Bobby Collins is perplexed.
The comedian is having a hard time wrapping his head around the popularity of Donald Trump. Baffled and unable to come up with a logical answer, the Queens native offers a conclusion characteristically true to form.
"If you had 35,000 people going to see Donald Trump, 99 percent of these people think wrestling is real," he cracked. "I used to give people the benefit of the doubt. We are good people, but I didn't know we're this stupid ... He's (Trump) a reality television guy. This guy doesn't give a shit about me or anyone else. His god is his money."
Politics and envisioning a future where Trump -- whom Collins joked has "hair the color of Tang" -- is president are scratches on the surface of a hilariously candid and lengthy early March phone conversation I had with the 64-year-old entertainer.
Collins was on the horn to promote tonight's return to the State Theatre in Easton -- where Collins has been a regular, and seasonal favorite, since he first headlined the venue in 1996.
As an added bonus, tonight's performance will be preceded by a stand-up showcase in the theater's Easton Hospital Gallery. The pre-show will feature Lehigh Valley-based comedians Jason J. Brown, Dan Maher and Randy Tonge, with host Ryan Hill.
Collins' previous visit to the State Theatre was recorded for an upcoming stand-up special. At the time of our interview, a release platform or broadcast destination had not been finalized. However, Collins said he is expecting the special to released later this month or in May.
Coming back to Pennsylvania is an experience that still yields plenty of surprises, and fodder, for Collins. "I was in Lancaster one night ... I changed my name to Jedediah and called Uber and they picked me up in a horse and carriage," he deadpanned. "It took me three weeks to get back to the airport."
All kidding aside, Collins -- who resides in Santa Monica, California -- said the northeast still feels like home. Collins said he feels most secure when he is close to his roots.
But that sense of comfort does not stop Collins from pointing out social cues, or lack thereof, and general human behavior that continue to boggle the mind. "Do people not have mirrors in their homes anymore? Sometimes you just want to smack people and go, 'What the fuck?'" he said.
Collins -- a veteran of stand-up comedy of more than 30 years, a Grammy Award nominee, an American Comedy Award recipient and author of the book "On the Inside: Witisms and Wisdomisms" -- said he would eventually like to throw his hat into the talk show ring, preferably as a co-host. Collins also envisions himself at some point staging a theatrical one-man show.
If being in front of television cameras or landing on Broadway does not pan out, the husband and father of three remains undeterred in his mission and his job as a comedian. "My job is, one, to entertain and make people laugh. The other is to educate," he said. "People will listen and open up their eyes if they can laugh at themselves.
"I'm getting older now. I don't want to be around assholes."
Comedian Bobby Collins performs 7:30 tonight at the State Theatre in Easton. The show will be preceded by a stand-up showcase, at 6 o'clock, in the Easton Hospital Gallery. Tickets for Collins cost $30. For tickets and information, visit statetheatre.org or call 610-252-3132.