Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn
comedic talk show
. The show featured
roundtable discussions, inviting various guests of many views,
mixing mostly comics/entertainers expressing themselves with
journalists and political figures. Quinn's regular guests consisted mainly of
Comedy Central affiliated comedians from the Comedy Cellar in New York City.
It aired weeknights at
11:30 p.m. ET, immediately following The Daily Show with Jon
. The show was similar in content to The Colin
, Quinn's previous TV show.
In 2002, Tough Crowd
debuted on Comedy Central with an
eight-episode test series which ran Mondays through Thursdays from
December 9 to December 19. The show was picked up in January 2003,
and the regular series began its 21-week run on March 10, 2003. The
show was placed on an "indefinite hiatus" in October 2004, with
what was presumably its final episode airing the Thursday following
Election Day in 2004.
The show featured Colin Quinn
guests discussing current
events and issues. The emphasis was on politics, current events and
social issues. The show opened with a monologue
by Quinn; after the opening credits.
Near the end there was usually a sketch
of some sort, followed by each of the
four guests doing a brief monologue on a particular topic that was
discussed earlier in the episode.
The show was presented as an alternative, unpolished and more
accessible political "round-table" discussion/shouting-match
program in the manner of CNN's Crossfire
, taking cue from
Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect
. Part of Quinn's
approach made it a point not to edit out jokes that bombed, often
leading to uncomfortable pauses which may have appeared awkward to
the mainstream television audience.
These comedians were regularly rotated into the show's panels and
were often paired together:
These comedians made numerous appearances, with some serving as
These well-known comedians made only one or few appearances:
Series finale and epilogue
Jim Norton addressed the program's demise on his blog
, where he mentioned that Comedy Central would send
down notes to the show discouraging the predominate focus on
political topics and discussions about race and ethnic issues. The
network claimed this was only because they already had
scripted/talk programming that addressed these issues, referring to
the The Daily Show
with Jon Stewart
and Chappelle's Show
, and warned that some
of the views expressed on Tough Crowd
did not appeal to
the demographics at which Comedy
's current business model was aimed.
The last show contained emotional monologues by Quinn, who attacked
his detractors (such as The New
) as being hypocritical and elitist for their
negative reviews. He also attempted to define "comedic integrity"
as the ability to critique the hypocrisy of society, but to be real
enough to admit that you are as guilty of it as anyone else. The
implication was that many political comedians spend all their time
criticizing society and others, but rarely themselves.
After placing Tough Crowd
on hiatus, Comedy Central
attempted to fill the vacant timeslot with various programs,
including Too Late with
Graham Norton Effect
, and repeats of The Daily Show with Jon
, and Stella
– all of which were met with
the same limited success "Tough Crowd" had experienced. Ironically,
Comedy Central eventually found success in the 11:30 PM time slot
with The Colbert Report
's scripted spin-off
of the very popular "Daily Show" and an ironic send-up of "fair and
balanced" political talk shows and the conservative values that
"Tough Crowd" once advocated.