else in the magical land of television, a local comic turned
worldwide celebrity over the summer.
West Jordan's own Marcus went into the show Last Comic Standing and made it all the way from being one of many at a Tempe audition to one of the final two on stage at the end. Sadly, it was not to be as Marcus became the self-proclaimed Second-To-Last Comic Standing. But all is not lost for the comedic impressionist as national exposure has opened new doors and given him hope to continue his career full time. But that didn't stop him from prematurely spending all the "cash" he didn't win on geeky spur-of-the-moment objects, like the KISS Pinball Machine and a Humvee converted to look like the tank on Thundercats! Now homeless for the moment and forced to apply for new jobs at the Gateway Mall, I got a chance to take some pictures of his new life and chat with the winner of the men's division about his experiences with the show, as well as what he's up to next.
Gavin: What's up Marcus? For those who haven't been watching television for the past two months, tell us a little about yourself.
Marcus: Well, I'm a comedian and nature lover. I enjoy movies, comic books and movies based on comic books. I was on TV on this show called Last Comic Standing and that was fun.
("You can't sleep here at night, sir." says the LoveSac manager.)
Gavin: First off, you came back this past weekend to perform two shows at Wiseguys as sort of a homecoming. What was that like to come back and see all these new local fans who most likely hadn't heard of you a few months ago?
Marcus: It was great. Utah has been really good to me. I have some amazing fans here and every time I perform back here, they all show up. I have made some great new fans. I love my Utah fans, they are the best!
Gavin: How did those shows go for you after being on a national stage the past couple of months?
Marcus: They were packed, it was ridiculous!. It is weird that people think I'm famous now. Everyone wanted pictures and autographs, I'm just the kid from West Jordan, you know. I haven't changed, the way the world sees me has and it is weird. I don't think you could ever get used to that. I am pretty laid back, so I don't take stuff like that too serious, it will go away.
(Nothing like a fresh handful of fountain water to start your day.)
Gavin: Being on Last Comic Standing, what was it like for you going up on stage each week and knowing you were performing for a world-wide audience every time?
Marcus: That was great, in fact that was the best part. Getting to share what I love to do with the world was amazing. I have received fan emails from all over the US as well as the UK, it is crazy. I am very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to do this as my job now, it is the coolest job in the world!
Gavin: Was there ever a point where you felt really overwhelmed by it, or were you just enjoying the ride all the way?
Marcus: Oh no, I had a nervous breakdown about 4 days in to filming in the house. It was crazy trying to adjust to having cameras in your face every minute of the day. I woke up one day to a camera crew filming me sleep, it was too much. We shared one bathroom between 6 people, slept in crappy bunk beds, nobody cleaned up after themselves, we didn't have phones or internet, I just lost it. I couldn't handle it at first, after I had my meltdown, I was fine in the house. I do have to say that the stress leading up to the finale was pretty crazy too. The whole thing was pretty crazy. I loved the experience, but I am glad it's over.
(Applying for his new gig at Hotdog On A Stick, Marcus demonstrates how to use condiments.)
Gavin: With all the challenges you did like doing prop-comedy for Carrot Top, performing for Playboy bunnies, dressing up like Wonder Woman... what would you say was your favorite in the whole run?
Marcus: The prop comedy challenge was fun, working with Carrot Top was cool. He was a really cool guy. That was harder than it looks, trying to find the funny in random props was really challenging, but I liked what I did. It was fun to bring my sense of humor to things that I don't typically do. Oh, and I don't think I will ever live down the Wonder Woman episode... ever.
Gavin: Final winnings and placement aside, of the other four finalists who did you feel was the best of them and why?
Marcus: Well, Jeff Dye and me have been friends for years, and I have watched and admired both Louis and Jim, and it is great to be friends with them now. Although the funniest person I have ever met, perhaps the funniest person alive is Sean Cullen. He is a genius and to get to work with him again would be an honor.
(Marcus studies the classics to get his talents back on track)
Gavin: The day of the final performance, what was going through your mind all day and how you were feeling leading up to going on air?
Marcus: Honestly I felt good. I was nervous until I hit the stage and then I knew exactly what to do. Once it was over, I was happy with what I did and knew that no matter what happened, there was nothing more I could have done.
Gavin: I've heard on The Geek Show that you're actually happy you didn't win because of the contract setup you would have gotten. Can you go into detail about that?
