Mark Normand [Interview]

 

Happy Friday Folks! And welcome to the finale of our quick week of comedy that has been so wonderful to share with you all. And we are so excited about the amazing comedian we have with us today. He is one of my absolute favorite comedians working today. I know, I say that a lot. But, I seriously can not convey how much I fucking love this guy! It’s Mark Normand Everyone!

I can’t exactly remember how I came across the comedy of Mark Normand. It may have been a Doug Loves Movies appearance somewhere, or maybe a Race Wars appearance? In all honesty, I can only remember hearing him talking about something that was probably so inappropriate in the current situation….and I loved it! So much so, that I had to check out his podcast, Tuesdays with Stories, and 2 years later, I haven’t missed a week. The banter between Mark Normand and his co-host Joe List is an hour long comedy “hang” that I couldn’t imagine not having each week. I have never enjoyed hearing two people shit on themselves and the world around them any more than I do being a huge Tuesgay, as the guys refer to their extremely loyal fan base. Also there’s Chipotle. LOTS of Chipotle.

And of course, Mark is more than just a brilliant podcaster. He is also one of the finest stand comedians I have ever seen. He made several late night appearances last year, and also had an absolutely incredible Comedy Central half hour special that you must see if you haven’t already. He is also one of the hardest work comics out on the road today. Seriously Folks, he is on the road pretty much every damn weekend, and any city you could think of.

 

 

I’ve heard you say in passing that you were an aspiring filmmaker in your previous life, even having attended film school in NYC for a brief period. I was curious as to whether you would be able to elaborate on this phase of your life a bit? What was it that drew you into this line of work at a young age? Was there a particular film that really drew you in?

Oh, Man, I was so rudderless. I was a drunk insecure kid with no direction at all. My folks were getting a tad nervous that I was going to end up with 4 DUIs or as a waiter forever. I knew I was creative and I loved movies so we gave film school a shot. It was wild, living in NYC, learning how to edit, shoot, and make films. But I hated the collaboration of it all. Even if you make an amazing flick, there’s studios and producers and fine print. It was all so daunting. That really turned me off to film. And weirdly enough, I had tried stand up in NOLA a handful of times. I looked in the phone book for comedy clubs and did the open mics at night. And I knew right away that stand up was the real passion, not movie making. So that was it. 

And the age old question: When did the comedy come into play? More importantly, when did you finally realize that you had a talent to make people laugh and enjoy themselves in a somewhat formal setting? 

I used to work at a Mexican restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA (Not bragging) and there was a funny guy there named Ryan who did Improv and stand up and knew that whole world. This is pre internet so I was clueless to anything out side of drinking and house parties. But he convinced me to try a set. I was horrified and put it off for at least 6 months. But I had so little going on in my life that eventually the desperation beat out the fear. I got wasted on vodka and did a 5 minute set at an open mic in Lafayette about 2 hours away. I didn’t want anyone I knew to see me. It went horribly but I loved it. After that I started doing more sets and really working on jokes. It was fun but I never thought I could make a career out of it.

While I would like to consider myself a huge “Tuesgay”, I have to admit that I have only been tuning into your podcast that you do with fellow hilarious person Joe List known as “Tuesdays with Stories”, for about two years. I’ve loved every damn second of it, but I am curious to know about the show’s origin? What brought you and Joe together to dot his thing? And in your personal opinion, what makes you two work so well together?

Hey thanks. 2 years is good because it was a little shaky before that. We were still finding our gay. Now I feel like we’re off and cooking. The whole thing was really Joe’s idea. Joe and I became good buds through comedy, drinking, love of Seinfeld and old movies and irreverent jokes, etc. We were very similar. A big part of comedy is hanging out and waiting to go on and me and Joe are good at that part. We love the hang aspect of comedy. Whether it’s in a green room yucking it up or at a diner till 4 am. He thought, “this would be great to capture on a pod.” We tried having multiple guests on but it wasn’t really gelling. Eventually because scheduling 3 comics a show became too much we just did it with the 2 of us. We slowly built a rhythm and a language and now people really seem to love it. Every ‘comedy’ pod now is “How’d you get started?” “What’s your process?” We just wanted ours to be funny. He goes to one city, I go to another, we come back on Monday and talk about it. In our own kooky way of course.

