This week on It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake City we interviewed the man, the myth, the legend, Marcus. Marcus is one of the most successful comedians to come out of Utah. He took time out of his extremely busy schedule to chat with us.
Marcus goes deep on being on Last Comic Standing, ghost hunting and touches on some aspect of being a wrestler.
Check him out for his high energy stand up show and amazing Music Impression Show with Guy Seidel this Friday and Saturday in Ogden. If you don’t, well, I have lost all respect for you and your family doesn’t love you anymore.
As a wrestler, what was your signature takedown move?
Haha, terrible jokes. No, I did a Superkick, like Shawn Michaels, he was the guy who trained me, so I borrowed that. I also liked a good Spine Buster and I would do top rope stuff, Centon Bombs, stuff like that.
If you could choose any person to battle in the wrestling ring, who would it be? Why?
Are you asking who I’d actually fight or who I’d like to “work” a wrestling match with? I wouldn’t fight anyone, not my thing, but I would love to work with a lot of people. CM Punk, Shawn Michaels in his prime, the list goes on and on.
If you could encounter any famous persons’ ghost, who would it be? Who would you ask him to haunt?
Haha, I don’t believe in ghost like that, but I don’t know, Sinatra would be cool.
Coke or Pepsi?
Pepsi. Coke tastes like prune juice.
When did you start doing stand up comedy?
Who are your biggest inspirations in comedy?
I grew up listening to my Dad’s old Bill Cosby albums and the Dr/ Demento show on the radio. The first comedy special I saw was Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious”, blew my mind. I memorized every word. That was probably where I first knew how good comedy could be.
Well, like most comedians, I’ve always done what I do, meaning I’ve always been me. I would make friends laugh, co-workers, stuff like that, so I guess long time, but my first time on a comedy club stage telling actual jokes was about 8 years ago.
Who has been the biggest help for you in your comedy career?
Keith Stubbs, owner of Wiseguy’s. Hands down. He is the only reason I get to do this. He gave me time on his stages, he let me open for real comics in a real club, learn how to control a real comedy room, I was able to grow and develop so that when my chance came along, I was ready. I owe him for my whole career.
What are some of your favorite places to perform outside of Utah?
Everywhere. Crowds are crowds, you know. People are people, funny is funny, I like that. It shows how similar we all are. I do colleges, clubs, theaters, different ages, different demographics, but yet funny makes people laugh. It’s cool. I mean, some cities are more fun to be in, New York, Vegas, Seattle, but everywhere is fun to perform.
You are an amazing impressionist (both voices and musically). Who are some of your favorites to impersonate? Where can people check that out.
I like obscure one that nobody else knows, stuff that only makes my Wife and me laugh. Impressions that just wouldn’t be funny to anyone else but me. I do voices live, but I’m not sure I have anything online that anyone can see. I take down all old videos after a couple years, just so when people search me, they only find stuff that represents where I am now.
How long had you been doing comedy before you tried out for Last Comic Standing?
What was the audition process like?
Terrifying. Standing around for hours then doing 90 seconds in front of two producers in an empty room who determine if you come back for TV or not, That was rough. After that, it was all televised. For the most part anyway.
What was the major factor in you getting a second place finish? (strategy, techniques, etc.)
Don’t know, no one ever challenged me on the show and I think people liked me, not sure I had much to do with it. I think I just went in thinking a guy like me makes for good TV and hopefully I’d be on there long enough for the public to get to know who I was, anything more than that was frosting. I was very lucky to be on the year I was, it was an awesome group to be with.
Who do you still keep in contact with from the show?
Everyone is so busy, I got married since the show, hard to keep up. I haven’t talked to anyone in a couple years, but I still consider Jeff Dye, Jim Tavare and Louis Ramey to be very good friends, it’s just hard to stay in touch like I’d like to.
It was recently announced that LCS would return to TV. What advice would you give to someone wanting to try out?
Do it, be yourself, have fun, hold on.
What got you interesting in ghost hunting?
I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, ghosts, bigfoot, UFOs, etc, every since i was a kid, but it’s only recently that technology caught up with the paranormal field, hence the reason there a thousand shows out there. I’d watch all of them, bigfoot and alien hunters never found anything, but ghost hunters seemed to be able to take their equipment and just have conversations with and see ghosts, so I thought if they can do it, why can’t I? So I bought some equipment, went out to a graveyard and, what do I know, I had a conversation with someone who wasn’t there. Tripped me out. Wanted to know more, so I kind of became obsessed and now it’s turned into a series, “Ghost Hopping”, that I produce, direct and host.
What is the craziest ghost hunting experience you have ever had?
What happened in our 2nd episode of “Ghost Hopping”. We filmed in a basement in Price, Utah and things got really out of hand by the end of the night. I can’t really watch that episode because I don’t remember some of it. It’s scary to think back on. At first we weren’t going to release it, but we knew what happened to us was real and should be seen, so we did. It’s on YouTube.
What is the most haunted place in Utah?