Marcus: NBC locks you into a holding deal where they control what you can do for the next year. I got all the exposure, but now I can do what I want and it feels great.
(Bushing up on... other material)
Gavin: Does it shock you to know you've got all these new fans from around the world now, or do you take it in stride knowing this is what was going to happen?
Marcus: I never expected anything. I just went along for the ride. You can't let any of that become important because it goes away. The only thing that matters is what happens next. I have the exposure, now I have to go out there and prove myself.
Gavin: Now that it's over, I see you're booked on the LCS Tour which has you performing clear into February. Who will be performing on that tour and why is there no Utah booking on the list?
Marcus: Top 5 comics. There are a lot of cities that they skipped, no idea why. I am going to be taking care of Utah.
Gavin: I saw that! You're planning to do a local performance in September that will also be a DVD recording. Can you give us details on how that's shaping up?
Marcus: Good. We are going to get the venue squared away with a day or two. Should be a lot of fun. This will be huge, like 6 cameras, all HD, the show will be at least 90 minutes and the DVD will be available all over the world, so I am hoping that people will show up and be just as excited about it as I am.
Gavin: A little state-wise, what's your take on the local comedy circuit, both good and bad?
Marcus: It is good. People are hungry and are really working hard. I would say that if people are serious about comedy, stick to the comedy clubs and stay out of the bars. I think people start off with dirty material because it's easy. Challenge yourself, try to write smart. If you want to do TV and radio, if you want to be marketable, get into a club and work smart.
(Marcus shows off his skills in basketball. Hey, the Jazz are hiring!)
Gavin: Is there anything you think could be done to make it better?
Marcus: Everyone needs to work together. If one comic makes good, it shines a light on the whole scene.
Gavin: Just curious, how many times in a day do you get asked to do Christopher Walken? And do you ever get tired of doing certain impressions, or do you view it as a chance to brush up and perfect them?
Marcus: I don't do impressions when people just ask on the street, that's like when someone finds out you're a comic and they say "alright, then be funny", I just blow it off.
(In an election year, celebrities have influence. Time to get political!)
Gavin: Have you ever gotten any feedback from the people you impersonate about what they think of it?
Marcus: I was supposed to do a bit with Gilbert Gottfried on stage live at the finale, but they had to cut it due to time.
Gavin: I've seen the BET Star Wars bit where you cast Bernie Mac as Obi Wan. What are your thoughts on his passing and the influence he had on you as a comedian.
Marcus: He was a great comic and will be missed.
Gavin: I remember you saying once that your show is mostly based around the music and movies and shows that made you happy. Does it ever feel like you're material is for a selective audience, or do you feel that there's something there that appeals to everyone?
Marcus: At any given show, you will see people of all ages. I think that if you write material that you believe in, people will see the love you have for it and relate. Cosby was a big influence on me, I related to him, and we couldn't be more different. I guess in the end, funny is funny.
Gavin: A little on the tattoos, you've got everything from Hulk Smash to a very well done Sinatra on your arm. Are there any specific tattoos you have yet to do, and is there room for them?
Marcus: I kind of play it by ear, I am sure I will come up with some more crazy ideas. I have plenty of room left.
Gavin: You've said in interviews that people may be wary to hire you for rolls because you'll be the guy who will have to "cover up" based off the artwork. On the flip side of that, do you fear you'll be typecast because of that look?
Marcus: No. I think that as far as my look goes, if people really want to work with me, they will make it work.
(Hey, why not give Channel 2 a shot?)
Gavin: With everything that's happened and is in the works, is there anything specific you would like to do with your career now that you're in the spotlight?
Marcus: I would love to do SNL, that would be awesome. I would love for anyone in the local Utah media to acknowledge that I exist, that would also be cool.
Gavin: Offhand, what has your family thought about the whole experience and how far you've come?
Marcus: My parents are proud, my family is excited. It has been a great thing and should continue to benefit us.
Gavin: At the end of the day, what are your thoughts on the career you've had so far and your outlook on the future of it?
Marcus: It doesn't seem real. I am waiting for it to all go away any day now. I am just going to work as hard as I can and hope this lasts.
Gavin: Aside from the tour and the DVD, what else can we expect from you the rest of the year?
Marcus: That's really it for 2008, but 2009 will be insane. I have a whole bunch of things in the works, I can't really talk about them too much, but let's just say that this is just the beginning.
Gavin: Finally, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Marcus: Stay tuned to my MySpace page for details on the DVD filing and new tour dates.