t that surprised. You may have heard (a guy) was a sleaze, but you didn’t know to what extent. I never saw the depth of what a slap in the face it was (professionally) until people start paying the price. Understand, I’ve hung out with none of the people involved so far. They’re not my friends. Even though I understand people worry about witch hunts. It’s changing something in a great way.
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Where: Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St.
Details: 704-412-5271; www.blumenthalarts.org.