By Ray Rahman
Updated May 17, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT
Mike Lavoie

Colin Quinn Unconstitutional

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  • Stage

If you didn?t know, Colin Quinn has a bit of a thing for history. Back in 2010, the scrappy stand-up stalwart who once helmed Saturday Night Live?s Weekend Update held an comedic survey class of the world in ”Long Story Short,” his Jerry Seinfeld-directed one-man show that found its way to Broadway. In Colin Quinn Unconstitutional, a new solo performance piece now playing at Off Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre, he?s back on stage to offer his take on a much more specific slice of history: the U.S. Constitution.

Quinn spends his 70 or so minutes dissecting our nation?s founding document article by article, like a gleefully demented yet strangely astute book report. ”It was written during a four-month drinking binge,” he says, noting that the participants in the Constitutional Convention sought ?a more perfect union. Not perfect—that?s fine for other people—more perfect. That?s the same philosophy as plastic surgery.? Quinn dips regularly into today?s headlines to sharpen his point, bringing up everything from the Kardashian clan to the Boss. ”If Bruce Springsteen is really the working man?s musician,” he asks during a riff on taxes, ”why does he have a four-and-a-half hour concert on a Tuesday night?” Sometimes the gags are little too easy (Reese Witherspoon?s legal woes), but most of the time they?ll have you at least chuckling.

As you might imagine, Quinn spends a lot more time on the first and second amendments while gliding over their sequels. At certain points, you start to wish he spent less time belaboring the gun and free-speech arguments that countless comics before him have already covered extensively. And as he goes through various parts of the Constitution, it can be hard to reconcile some of his ideas politically; Jon Stewart he ain?t. He eventually addresses these concerns, saying he?s ”pro-gay marriage, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, pro-choice. I?m anti-crowding.” In the end, that’s just fine?the important thing is that Quinn is pro-funny. B+

(Tickets: smarttix.com or 212-868-4444)

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Colin Quinn Unconstitutional

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