When Colin Quinn answered the phone on a recent afternoon, he first needed to vent.
“I’m in a bad mood!” he complained, his pout borderline audible. “Because my mouse is Bluetooth and it’s not working, and I keep doing everything they said to do, and it’s not working. You know how that gets. All you need is one thing on your computer to ruin your whole life.”
What followed was a string of meandering, ever-relatable gripes — his sentences casting off halfway and rushing into the next, frantically bouncing from thought to thought.
It was very Colin Quinn.
The stand-up comedian — most notably known for his tenure on “Saturday Night Live” — will bring his newest show, “One in Every Crowd,” to Bay Street Theater on Saturday, June 23, a performance that may be the last of its kind.
“It’s a lot of stuff. It’s a lot of material,” he said. “Now it’s becoming two shows, so people are really gonna get a bang for their buck. Maybe the night after Bay Street, I’ll split them.”
Each half addresses a different phenomenon that Quinn sees in the world. The first? “The resident asshole wherever you go,” he said.
“The one commonality that everybody in the world has — I don’t care what your race, what your religion, what your political leanings are — all your life, from grade school through every job you’ve had, every team you joined, there’s been one asshole that’s there to make everybody feel miserable and bad,” he said. “And sometimes they’re the leader and sometimes they’re a follower, but there’s always one.”
A segue into the second half of the show — which tackles the breakdown of the nation — still proves to be elusive, he said, but he is hesitant to shy away from the material. It is timely as ever, he noted, and a current state of affairs he predicted years ago.
“It’s sad. I don’t feel happy about it,” he said. “Maybe I would have felt happier if I bet somebody $10 million. Then I would have been happier — if my prediction came true and I had a heavy bet on it.”
Stand-up comedy has proved to be more work than Quinn ever intended it to be, he said, tongue-in-cheek.
“I thought it was gonna be kind of a fun life. It’s a lot of work, especially when you get older,” he said. “Nobody wants to hear a f—–g, anybody old talk. You better really be funny when you’re older. When you’re young, it’s like, ‘Hey, look at this,’ you dress nice, bounce around the stage, ‘Ha, ha.’ When you’re old, it’s like, ‘Eww, what’s this old person doing up here?’ Gotta have something to say that’s really good.”
He peaked at age 14, the Brooklyn native said, embracing his role as the class clown. He took a break through the end of high school — “I was trying to be serious,” he said — before returning to his childhood ambition.
“When I was a little kid, I used to dream that this was my thing,” he said. “And then my first couple of years doing stand-up, I was terrible. I’m not being falsely humble, I promise you. The audience hated me. Somehow, I managed to keep the faith because the comedians were so supportive. If they weren’t always telling me how funny I was, I would have left comedy. I wouldn’t be a stand-up comic because the audience wanted nothing to do with me.
“I bombed more than anybody. It was crazy. I was just a bombing fool. It was really an interesting journey. Anybody with any sense would have left the business.”
It would take Quinn 13 years to become what he considers a real comedian, he said.
“It felt great. It took a long time, but it felt great. It was definitely one of those things where I was so happy. And then, as you go on, you keep trying to explore more and more,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done so much work on this show at Bay Street. I feel like it all gets laughs and it’s all about something, you know? Not just the country itself, but humanity and human behavior. I feel proud of it because if feel like none of it’s fluff.”
He caught himself.
“But look, a lot of fluff is great,” he said. “I’m saying, just for me, I don’t want to do the fluff. A lot of people do an hour of fluff and it’s funnier than anything I’ll ever say.”
Colin Quinn will perform on Saturday, June 23, at 8 p.m. at Bay Street Theater, located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. Tickets range from $69 to $99. For more information, please call (631) 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.