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A CurtainUp Review
Colin Quinn The New York Story by Simon Saltzman
Dressed in ultra casual riverside chic and sporting stand-out red sneakers, Quinn dives again with unhesitant brio into the kind of personable, persnickety, grievance-listing, faster-than-a-speeding-bullet rant that previously defined such entertaining and well-received monologues as Colin Quinn: Long Story Short > Colin Quinn Short Story this piece is based loosely on his book The Coloring Book from which I gather he has extracted snippets that express his sincere anguish over the political correctness that has helped to eradicate much of the inherent cultural and ethnic characteristics previously provided by our diversity.
If you can keep up with Quinn's choppy narrative delivery (get with the rhythm and you'll be fine), you will undoubtedly be impressed by his touching embrace of the natures of the various peoples from around the world who came and made their individual mark throughout the five boroughs. He's prompted by director Jerry Seinfeld to be more active than necessary or even sensible. However, Quinn ultimately doesn't allow a lot of unnecessary climbing or cavorting distract or detract us from the laugh-inducing journey on which he takes us.
It all begins, in Quinn's telling, with the Lenape Indians who sold Manhattan dirt cheap; also the coming of the Dutch settlers that includes his whimsically dispatched image of wooden-legged Peter Stuyvesant.
I didn't note any particularly new insight or previously un-explored trait among the stream of immigrants that Quinn has, nevertheless deftly ear-marked. But it all boils down to his ingratiating presentation style: Fast, familiar and funny. He also has a talent for pin-pointing and also pricking at the most obvious characteristics and acumen of the people who settled in NYC and who stayed to make it unique among the cities of the world.
Quinn's narrative sweeps us through the decades with barely a breath taken as he gives us a vision of a city in regressive transition. Perhaps the acute observations are meant to make us pull back a little from the political correctness that prevents us from laughing at ourselves.
Quinn has his presentation style down pat and he projects well as he profiles specific types and their distinguishing characteristics with an air of unapologetic candor. He follows up the influence of the early Dutch settlers with that made by the Germans, Irish, Jews, Italian, Puerto Ricans, Asians, Africans etc. Call it Quinn's wake-up call to let humor instead of hubris rein again in a city that he sees changing — in his opinion, for the worse. But, for better or for worse, Quinn has the temerity to end his one-hour stand-up with a (spoiler alert) Polish joke.