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Me, My Book and Colin Quinn

A friend emailed me this morning because he heard my name on the KQRS Morning Show. Colin Quinn was the guest. They were discussing the Minneapolis comedy scene. Colin said I was one of his favorite Minnesota comics and one of the most underrated comics out there. Colin Quinn’s hit Broadway show, directed by Jerry Seinfeld, Long Story Short debuts on HBO April 9. I will be watching. I wish him success. I think he is one of the most deserving comics out there.

I met Colin Quinn ten years ago at the Comedy Cellar in New York. I had just self-published my book The Vile File. It was my first time in the big city. I hadn’t much experience at meeting famous people. I have always been socially awkward. A mutual friend of ours, Tony Daro, introduced us. Instead of shaking Colin’s hand, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a book. I wanted to give him a copy. That was a major faux pas — you could tell by the expression on his face. Tony saved my ass. He assured Colin that I wasn’t a whack-job and it was OK to take the book.

The next night I returned to the Comedy Cellar. Colin was standing outside at the bottom of the stairs. He saw me approach and waved for me to come down. Colin had read my sick joke book and liked it. His exact words were, “That’s a funny book.” He said he’d been reading my jokes all day and had been on the phone reading them to others too. He mentioned some famous people. I don’t remember who. My mind went blank when he said that he had shared some with Jerry Seinfeld. I asked, “Did he like them?” Colin shook his head and replied, “Naw.”

It was a roller-coaster-ride of emotion talking to Colin that day. He wanted me to know that I had written some very funny jokes. He wanted me to know that he’d shared my jokes with others who knew a thing or two about comedy. Most importantly he wanted me to know that I should never hand somebody I just met a book. “That was weird,” he said. It was weird. I know that now. Colin taught me something important that day. It was a lesson I took to heart because I could tell he thought I was someone worthy of giving advice. It’s been years since I’ve been back to New York, but it’s nice to know that Colin Quinn still remembers me. Meeting him and talking to him that day was one of the biggest thrills of my career. I hope to see him again. This time I would just shake his hand.

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