Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn Headshot

Comedian

Birth Date: June 6, 1959

Age: 65 years old

Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York

Living by the comedian's rule that nothing is sacred, stand-up comic Colin Quinn was unflinchingly honest when tackling controversial issues like politics and religion, while having no qualms about giving blow-by-blow details of his crazy sexual escapades. But it was that edgy, no-holds-barred approach to comedy - coupled with his trademark gravely voice and mush-mouthed delivery - that made Quinn stand out from the pack. He spent his early career writing for comedy shows like "In Living Color" (Fox, 1990-94) before landing a highly coveted spot on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), taking over as host of "Weekend Update" in 1998. Unfortunately, Quinn was never fully comfortable in the anchor's seat and fans of the show found it difficult to accept him as Norm Macdonald's replacement. After a few failed attempts at hosting his own comedy talk show, Quinn found his footing on the series "The Colin Quinn Show" (Comedy Central, 2003-04), where, along with his comedy club cronies, he threw hilarious barbs at the world or at each other.

In 2010, he embarked on his one-man Broadway show, "Colin Quinn: Long Story Short," which earned critical acclaim and went on to become an award-worthy HBO special. The show served as another platform where the talented performer once again showcased his quick wit and uncompromising style of comedy.

Born on June 6, 1959 in Brooklyn, NY, Quinn was raised in the Park Slope section of the borough the son of teachers. Before turning to stand-up, he worked as a bartender - a job that likely contributed to several bad incidents due to alcohol, including blackouts and spending nights in jail. Quinn quit bartending to pursue his stand-up career in 1984; three years later, he was co-hosting the MTV quiz show "Remote Control" (1987-1990), lending his guttural voice to ask mostly college-age contestants pop culture trivia questions. In addition to stand-up, Quinn spent most of his early career writing for shows like "In Living Color" (Fox, 1990-94), a groundbreaking Afro-centric sketch comedy series that launched the careers of Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, and Jim Carrey. Quinn also wrote the storyline for the feature film "Celtic Pride" (1996) starring "Living Color" alum Damon Wayans and "SNL" player Dan Aykroyd. In 1989, Quinn joined forces with Ben Stiller to produce and perform in the popular comedic short "Goin' Back to Brooklyn," where he parodied rapper LL Cool J's old-school hip-hop classic "Goin' Back to Cali" (1989).

With his comedic career in full swing, Quinn eased into his new role as a writer and featured player on the award-winning sketch comedy series "Saturday Night Live" from 1995 through 1998, the year he became a full cast member. He donned a lion suit to play the character "Lenny the Lion," an animal rights activist who ranted about the problems at the Bronx Zoo. Quinn made popular the character "Joe Blow," a blue-collar worker who came onto the "Weekend Update" segment to complain about his deteriorating neighborhood. In 1998, Quinn took the anchor's chair on the segment after Norm Macdonald was abruptly fired that same year. As anchor, Quinn was sarcastic and a smart aleck, but he too often appeared flustered, uninspired and had a hard time reading off the cue cards, except for when he ended his segment with the catchphrase, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it." For the duration of his hosting gig, fans of the show gave Quinn the cold shoulder as it became painfully clear that he was not cut out for doing one-liners, for which his predecessor was known.

Quinn did not go down in "Saturday Night Live" history as a fan favorite, but he soon found more success on Broadway. In 1998, his one-man show "Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake" earned critical reviews for his portrayals of the colorful characters of his youth - a druggie, a woman who was a perpetual martyr and a toxic alcoholic. After leaving "SNL," he hosted the sketch series "The Colin Quinn Show" (NBC, 2002), only to find it after three episodes for its controversial racial jokes and low ratings. Quinn was exceptionally forthcoming as a comic, which helped land him frequent guest spots on the "The Howard Stern Show" (E!, 1994-2005). Shock jock Stern gave Quinn ample opportunity to regale his listeners with his outrageous sexual escapades that included fellatio from a transvestite, and an incident involving peanut butter and a cat. Quinn hosted the irreverent comedy series "The Colin Quinn Show" (Comedy Central, 2003-04) where he and a group of fellow comics attempt to discuss current and political events. The conversations were often heated, but the arguing was always jovial.