 

And one random question I am always curious to know whist listening to TWS: What would you give as a rough guess as to how many thousands of dollars have you received in Chipotle gift cards? Your fans seem to be some of the sweetest folks and want to keep you fed. So where you think you are at as total amount?

We have the best fans. They are sweet, smart and gay. I’d say we’re up to about 5k at this point.

One thing that is truly unique about your career that I have noticed is you have to ability to destroy no matter where you go. Sure, some shows are better than others I imagine, but you have said that you were literally have been on stage in a giant arena filled with people coming to see your pal Amy Schumer headline, and then would be doing a bar show for 15 people later that night. As a non-comedian, and generally just not funny person, this seems like a complete mindfuck! So how do you handle these types of situation, and manage to keep yourself somewhat sane? 

First off, I bomb a lot and I wouldn’t call myself sane. But thanks. Yeah, comedy is funny and if there’s 20,000 people in an arena or 20 at a bar show it’s still just people. All those people have the same weird worries and concerns no matter how many or few there are. And as a comic we can tap into that, the number doesn’t really matter. The real challenge is getting them to listen to you or trust that you’re funny. That’s the part of comedy that’s really challenging in the beginning. I just like telling jokes to strangers. I have weird thoughts that people find strange but if you put humor behind it for some reason people tend to go with it. 

Being one of the hardest working and constantly traveling comedians in the business, it seems like there are very few places across the U.S. that you haven’t performed in. So with that, I am always curious to know what may be some hidden gems for comedy across the country? What are some places that most people would never consider as great places to perform or watch stand up?

Comedy has taken me EVERYWHERE!!! UK, Middle East, Australia, Iowa. It’s wild. But literally every weekend I go out to some city in the US or Canada. There’s some amazing spots out there. Much like people, just about every city has something. Some hidden gems I would’ve never known about are Madison, WI. Love that spot. Ann Arbor, MI is so great. Santa Barbara is awesome. Asheville, NC too. Great spots.

In 2016 you appeared in the wonderful series “Horace & Pete” alongside our friend and past guest Liza Treyger. And I thought you did a truly amazing job amongst a real powerhouse of acting chops. So how was your experience working on this somewhat secretive project? Was this your first real “acting” gig?

Wow, I thought I looked horrible on that. I cannot act. I was freaking out the whole time on that show. It was wild. I was in way over my head. Working with Alan Alda, Edie Falco, Buscemi, Laurie Metcalf. That was insane. I’m still blown away I got that opportunity. I’m not sure it was my first acting gig but it was definitely the one I cared about the most. 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I’ve been touring with a fun hour that’s really humming at the moment and would love to get that out there. I’m pitching shows that’ll never get made but it briefly gives you hope for the moment, so that’s nice. Just look for more stand up, podcasts, online stuff and jokes. Always working on those. I love jokes. To see some follow me on twitter and Insta. And check out my pod if you’re not easily offended. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Somebody recently posted a video of a baby pig being showered and it was too much to handle.

 

 

Find Mark at city near you throughout 2019. Some dates are below, but be sure to check out marknormandcomedy.com, as he is continuously adding cities and is likely to be somewhere close by (including this weekend in St. Louis, MO at the only comedy club I have ever been to, fun fact):

January 11th & 12th : St. Louis, MO @ The Funny Bone

January 19th: Miami, FL @ Magic City Casino

January 24th – 26th: Uncasville, CT @ Comix @ Mohican Sun Casino

January 29th: New York City, NY @ The Village Underground (Live Tuesday’s with Stories)

February 6th – 9th: Cleveland, OH @ Hilarities Comedy Club

February 14th – 16th: Raleigh, NC @ Goodnight’s Comedy Club

February 22nd – 24th: Syracuse, NY @ The Funny Bone

February 28th – March 3rd: Philadelphia, PA @ Helium Comedy Club

March 14th – 16th: Royal Oaks, MI @ Comedy Castle

March 20th – 24th: Las Vegas, NV @ Comedy Cellar Vegas in the Rio

April 4th – 6th: Madison, WI @ Comedy on State

April 11th – 14th: Atlanta, GA @ Laughing Skull Lounge

May 18th: Columbus, OH @ Sonic Temple Music Festival

 

And check out this clip of Mark performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon late last year:

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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