Colin Quinn isn't afraid to tell the difficult truth. You just may have to look closely to figure out what, exactly, that truth is.
During his tenure on "Saturday Night Live," Quinn lampooned current events; while on Broadway, his "Long Story Short" took on the sum total of human history. He's got a keen eye for wrapping up the inanities of our culture in anecdotes and allegories that make us both laugh and cry (for ourselves). He's also taken to Twitter in a, let's say, unique way, playing with fan and reader expectations and doing his best to interact with his audience in non-traditional ways.
Quinn is performing as part of "A Night of Comedy with Jerry Seinfeld & Friends" on Monday at Lincoln Center, to benefit the Baby Buggy Foundation, which is dedicated to providing families in need with essential equipment, products, clothing and educational services for infants and children up to age 12.
Ahead of the gala, HuffPost spoke with Quinn about a multitude of topics, from history to politics to the state of comedy.
I'm a huge fan of your Twitter feed ... First of all, you post those great ideas you have for shows. Do they come off the top of your head?
Yeah, I mean, it's just off the top of my head, but I'm definitely lampooning Hollywood, too.
It sounds like half of them could be real.
Yeah, they have a grain of truth, I guess. But I'm just screwing around. Like, somebody will say something on Twitter and I'll be like, 'Oh yeah,' and try to add my idea. I just start thinking about hosting one of those award shows.
What did you think of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes?
It was fun. I mean, I didn't think it was really weird. I didn't think it was heavy artillery either, by the way. They were acting like it was this wild thing. They'd never have me host if that's how they feel.
What would you say?
Oh my God. I can't even imagine! They wouldn't even let me on there, you know?
Who would your targets be?
Um, I don't know. It depends on who's in the news. Obviously, you try to hit people who don't get hit a lot.
Like Brad Pitt?
Oh, you have to hit Brad Pitt, of course.
What would you say about him?
Well, I mean, I don't know. I'd have to think about it. I don't want to get banned from it, telling you what I would say about him before I'm even on it. I'm getting banned just talking about it. In theory, you would have to hammer a guy like Brad Pitt, Mr. Perfect. I mean, I've talked about him on stage. I've talked about how he just got caught looking, how one minute he was this guy Brad Pitt, running the world, and then he got caught looking by Angelina Jolie -- next thing you know he's, like, in the Khyber Pass, stoned on some Bengali hash. He has kids from eight countries, he doesn't know which ones are his.
Herman Cain is the ideal celebrity. What's your take on him?
We've got to make a decision in this county. We've got to decide if we're going to admit that every guy in power, who gets the opportunity, is going to do this kind of thing and then roll with it. But I was just thinking about it -- I was watching [Cain's announcement that he was suspending his campaign] this morning: How could he think that this wouldn't come out? That's the part that amazes me about these guys. They sit down with their team and these guys are like, "Look, we have millions of dollars invested in you. Is there anything that's going to come out that's going to embarrass us?" And then the guy thinks and he goes, "No." And the team is like, "Are you sure? Because you hesitated a little bit." "No, no. There was one thing, it was nonsense."
Meanwhile, here's the way guys think. I'll tell you exactly what happened with Herman Cain, with the one he had the 13-year affair with. She didn't even come into his mind as a problem. He's thinking about the sexual harassment things; he's not even thinking about the one he's been with for fucking 13 years because, subconsciously, he wants a way out of that relationship. So he's thinking, "I'm not even in a relationship." He didn't even count that. It was like, "Nah, that doesn't count, that's different. We broke up months ago." I can just picture, in his mind, being genuinely shocked.
You look at Berlusconi and all these other guys. That's why we need women in charge. Angela Merkel doesn't cheat. Like, Obama -- the only reason he doesn't cheat is because he couldn't get away with it. You telling me a good-looking guy like that wouldn't be out there? I mean, come on. But there's too much focus on him. Every time they talk to [Michelle], she's like, "Yeah, I gotta watch this guy." At some point, we have to decide whether we're going to allow these world leaders to cheat.
Do you think it should be less of an issue?
I mean, at this point, it is getting in the way of certain things. But I don't know, it's such a weird thing, because it doesn't happen with women. Women in power don't do this. We all know men are what men are. But then again, they're saying, "If we didn't penalize them for this, they'd be screwing around all day and none of them would be taking care of business either."
I gotta ask you about the show...
All the stuff I've been talking to you about is the new material I've been trying to work!
Do you ever worry about going in front of a rich audience?
I don't know any comedian who tailors his act to his audience. Maybe people say they do, but I can't even imagine them. I think if you try to tailor your act to anybody, you end up with an act that doesn't work anyway. You can't make everybody laugh. You gotta just do what you think is funny. Just be obstreperous to everybody. That's the beauty of being a comedian: it's the one job you're allowed to do that. We're lucky. We're really lucky.
Tickets for the event are still on sale at BabyBuggy.org.