Comedian Colin Quinn. Photograph provided by Keith Sherman & Associates
Colin Quinn is no stranger when it comes to the topic of race in America. According to his new book, “The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America”,which is somewhat of a bio, Colin lived and grew up around a variety of races and colors.
“”I’ve always been interested in ethnicity—particularly black and white,” Colin said in a phone interview. “It seems to be less conversation between races today.”
In the book, Colin takes his readers through a wistful journey of situations and encounters during his early heydays of eyeing comedy. There are nostalgic ruminations and graphic linguistics along the way, but Colin fans know his M.O. when it comes to censorship: he is no choirboy.
Colin is a native New Yorker, a diehard Brooklynite, who grew up during a time and era when the typical neighborhood was characterized by street graffiti and difficult times. The city was practically going bankrupt and the hard times made the people even harder.
However, the anatomy of Colin’s book doesn’t paint a dark picture of the times. Colin instead uses his snappish wit and humor to explore the components of the melting pot he called home. He pulls no punches and never pretends to be an authority when he tackles the multi-cultural environment he was exposed to during the 70s and early 80s.
From Italian to Irish to Hispanic to African American to Jewish and even to Muslim, Colin has no shortage of ethnicities to quip.
“There’s a lot of things being unsaid,” Colin asserted. “I grew up with black people… a lot of people would say, ‘you’re going to get in trouble for writing this book.’
However, through clever expression, Colin manages to maneuver away from offensive terms and predictable stereotypes in his book. He makes it funny, not personal. It’s classic Colin Quinn, sparing no racial or religious assembly from his sarcastic and piercing witticism.
It doesn’t offer a remedy to racial tensions or disharmony in America. It doesn’t literally solve race relations imbedded in human temperament. What it does is give us all something to laugh about—ourselves.
“People in my opinion are getting farther and farther apart,” he says. “When people that are funny or people that mean well stop talking about something, then the only people to talk about it are the people that are really psychotic or really pandering to try to get over in some way.”