Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn in 2010
Birth name Colin Edward Quinn
Born (1959-06-06) June 6, 1959
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film
Nationality American
Years active 1984–present
Genres Observational comedy, black comedy, sketch comedy, satire, political satire, news satire
Subject(s) American politics, American culture, current events, race relations, world history, drinking culture
Influences Richard Pryor,[1] George Carlin[2]
Notable works and roles Co-host of Remote Control
Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live
Host of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn

Colin Edward Quinn (born June 6, 1959)[3] is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. On television, he is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, where he anchored Weekend Update, on MTV's 1980s game show Remote Control, where he served as the announcer/sidekick, and as host of Comedy Central's late-night panel show Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. Notable film work includes his role as Dickey Bailey in the Grown Ups films and playing Amy Schumer's father in the film Trainwreck.

Quinn has also become known for his comedic one-man shows that offer his unique takes on history and growing up in New York City. As of 2015, he has written and starred in five shows: Irish Wake, My Two Cents, Long Story Short, Unconstitutional, and The New York Story, two of which he collaborated on with Jerry Seinfeld as director. Long Story Short was filmed as an HBO special that aired on April 9, 2011 and Unconstitutional and The New York Story were released as Netflix specials.

Early life

Quinn was born and raised in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the son of teachers.[3][4] He attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in Stony Brook, Long Island, but did not graduate.[5] He stopped drinking in the early 1980s after several bad experiences with alcohol, including blackouts and arrests.[6]


Early career

Quinn began performing stand-up comedy in 1984, and first achieved fame in 1987 as the sidekick announcer of the MTV game show Remote Control, which lasted five seasons. In 1989, he hosted the A&E stand-up showcase Caroline's Comedy Hour, and wrote and acted in the comedic short/music video "Going Back to Brooklyn" (a parody of LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali") with Ben Stiller. He wrote for In Living Color, and co-wrote and produced the movie Celtic Pride, which starred Damon Wayans and Dan Aykroyd.

Saturday Night Live

In 1995, Quinn was hired by Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured player. He became a full cast member during the 1997–1998 season. He established himself on the show with characters such as "Lenny the Lion" and "Joe Blow", and did the recurring segment "Colin Quinn Explains the New York Times".[7]

He began hosting Weekend Update in January 1998 after Norm Macdonald's firing, and anchored the segment until his departure in 2000. Quinn commented on a number of highly publicized media circuses, including the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal and the Microsoft Anti-Trust Trial.

During his SNL tenure, Quinn was offered the role of Scott Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery by Mike Myers, which he turned down. The role was accepted by Seth Green. Quinn has called it the only project he has regretted turning down.[8]

Television and film work and stand-up

After leaving SNL, Quinn hosted the short-lived The Colin Quinn Show on NBC in the Spring of 2002. The show combined sketch comedy and stand-up in a live-to-tape format. Despite mostly positive reviews from critics, it was cancelled after three episodes.

Quinn had greater success with his subsequent show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, which ran on weekdays on Comedy Central from 2002 to 2004. The show featured a panel of four comedians, with Quinn as host, discussing the social and political issues of the day. The show ran for over 200 episodes.

His stand-up was also used in the animated series Shorties Watchin' Shorties.

Quinn performing during a USO tour in 2005

In 2005, Quinn participated in a USO tour of American military bases around the world, performing stand-up to entertain the troops.[9]

He was the "unofficial co-host" on the Nick DiPaolo show on the now-defunct 92.3 Free FM in New York City, airing Monday-Friday from noon to three. Quinn and DiPaolo were originally slated to host the show together on WJFK-FM, but the station decided not to pick up the show. Quinn was also a regular guest on The Opie & Anthony Show until its run ended in 2014.

Quinn played Dickie Bailey, the childhood rival to Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler's character) in both Grown Ups films. He also currently recurs as Hermie on the HBO series Girls.

Quinn wrote and starred in the L/Studio web series Cop Show, which premiered in February 2015. The series stars Quinn as a satirical, pompous version of himself, starring in a New York City-based crime drama. The show's guest stars have included Jerry Seinfield, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Che, Jim Norton, Pat Cooper, and Amy Schumer.[10]

Quinn had a supporting role in Amy Schumer's film debut, Trainwreck, as her character's father. He was critically praised for his performance.[11]

One-man shows

Quinn made his Broadway debut in 1998 in a one-man show, Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake, co-written with Lou DiMaggio. The show reflected Quinn's upbringing within the Irish-American community of Brooklyn; it was set at a wake in 1976, with Quinn portraying family members and acquaintances who show up for the event.

