Comedian Colin Quinn prepares to return to Stress Factory in Bridgeport

Colin Quinn will perform at the Stress Factory in Bridgeport April 8-9.

Colin Quinn will perform at the Stress Factory in Bridgeport April 8-9.

Courtesy of Colin Quinn / Contributed photo

When Colin Quinn was first starting out in the entertainment business, he landed a role on the MTV game show “Remote Control.” It became a huge sensation among the college crowd, who loved his raspy voice in the “Sing Along with Colin” segments.

In the ’90s, the Brooklyn native became a cast member and writer with “Saturday Night Live,” and his comedic wit was obvious to all. That led to his own show on Comedy Central called “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” and even bigger things on Broadway.

His shows “Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake” and “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short” were smash hits. Other theatrical one-man shows — “Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional, Red State Blue State” and “Colin Quinn: The New York Story” — became must-watch Netflix specials.

Last summer, Quinn filmed “Colin Quinn & Friends: A Parking Lot Comedy Show” at a repurposed drive-in theater in Brooklyn. The special aired on HBO Max in November to positive reviews.

While he hasn’t been able to do much stand-up since the pandemic hit, the comedian will be dusting off his chops and performing at the Stress Factory in Bridgeport for three nights on April 7-9. Hearst CT Media chatted with Quinn about his upcoming shows.

Keith Loria: How have you been spending your time throughout the pandemic?

Colin Quinn: I’ve been writing some stuff, some scripts, but it takes a long time. It’s very hard. I think I’m writing quickly and then suddenly I’m like, “What happened? Where did those three months go?” But I’ve been writing a lot of stuff.

KL: What can anyone coming to the Stress Factory expect from your shows?

CQ: I haven’t really done anything. I’ll be doing some small sets maybe before this, but that’s about it. They will really be getting to see an early version of my new material.

KL: When you’re not on stage, how do you keep your comedy sharp?

CQ: I write all the time, every day. As far as stand up, though, I’m not sharp. The longer you do it, and the more you’ve done it in the past, the easier it is to get back. Because I’ve done it for so long, it won’t take me as long. What I do is I listen to all my old stuff and write all my new stuff a bunch of times, so I’m not grasping when I’m up there. I make sure I am prepared when I am on.

KL: How much of what’s been going on in the world this past year will make its way into your routine?

CQ: Everything. Everyone always says I do history stuff, but it’s really history combined with today. So, it’s all stuff from now.

KL: I’m guessing this is one of the longest stints for you not being on stage. Have you missed it?

CQ: In the early ’90s, I was in Los Angeles and I stopped doing it for probably the same amount of time. That’s how I know how to get back into it. But I haven’t really missed it at all. It’s really weird. I’m surprised, I’m not happy I haven’t missed it, that’s not a good sign, but it’s just a fact. But I’ve been doing this a long time.

KL: I would expect your Stress Factory gigs might be the first night out for a lot of people in the audience as well.

CQ: Yes, and hopefully that excitement will tide it over. It’s going to be weird to see how much I missed it, if I’ve missed it.

KL: You mentioned you were writing a lot. Is there anything in the works as far as new things in 2021?

CQ: There’s always possibilities but I have nothing coming up except some shows. That’s why I love standup, because it’s the one thing you always have. Even when you say you don’t miss it, like me, it’s still such an interesting challenge. Here I am writing all this stuff and I don’t know if it’s funny. But you go up there and see what works and what doesn’t, and it’s exciting.

KL: We share some history in that I was a winning contestant on “Remote Control” back in the day. How did you get involved with that show?

CQ: I love that you were on “Remote Control.” That show was fun. People always ask, “Was that as fun as it looked?” It’s a great example of something that was. I was doing stand-up and they heard my voice and they thought my voice was horrible for an announcer so that’s why I would be perfect. It was really a great experience. I feel my life has come full circle now that you’ve interviewed me.

Colin Quinn will perform at the Stress Factory in Bridgeport, April 7-9. Tickets are $50. For more information, visit bridgeport.stressfactory.com.

Keith Loria is a freelance writer.