When Colin Quinn takes the stage in East Hampton for "Long Story Short," his history of the world in 75 snarky minutes, it will mark a homecoming for the onetime Long Islander and his celebrity director.
"I was a lazy student," Quinn admits, "which most comedians seem to be. I couldn't see myself teaching. I need to get laughs all the time."
He gets them at the expense of the human race -- from cavemen to hedge fund managers. Quinn, who workshopped the show at his old stand-up stamping grounds -- Governor's Comedy Club in Levittown and the Brokerage in Bellmore -- has highlighted similarities between news and history since his "Weekend Update" days at "Saturday Night Live."
"It's all connected," he says. "Humanity never changes. The Old Testament could be right out of today's paper."
He's fascinated with the fall of empires. The Romans and Greeks, for instance. "Tough guys vs. smart guys," he says. Or, put another way, we might shed tears for Antigone. But Snooki? Not so much.
MARQUEE DIRECTOR While Quinn wrote "Long Story Short" himself, he polished it with help from his friend and the show's director-producer, Jerry Seinfeld. "He was my editor," Quinn says, "cutting the fat. He volunteered. Never made a dime off the show." Pausing, he added: "He doesn't need a dime."
Seinfeld's name at the top of the marquee didn't hurt at the box office.
Considering Guild Hall's John Drew Theater is practically in Seinfeld's neighborhood -- he and his wife have a home in East Hampton -- Quinn expects his director to make an appearance. "How could he not?"
WEEKLY UPDATES Quinn, who studied for a year at Stony Brook University in the late '70s before taking up bartending and stand-up on Long Island, approached management at Governor's and the Brokerage while he was developing "Long Story Short." He tinkered with it -- live -- for six weeks of Wednesday nights. Even after the show opened on Broadway, he kept tinkering as world events demanded. A lot has happened since "Story" closed at the Helen Hayes Theatre in March. "I haven't worked it out yet," Quinn says, "but with the Arab Spring and bin Laden, I'll have something new."
After East Hampton, "Long Story Short" moves to Philadelphia. "By then, it'll be time for a break," Quinn says. "Eight shows a week -- solo -- it definitely wears on you."
"Maybe I'll do a show on the economy," he says.
Sounds derivative. No charge for that one, Colin.
WHAT Colin Quinn's "Long Story Short," directed by Jerry Seinfeld
WHEN | WHERE Opens Wednesday, and runs Tuesdays-Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 7 and 10 p.m., through June 26 at Guild Hall's John Drew Theater, 158 Main St., East Hampton
INFO $30-$85, guildhall.org, 631-324-4050