VSC // 2011 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 25th, 2012
History, from A to Q.
Come along on a 2,000 year ride as comedian Colin Quinn whisks you through man's history in Colin Quinn: Long Story Short. Starting with uncivilized cavemen and working his way through the Renaissance, Rome, Native American Indians, and the Industrial Revolution, Quinn takes no prisoners as he offers his views on how much the world has changed but mankind has remained essentially the same: selfish, brutish, and often times its own worst enemy.
Who knew that Colin Quinn -- co-host of MTV's Remote Control and mildly entertaining Weekend Update news anchor on Saturday Night Live -- was a smart and observant comedian? And not just smart, but academically smart. Colin Quinn: Long Story Short is more than just a stand-up routine, it's a virtual history lesson squeezed into 75 minutes. No easy feat for a man who once asked contestants inane questions on an ADD-riddled game show.
Colin Quinn is not a household name. The raspy voiced comedian has drifted in and out of the public eye, over the last few decades, never experiencing the breakout success of his many peers. With Colin Quinn: Long Story Short the acerbic comedian is able to show off his storytelling chops without the confines of network television. Directed for the stage by Jerry Seinfeld (yes, THAT Jerry Seinfeld), the show is an amusing romp through history that is often gut busting, occasionally insightful, momentarily lost in its own history, and ultimately a worthwhile ride for fans with above average intelligence.
Quinn's show is set up much like a regular stand-up special, except this is more of a history lesson peppered with jokes. Quinn bounces back and forth from early man to Jersey Shore and everything in between. At times, the history can come off as slightly cumbersome, with moments that feels like he's desperately trying to squeeze in as much information as he can. On the other hand, the show feels fresh because the concept is decidedly unique; I don't think I've ever seen a comedian (especially one like Quinn) attempt to make the past come alive in such a silly way.
Quinn himself is a clever guy, but I've always had an issue with him as a performer. He often seems uneasy on the stage, almost like his material is only 95% rehearsed, stumbling on his words and seeming momentarily lost in his own thoughts. Then again, this may be part of his act to come off as an everyman. Seinfeld's direction is pretty simple, without much flash -- the set is just stone stairs and a screen that shows various images relating to whatever Quinn is talking about. Interestingly, the packaging really touts Jerry's name, but in the end the direction made little difference.
Clocking in at 75 minutes, Colin Quinn: Long Story Short never wears out its welcome. It's a lot of fun and something different, which is saying a lot since most stand-up specials reek of that "been there, done that" smell.
Presented in 1.78:1/1080i high definition widescreen, Colin Quinn: Long Story Short (Blu-ray) is a surprisingly nice transfer from VSC, sporting a deep array of colors and depth, even though the bulk of the show is just one man walking around on stage. The soundtrack is a serviceable LPCM 2.0 mix; nothing spectacular, just Quinn's voice and some musical interludes. The side and rear speakers are engaged a few times, but it's a front heavy track. No subtitles or language tracks.
Bonus features include a commentary track from Quinn and Seinfeld, each joking around and trading funny one-liners. We also get some behind the scenes footage of Seinfeld directing Quinn on stage, and "Press Event Footage" of Anderson Cooper interviewing Quinn and Seinfeld.
Colin Quinn: Long Story Short may not be the funniest special ever recorded, but it's got a lot of moxie and chutzpah to take on the whole of mankind in one single outing. For that, Quinn deserves props.
Recommended for fans of stand-up and history books.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site