Colin Quinn challenges the Constitution in the riotous Unconstitutional

[Donald gives us a rundown of a comic show that hits close to home. — the Artblog editors]

Why does everyone love the Constitution in a country where no one agrees with anything? That is exactly what “Saturday Night Live” alum Colin Quinn debates in his satirical look at America’s history in his one-man show at the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Quinn packs a patriotic punch



Unconstitutional premiered Off-Broadway on the fourth of July last year and has since toured throughout all of the original 13 colonies. Quinn was last seen at the Philadelphia Theatre Company in Long Story Short, a show that earned him a Drama Desk Award and an Emmy nomination for the film adaptation.

Unconstitutional is simply Quinn’s own interpretation of the Constitution (otherwise known as the single greatest four-page document in history, which very few people have ever actually read), signed here in the city of Philadelphia in 1787–and how it has impacted (or not) the United States of America. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, put into full effect in 1789, and has since been amended 27 times.


Quinn digs into the mindset of how the Constitution was formed through several of the articles, sections, and amendments shown on a big screen behind him. In an interview with Fox News last summer, he said, “People always say that the Constitution is a brilliant document, but I don’t get it.” He then added that the American mentality that we know now comes out of the Constitution (a key example of this would be gun-toting fanatics who point to the right to bear arms as support).

Quinn also points out that the United States of America’s political system has gone from modeling Frank Capra’s idealistic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” to the violent insanity displayed in the last scene of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”.

There is no American who is safe in Unconstitutional, as Quinn has a lot of hilarious material to work with. Everyone, from George Washington and Andrew Jackson to Donald Trump and the Kardashians, is fair game. He even manages to roast veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen (otherwise known as The Boss”) with this question: “If you really gave a shit about the working man, why would you do a four-and-a-half hour concert on a Tuesday night?”


Several presidents had their own definitive word courtesy of Quinn (Jimmy Carter: “pussy,” Bill Clinton: “sex maniac”). He also noticed that before John F. Kennedy became president, past presidents weren’t ever looked upon as sex symbols.

Quinn then goes on to compare the end of George W. Bush’s presidency to Bruce Willis escaping the city as it explodes in one of the “Die Hard” movies. Clearly, Quinn is referring to the crash of 2008, which inadvertently fell on President Obama’s lap as a result.

Having taken an Advanced Placement class in United States government and politics class in high school, I grasped a whole new angle of how our past has remained sacred to our country, thanks to Quinn. Colin Quinn Unconstitutional flips the concepts of American history that we thought we knew backwards and forwards. We as an audience, and especially as Americans, are fully able to laugh at our history and at the same time, while remaining in complete amazement at how much we have overcome even though we as human beings haven’t really evolved all that much.


Colin Quinn Unconstitutional runs at the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre through July 6, 2014.