Quartet of Comics Coming to East End
By Dawn Watson
Comics often say that the best comedy gold comes from a place of pain. If that’s true, then the four big acts coming to the East End this summer will have much to mine, politically speaking.
Regardless of party affiliation, today’s political climate has become a hotbed of activity. Huge news seems to break nearly every single day, certainly more so than any other time in modern American history. Helping us to laugh through the tears will be Colin Quinn, Jay Leno, Trevor Noah and Colin Yost.
First up is Mr. Quinn, who will be performing at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday, May 27. Leading off the funny (not silly) season, the caustic comic will perform some of his signature rants for the Memorial Day weekend crowd.
Best known for his work on “Saturday Night Live,” where he was a featured player and host of “Weekend Update” in the late 1990s, Quinn got his big break in show business as the host of MTV’s “Remote Control” in the late 1980s. He later went on to headline “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” on Comedy Central in the early 2000s. Since, the funny man has reemerged and reinvented himself, sort of, for the millennial market. The standup has broadened his audience base by playing a curmudgeonly supporting character in scripted series and movies, such as the HBO series “Girls” with Lena Dunham and the Amy Schumer film “Trainwreck.”
East End comedy lovers might remember Mr. Quinn from his three week stint at Guild Hall in June of 2011, with his one-man show “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short,” which covered world history from prehistoric times to present day. Directed by East Hampton part-timer Jerry Seinfeld, that standup show was dubbed “The History of the World in 75 Minutes,” which seems like a good jumping-off point for whatever fresh material the comedian might be bringing ’round Sag Harbor this Memorial Day weekend.
The Hamptons will have competing comics during the July 4 weekend. Both Mr. Leno and Mr. Jost will be performing on Saturday, July 1 — the former at the “Season Spectacular” at Guild Hall in East Hampton and the latter at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
Mr. Leno’s act will be a featured highlight during Guild Hall’s big summer benefit. During his performance, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” host is expected to focus on what he does best — gentle ribbing of current mores and social norms, mixed with healthy doses of observational humor.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor-winner and Television Hall of Famer has been in showbiz for decades — the better part of three of them on “The Tonight Show” on NBC. During his long career, he’s starred in countless one-man shows and made memorable appearances on everything from “Good Times” and “Laverne & Shirley” to other late night talk shows, including the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” which happens to be hosted by one of Sagaponack’s more visible residents.
Mr. Leno’s final “Tonight Show” in 2014 was a must-see event starring Billy Crystal, Garth Brooks, Oprah Winfrey, Carol Burnett, Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Sheryl Crow and Chris Paul. The funnyman and avid car collector currently hosts “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC.
Mr. Jost, who owns a home in Montauk, will be bringing his brand of bitingly funny humor to Bay Street on July 1. The standup comic and “Saturday Night Live” star, who has also commanded the “Weekend Update” host’s chair, got his start as a comedy writer for “SNL” after graduating from Harvard University, where he was the president of the Harvard Lampoon.
Named the 2011 Breakout Artist by Caroline’s on Broadway comedy club, Mr. Jost is also a published writer, having authored a handful of “Shouts and Murmurs” for The New Yorker, as well as several opinion pieces for The New York Times Magazine and the Huffington Post. The Writers Guild and Peabody Award-winner, who makes his living talking about current affairs for his day job, is sure to include a considerable dose of political humor during his time on the Bay Street stage.
Batting cleanup for the heavy-hitting comedy lineup this summer is Mr. Noah at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 22. No stranger to the world of politics or highly prized writing, the rising star of comedy is best known for his work hosting the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” He’s also a Writers Guild Award and NAACP Image Award nominee and a New York Times-bestselling author for his 2016 autobiography “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.”
Mr. Noah’s wildly popular book tells the often tumultuous and frequently funny tales of growing up mixed race, which was literally a crime at the time, during the final days of apartheid in South Africa. Shocking at times, the personal narrative is full of impact and experience — including Noah’s heartrending story of the months he and his family were forced to eat caterpillars to stay alive, the time he was thrown from a speeding car by murderous gangsters, and the toils of trying to find someone to date in high school — yet a very funny and relatable thread manages to run through it all.
In addition to his book and headline-grabbing television show on Comedy Central, the prolific and charismatic comedian is also starring in his ninth new comedy special, “Afraid of the Dark” on Netflix. Last year, he debuted the “Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation” one-hour standup special on Comedy Central. For his “You Laugh But It’s True” gig at the PAC, the mature-only audience should expect a healthy smattering and skewering of current events, plus some standout treasures from his sold-out standup shows.
Colin Quinn appears at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday, May 27, at 8 p.m. For tickets and additional information, visit baystreet.org. Jay Leno will perform at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m. as part of the annual summer benefit. Learn more and purchase tickets at guildhall.org. Colin Jost appears at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday, July 1, at 8 p.m. For tickets and additional information, visit baystreet.org. Trevor Noah brings his act to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 22, at 8 p.m. Learn more and purchase tickets at whbpac.org.