If we could use anything right now, it's a good laugh — even if it might be at our expense.
And that'll probably be the case if you read Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States, where comedian Colin Quinn roasts every single state in the United States by poking fun at the "quirks and vibes" of the people who live in them, all "within a framework of big-picture thinking about systems of government."
"It is a roast of this country," Colin says about his new book, on sale September 22. "Let's face it." And while no state is spared, Colin did have the most to say about two in particular.
"New York and California, I had to trim a lot," he tells Rach.
Intrigued? Luckily, Colin gave us a sneak peek at his New York roast, along with Ohio's and Arizona's.
New York is different now because of corona but its essence will never change. It's still the place you have to have. It's the party house. The place where everybody knows there's always something going on. You stop in and they are in the middle of something and they barely acknowledge you but they make you feel welcome. They don't smile, but they say, "Hey, the beer's in the fridge. Get it yourself. I'm cleaning up vomit in the street." And meanwhile the rest of the state is shaking its head and going, "I love them, but I don't know how they do it. I think about leaving them every day. I'd be happier with Pennsylvania or Ohio."
Ohio is part of the Northwest Territory from the Treaty of Paris. The first frontier. The first chance for the government to put the system we created into action. The first new states. Ohio. And Ohioans took it seriously. They didn't play around with slavery or greed. They were earnest people. You needed canal-building OCD Germans. That's what Ohio had; it wasn't a state that seemed like it had a lot of resources to get rich, so you had to really want to be just a hardworking farmer. If you got injured, you had nothing coming and that's what you got. And they are still like that. Always in the middle. Half the state has that Kentucky accent, the other half has that Great Lakes accent. They had the auto plants and the steel plants, but were never Detroit or Pittsburgh. Always the middle child. The good middle child.
Arizona became the 48th state in 1912. They took their time, huh? Hey, Arizona, are you sure? We don't want to put you out. Arizona is a model state. By "model" I mean it's beautiful but empty. It doesn't have high-ways—it has runways. It is one of those places that is just blessed with good looks, but it hasn't really done anything with them. You know, what are they supposed to do, have a state fair? Leave that for the fatties up in Iowa and Indiana. People don't want to build anything in Arizona because it's already beautiful. It's like other states have to work to attract people, but Arizona just has to stand there and people wanna buy them drinks. The tourist board in New Jersey or Oklahoma has to take pictures at the right angle and use the right Instagram filters because they know they need to hide some of their flaws. Arizona was hot even before people heard about the Grand Canyon.
From Overstated by Colin Quinn. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.