Everywhere. I think this stuff is all around. As I’ve learned, and seen, you don’t have to be in a run down abandoned mental hospital to see a ghost.
You have a web series called Ghost Hopping. How can people check that out?
Yeah, the idea is I travel around entertaining people, but in order to keep myself entertained, I find places to ghost hunt wherever I go. It’s not a comedy per se, but I definitely don’t take myself as seriously as some of the other shows out there. Our take is that not all ghosts are scary, some are jerks, sure, but most are just talkative and curious. We take a more conversational approach. I’m a comedian, my job is to read a room, read the energy, make sure I maintain that. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, we have all felt “energy”, at a concert or comedy show, there’s a buzz in the air, I believe that energy is what’s left behind, so I approach that energy the same way I’d engage a crowd and so far we’ve been very successful at capturing some very impressive and incredible paranormal evidence. We’ve released 3 episodes so far, all filmed in Utah. One in Ogden, one in Price and our third episode, which was filmed at Trolley Square Mall. We were the first team allowed to film in there and wow, what a night. That episode in on YouTube as well. Our next episode, which will be out Feb 3rd, was filmed in Gettysburg, PA. It’s our best yet. We posted the trailer last night. People can see it, as well as all our current episodes on our YouTube channel, YouTube.com/GhostHopping or they can follow us on Twitter @Ghost_Hopping.
You recently opened Dave Chappelle when he came through town, how was that experience for you?
Fast. Ha. I found out about it that afternoon, was there by 6, on stage an hour later, done 15 min after that. Crazy. Met him for a minute, grabbed a picture, talked for a sec, that was it. Awesome night, killer crowd, great experience.
Who are some other people you have been really geeked out to work with?
Dave Attell, Bill Burr, Jim Norton, Brian Posehn, Jim Breuer, Bryan Callen, Bill Bellamy, Steve-O, Harland Williams, Tommy Chong, the list goes on and on. Like I said, having an amazing club like Wiseguy’s around is awesome. Lots of opportunities to work with, and learn from, amazing comics. On a side note, being made fun of by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on LCS was maybe the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.
You are the ultimate performer. Wrestler, Musician, Comedian. What have you enjoyed doing the most? Which is the most difficult?
I enjoy them all, but wreslting was probably the hardest. Takes the most work, time and it hurts. I got banged up a lot, broke bones, tore muscles, stitches, it was crazy. I still love wrestling, never miss it. My wife wrestles now, she’s a badass, love it. Comedy and singing are also loves, but to be honest, since I’ve started doing Ghost Hopping, I’ve really fallen in love with production; directing, editing, sound and visual design, love filming and creating. I’m really hoping to do that more. Would love to direct a film someday.
What is one joke that you have done that has stood out or been a crowd favorite?
Who knows, people love different things. Anything I did on TV was obviously the best known, I don’t know. As soon as a joke is so good that it gets a laugh every time, I dump it, try something new, keep myself challenged. I like the feeling that it might not work, keeps me on my toes.
Why should people come to a Marcus comedy show?
Because I leave it on the stage. There’s comedy, singing, music, it’s a great show. I’m proud of what we do on stage, there’s not many people, in fact I don’t know any, that can do the show we do. 45 minutes of comedy, an hour of singing, 75 different voices and styles, all for not a lot of money, can’t really beat that. I want people to walk out thinking that was one of the best shows they’ve ever seen, and that’s what we try to do every time.
What do you think of the Utah Comedy Scene?
Don’t know much about “the scene”, but I do know there’s a lot of really talented comics around that know how to hustle. I think we have a lot of talent in this town, I’d love to see a bunch of the local dudes blow up and become national headliners, it’s just a tough business. I personally work with Guy Seidel a lot. We’re friends,we have a lot in common. He’s the musical genius behind our Musical Impression Show. That show wouldn’t exist without him. He’s a hell of a comic, he should be touring. I love Andy Gold, Jay Whittaker, Jackson Banks, Spencer King, just to name a few. Those dudes are all friends, all great comics, hustlers, they’re all killing it right now. I think there’s at least a dozen comics around though that are capable of it, hopefully they get that chance that I got. They all deserve it.
How does the Wiseguys venues compare to other comedy clubs around the country?
It’s one of the best. Look at the constant line-up, it’s insane. Wiseguy’s is building an amazing reputation, comics know it’s a place to come, the crowds are great, the club is awesome. It’s an “A” club.
Having toured around the US, what do you think a small market like Utah needs to do to get noticed on the comedy map?
Small? Look at who’s coming to Wiseguy’s at any given time, it’s far from small. We get as many big names as any city, I mean aside from maybe a few names, I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t been here, whether it’s at Wiseguy’s or one of the theaters, the E Center, Energy Solutions, we get everyone.
When shows do you have coming up?
Ogden Wiseguy’s Jan 24th/25th. One show per night at 8pm, but Guy and I are doing both our full comedy show AND our full musical impression show, so it’s basically two shows for the price of one.
How can people connect with you?