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Colin Quinn, the "Weekend Update" anchor from Saturday Night Live who hides some of TV's most pointed and cutting humor behind an amiable shaggy-dog persona, doesn't do many stand-up shows outside his native New York. But -- in what's either the truth or the most blatant ass-kissing by a performer in history -- he's making an exception for Houston.

Quinn says he ran into Laff Stop owner Mark Babbitt in Manhattan this summer and eagerly offered to fill in when Babbitt mentioned another SNL comedian had canceled his Houston gig. "My dream has always been to play in Houston," he growls in his trademark Brooklynese. "No one wants to believe me, but it's true. I always knew it as the place where Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison came from." Another Houston pull was native T. Sean Shannon, an SNL writer who will open the shows here.

Quinn's act will be topical, which is bad news for Houstonians who were hoping for parts of An Irish Wake, the comedian's ravely reviewed one-man Broadway show about his Irish-American neighborhood. Still, it's hard to go wrong with Quinn's political and observational stuff. "I write it all myself, and it is my opinion," he says. "I'm not one of those people who say, 'It's just comedy.' I will back up anything I say with 100 percent guarantees."

What's he expecting from Houston? "A smart crowd, not a lot of people waiting around for dick jokes," he says. "I expect it to live up to its goddamn name, which is a place where good comics come out of. Why else would I haul my ass halfway across the country? See, now all the pressure's on the audience, not me."

Quinn's knowledge of Houston, beyond its being an alleged comedy hotbed, is somewhat limited. He groans when he finds out it's hot and humid here now. "Oh, I'm a goddamn idiot," he says. "I thought, end of August, you know? It'll be all right, I thought.....Well, I'll be wearing shorts for every show. It'll be a combination strip show and comedy show."

Colin Quinn headlines at the Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, August 26 to 28. Showtimes are 8:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (713)524-2333 for tickets. $17.25.

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