In 2009, Quinn premiered his second one-man show My Two Cents, which covers the economic crumbling of the American empire.[12]

In 2010, Quinn premiered his third one-man show Colin Quinn Long Story Short on Broadway, directed by Jerry Seinfeld. The show covered world history from prehistoric times to the present, offering satirical takes on the rise and fall of various world empires. Quinn recorded a special performance of the show that aired on HBO on April 9, 2011.[13]

In 2013, Quinn premiered another one-man show on historical themes, Unconstitutional, which covers the United States Constitution, its creation, and its impact on the American psyche.[14]

Quinn starred in his fifth one-man show, The New York Story, in July and August 2015 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. The show was based upon the experiences chronicled in his book, The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America. It delves into his growing up in the ethnically diverse Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and how it has changed over the years into its current state.[15] Jerry Seinfeld, who directed Long Story Short, returned as director.

Social media

Quinn has gained attention for his account on the social network Twitter, where he usually posts deliberately vacuous statements, often in the form of either inspirational statements or boasts about his celebrity status, that are intended to provoke his readers.[14]

Awards and honors

In 2004, Quinn was named No. 56 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all-time.

He was named one the Top 100 Irish Americans of the year in 2004 and 2011 by the magazine Irish America.[7][16]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Rock 'n' Roll Hotel DJ Aired on HBO
1987 Three Men and a Baby Gift Shop Clerk
1988 Crocodile Dundee II Onlooker at Mansion
1988 Married to the Mob Homicide Detective
1993 Who's the Man? Frankie Flynn
1998 A Night at the Roxbury Dooey
2003 Crooked Lines Annoying Customer
2006 Home Himself Documentary Film
2008 Harold Reedy
2009 Paper Boys TV Voiceover
2010 Grown Ups Dickie Bailey
2012 That's My Boy Strip Club DJ
2013 Grown Ups 2 Dickie Bailey
2015 Trainwreck Gordon
2016 Booted Debt Collector


Year Title Role Notes
1987-1990 Remote Control Sidekick/Announcer and writer 9 episodes
1988 The Cosby Show Davey Herbeck 1 episode
1988 2 Hip 4 TV Co-host with Ahmet Zappa unknown episodes
1989 Men Baltimore 1 episode
1989 Caroline's Comedy Hour Host 2 episodes
1989-1990 True Blue 2 episodes
1990 Manly World Also writer
1992 The Ben Stiller Show 1 episode
1992 Gaudy, Bawdy & Blue Mulligan TV Movie
1995 The Larry Sanders Show Cully 1 episode
1995-2000 Saturday Night Live Cast Member 97 episodes
1996 The Christmas Tree Tom TV Movie
1997 Pulp Comics: Jim Breuer Cop 1 episode
1997 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself 1 episode
2002-2004 Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn Host and writer
2003 Windy City Heat Talk Show Guest TV Movie
2008 What About Sal? O'Brien TV Short
2011 Cheat Delivery Boy TV Short
2013-2016 Girls Hermie 6 episodes
2014 The Awesomes Jeff Apelstein 7 episodes
2014-2015 Inside Amy Schumer Judge / Elevator Passenger From Hell 2 episodes
2015 The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Pinocchio 1 episode
2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Himself 1 episode


Year Title Notes
1993 In Living Color TV Series (8 episodes)
1996 Celtic Pride Film written with Judd Apatow
2014 Cop Show 8 episodes


  1. "Colin Quinn". Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  2. Colin Quinn: Tough Guy
  3. 1 2 "Colin Quinn Biography (1959-)". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  4. "Colin Quinn...Irish Comic Standing". (interview) n.d. p. 2. Retrieved June 11, 2015. I grew up in Brooklyn, mixed area...
  5. Rattiner, David (June 2, 2011). "Colin Quinn Talks With Dan's!". Dan's Papers. Southampton, New York: Manhattan Media LLC. In college I stayed on Long Island and went to Stony Brook University. ... I only lasted there a few years, but I never graduated.
  6. Quinn interview,, p. 1
  7. 1 2 Top 100 - 2011: Colin Quinn, Irish America
  8. Rabin, Nathan (June 18, 2003). "Colin Quinn". The Onion A.V. Club.
  9. Garamone, Jim (August 25, 2005). "Around the World in 10 Days, Chairman-Style". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  10. Holcomb-Holland, Lori (3 February 2015). "Colin Quinn's Streaming 'Cop Show' to Satirize Police Dramas". Arts Beat. New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  11. Rosen, Christopher (July 23, 2015). "Colin Quinn is legit good in Trainwreck". Entertainment Weekly.
  12. Broadway World
  13. 1 2 Galchen, Rivka (June 3, 2013). "Framers Reframed". The New Yorker.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Norm Macdonald
Weekend Update anchor
Succeeded by
Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon
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