Brooklyn-bred stand-up comedian, actor and writer for Saturday Night Live, Amy Schumer’s father in the blockbuster Trainwreck and coffee shop owner in the hit HBO series GIRLS headlines Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center August 26 (Date has been canceled and will be rescheduled. All ticket holders will be refunded). The multi-talented comic’s new show pokes fun at all the dweebs in life who make the days go by slower and put a black cloud over just about everything. His observational comedy style covers real life in a way that his biggest influences Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Jackie Mason and Pat Cooper made memorable – with a confidence and bluntness that makes you reflect on your own life.
Later this month, Quinn will tape his fifth one-man show for Netflix, Jerry Seinfeld-directed The New York Story, which played on Broadway last year at the Cherry Lane Theatre, based on Quinn’s The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations In America, focusing on his childhood Park Slope neighborhood as a sample size for the humorous and timely material.
The unapologetic and relatable Quinn got to talking with Hamptons Monthly about his time with SNL, a not-so-lucky trip to the Hamptons in his younger days and his ongoing working relationship with fellow New Yorker Jerry Seinfeld…
Is there anything you tweak at all for a Hamptons audience vs. a New York City audience? Do you find the crowd can be slightly different?
Well the Westhampton theater – we’re not talking about the Hamptons, let’s be honest. Suffolk County is more Brooklyn these days than Brooklyn, so there’s not much of a difference.
In 2010 you were on Broadway for your third one-man show Long Story Short, directed by Jerry Seinfeld and in 2015 you did The New York Story, also directed by Seinfeld and you have worked together on Cop Show. What has been most special about these joint projects with one of comedy’s greatest?
We were always friends. He’s a great collaborator, ’cause he’s very focused and very interested on where the joke is, what’s the joke. So it’s like anything else, when you’re dealing with someone who does what you do they always take it to another level. It’s a dynamic, there’s a shorthand like any business.
You were memorable in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, of course Weekend Update on SNL, which you also wrote for, and several other movie roles, and you have performed several one-man shows over the years. With The New York Story, what can fans expect?
It’s an hour special about the history of New York and New York personalities. But in Westhampton it’s my new show, it’s a human nature type show.
GIRLS on HBO will wrap its sixth and final season in 2017. You’ve appeared on just about every season – do you come up with the shtick for your character, are there ad-libs? It’s just really dry, sarcastic, hilarious humor from your character. What’s been the most fun for you working on Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow’s series?
That’s the writers. I mean you know, those two make it – they have a good vibe, she sets the tone and he sets the tone, there’s not a lot of ego stuff going on there. Everyone there just has a good intention, so it’s never this weird vibe. Even though they were this big show, there’s a lot of work and humility. There’s no attitude which is great.
Assuming you have spent some time over the years in the Hamptons, are there any activities or things you have enjoyed doing in your leisure time here?
I was 19 or 20, I once went to the Oak Beach Inn and my friends left without me. I had to find my way home back to Brooklyn. I woke up in the backyard of some house party and I had to hitchhike home and I had no money. Worst hangover of all time. I don’t think I had any cigarettes at the time. It was a whole day affair.
What do you want people thinking about when they leave Westhampton Performing Arts Center after your show?
I want them to think about what we’re gonna do about these people that I think we call legal criminals, that drain the energy out of every room they’re in, draining everyone’s love of life. Like there’s one person at your job that has to say these little remarks to make everyone feel bad, but they do it in a really subtle way, so it’s hard to call them on. They live for it, they’re like vampires.