After going back into standup and performing for the USO, Quinn reunited with "SNL" colleagues Adam Sandler, Maya Rudolph, Chris Rock, and Norm Macdonald for "Grown Ups" (2010), a much-maligned ensemble comedy about high school friends who reconnect 30 years after graduation. He next starred in his own special, "Colin Quinn: Long Story Short" (HBO, 2011), a film adaptation of his one-man Broadway show in which he chronicles the breath of human history, from ancient times to modern-day reality TV stars. The critically acclaimed special earned Quinn his first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

Credits

A Toast to 2022!

Self
Special
2022

Patrice O'Neal: Killing Is EasyStream

Self
Movie
2021

Rehab Cabin

Actor
Mr. Granger
Movie
2021

Colin Quinn & Friends: A Parking Lot Comedy Show

Actor
Stand-up
2020

Mike Cannon: Life Begins

Actor
Show
2020

Red State Blue State with Colin Quinn: A CNN Original Series Special Presentation

Actor
Show
2019

The Stand-Up Show With Katherine Ryan

Guest
Show
2019

Today 3rd Hour

Guest
Show
2018

Profile by BuzzFeed News

Guest
Show
2018

The United Nations of Comedy

Actor
Show
2018

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Talk Show the Game ShowStream

Guest
Game Show
2017

Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?

Self
Movie
2017

Colin Quinn: The New York StoryStream

Executive Producer
Stand-up
2016

Colin Quinn: The New York StoryStream

Guest
Stand-up
2016

Colin Quinn: The New York StoryStream

Screenwriter
Stand-up
2016

Match GameStream

Guest
Game Show
2016

Big Jay Oakerson's What's Your F... Deal?!

Guest Star
Show
2016

A Toast to 2015!

Guest
Show
2015

The Daily Show with Trevor NoahStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

Ice & Coco

Guest
Talk
2015

The Jim Gaffigan ShowStream

Guest Star
Himself
Series
2015
80%

Jim Gaffigan Show: Extras

Actor
Show
2015

The Chris Gethard ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2015

TrainwreckStream

Actor
Gordon
Movie
2015
84%

The Meredith Vieira Show

Guest
Talk
2014

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Single Shots

Actor
Show
2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

Grown Ups 2Stream

Actor
Dickie Bailey
Movie
2013
8%

Totally Biased With W. Kamau BellStream

Guest
Series
2012

Comedians in Cars Getting CoffeeStream

Guest
Talk
2012

GirlsStream

Guest Star
Hermie
Series
2012
89%

CBS This Morning: Saturday

Guest
Show
2012

Colin Quinn Long Story Short

Actor
Show
2011

The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS

Guest
Show
2010

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

Guest
Show
2010

The Marriage Ref

Guest
Show
2010

Grown UpsStream

Actor
Dickie Bailey
Movie
2010
10%

The Wanda Sykes Show

Guest
Talk
2009

The Joy Behar Show

Guest
Show
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

Harold

Actor
Reedy
Movie
2008

Today With Kathie Lee & Hoda

Guest
Show
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

The Martha Stewart Show

Guest
Reality
2005

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet ...

Actor
Show
2003

Tough Crowd's Tough Cuts Vol. 2

Host
Show
2003

Tough Crowd's Tough Cuts Vol. 1

Host
Show
2003

Real Time With Bill MaherStream

Guest
Talk
2003

Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn

Host
Show
2002

Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian

Self
Movie
2002
77%

Caroline's Comedy Hour

Host
Show
2000

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

A Night at the RoxburyStream

Actor
Dooey
Movie
1998
11%

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

Crooked Lines

Actor
Annoying Customer
Movie
1997

Theater Talk

Guest
Show
1996

The Chris Rock ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1996

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

Who's the Man?

Actor
Frankie Flynn
Movie
1993

One-Night Stand

Actor
Show
1989

Rock 'n' Roll Hotel

Actor
DJ
Movie
1983

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Actor
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Guest Star
Series
1975

Today

Actor
News
1952

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutColin Quinn