The Prick in his natural habitat
Nico Parani

Comedians are fascinating creatures. We have our favorite species: the spastic Jim Carreys and Robin Williamses, or even the observational Jerry Seinfeld types.

Then there are those of the parasitic, right-place-right-time species. We can't remember a single line of theirs, and yet there they are, hosting shows, hopping the club circuits, warming the cushy seats next to Letterman and Leno. Their main talent? Being enduring. Their species? The Prick.

Colin Quinn is their poster child. The host of Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn -- a sort of Politically Incorrect without the intelligence -- landed his first TV gig hosting MTV's Remote Control show and then almost immediately moved on to Colin Quinn's Manly World. Then it was Saturday Night Live, where he nabbed the coveted "Weekend Update" spot vacated by Norm MacDonald.


Colin Quinn

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He'd seem to be a rope climber, a networker who plays the Hollywood scene -- except when he says things like, "If you're a winner, you're not a great comedian. To me, the biggest mistake is when comedians think they belong at those trendy parties with all those fucking beautiful people. You don't fucking fit in. We're fucking comedians, man."

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No, this Brooklyn native is a man of the people -- the blue-collar, oft-racist, misogynistic people, that is. When a disgruntled black guest recalled how he'd once been picked up by the cops and incarcerated for "being a black male walking in America on a Tuesday," Quinn offered, "Not to be cruel, but that's what we paid them for." Give him credit for his diverse rotation of regular guests on Tough Crowd. In Quinn fashion, though, the goodwill is laced with smack. "I practice affirmative action on this show," he spouted during one of his monologues. "Today we've got a Jew, an Italian, a black and even a special-needs person."

Colin Quinn isn't the funniest duck in the pond, but maybe he's not supposed to be. America has long had a love affair with Pricks. They can host a party. They say what we're afraid to say. And, just like the best parasites, they endure.

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