Brian Markinson [Interview]


Hello, Folks! Welcome back to another wonderful interview here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today we are sharing some words from a guy who not only appeared in one of our favorite film’s of 2020, but an absolute legendary star of stage and screen for over 30 years. It’s Brian Markinson, Everyone! 

Brian can be seen, as of last week, in the truly heart-warming film All Joking Aside, where he plays a down and out stand up comedy vet who is hired by a would be open mic-er to work on her act. It is a heart-warming tale that moves along brilliantly to get to the bottom of who these characters are deep down. Brian has the delivery for a true road dog comic with a no frills catalyst for dealing with people’s nonsense. The film is great, and that is by all means thanks to the work of Markinson, as well as the rest of the stunning cast.

Brian has done so much other amazing work, which he will discuss below, including 3 different Woody Allen projects, acclaimed Canadian TV series such as Continuum, Shattered, and the most recent, Tribal. Brian was kind enough to give us a little bit of back ground on his career, working on All Joking Aside, and looking ahead towards the future. 

So without any further babbling from me, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant actor, Brian Markinson!




What initially drew you to the world of entertainment? Was it something you have wanted to do since your youth, or did you simply happen to fall into this world one day?

I got started in high school. I had a great drama teacher who made the process safe and fun. I was also drawn to the community of people that were involved in the program. I decided then that acting was going to be the path I pursued.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

I got my equity card doing a play called Nocturne at a fantastic theatre in New Rochelle, New York called East Coast Playhouse. It was a theatre dedicated to the development of new work. Wonderful playwrights like David Rabe and Percy Granger workshopped their writing there. It had a great subscription audience and critics were not allowed. A very safe place for a writer, director and cast to develop a piece to its full potential. I learned about the importance of collaboration. Art can’t really flourish without it.

You have appeared in 3 different films from one of my personal favorite filmmakers, the legendary Woody Allen. I am curious to know what it is like to work with such a legendary figure. What sets a Woody Allen project apart from the plethora of other filmmakers you have worked with?

I loved working with Woody. He has immense trust in his cast. There is nothing precious about the work. He doesn’t concern himself with vanity. He doesn’t shoot a lot, and much of what he does shoot is in the master shot, so actors can play a scene in real time without the scene being edited to bits. Feels more like theatre. Woody and I played a scene in Curse of the Jade Scorpion walking out of a jazz club in Harlem where he set the camera up across the street and just let it run. No coverage. I think we did 2 or 3 takes and that was it. Absolutely thrilling.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your latest projects, All Joking Aside. What can our readers expect to see? And what made you want to bring this story to the world?

I was approached by the director, Shannon Kohli, who I adore, when we were working together on another project. She asked me to read the script, and I loved the guy, Bob. I said yes immediately. It’s a student/mentor story set in the world of stand-up comedy. It takes a deep dive into the struggles of a young woman, played by Raylene Harewood, who is trying to make it in the world of comedy, and hires an older, retired comic who has heckled her off stage to teach her the ropes . Heart-felt. Funny.



If you were given free range to create and/or star in the biopic of anybody from U.S. history, who would it be?

I am fascinated by Roy Cohn, who was chief-council to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army- McCarthy hearings in 1954, then went on to be one of the most feared attorneys, representing Fred Trump and his son, the 45th president of the USA. Cohn was the template for the Donald Trump we know. Weaponizing fear and lying until the lie becomes truth. I played him in the play Angels In America, and would love another run at him.

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

I am currently in Calgary, filming season 2 of the TV series Tribal. We are filming 10 episodes that will air sometime in 2021.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory speeches.



All Joking Aside [Film]


“Charlene Murray (Charlie to her friends) isn’t your average twenty-one year old.  Inspired by her late father’s unrealized ambitions, she wants nothing more in life than to be a stand-up comic, and is equal parts thrilled and terrified by the fact that she’s finally old enough to get into a comedy club and actually try her material in front of paying customers. So with a fistful of jokes, and her stalwart friend Kim there to get her back, she heads to the Laughing Hyena, one of New York’s faded comedic hot spots, to hit her first ever open mic night.  Glued to his barstool at the back of the room, with his fourth whiskey of the night in hand is Bob Carpenter, and he’s not going to stop heckling until Charlie gives up the microphone.  It doesn’t take long before he gets exactly what he wants, and Charlie, chastened, flees the club with Kim on her tail. When she later returns to the Hyena to talk to the manager Dennis, he tells Charlie that if she really wants to learn the craft, then she’s got to be writing all the time, and studying people who know what they’re doing; people like Bob who, before his marriage and career collapsed and he became an alcoholic heckler, used to be one of the top touring comics in the country.  He pulls out some old VHS tapes of the young and energetic performer, first showing him own the crowd with his raw, edgy material, and then in a different clip from his final performance a few years later, literally attacking them.  Impressed by this new side of him, and with Dennis’ encouragement, Charlie decides that Bob is going to be her mentor whether he likes it or not, and sets about winning him over.   As the two slowly feel each other out, what develops is an unlikely friendship based on broken families, a healthy appreciation of sarcasm, and the undeniable rush of making a whole room full of people laugh.” – October Coast PR





Folks, it’s no secret that we love stand up comedy here at Trainwreck’d Society. We have interviewed dozens of comedic greats of the past and current times. It is such a wildly specific art form that requires so little in the form of physical performance, yet requires so much more mentally than what meets the eye. I’ve heard it said before that, yes, “anyone”, can do stand up comedy simply because it does not require any physical skills beyond a microphone (sometimes) and a voice. But obviously, it takes so much more than just the ability to speak in public. It’s the reason that (at least pre-pandemic, anyway) it felt like 100 new people a day were “starting” in comedy, and 50 people were giving it up, if I had to make some rough estimates. A person could be the most naturally funny person around the old proverbial water cooler at their 9 to 5, but it doesn’t mean they are going to make it in the business, or even have the charisma to pull it off. And that is something that I believe filmmaker Shannon Kohli and screenwriter James Pickering were keenly aware of when they were bringing All Joking Aside to life.

I will be honest with you all, Folks. I am very aware that many times over, films about stand up comedy simply just fall flat. So many times I find myself realizing that my love for stand up comedy is what keeps bringing me to movies that “explore” the world of stand up. And obviously they’re not all going to work. Bull Durham and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch are both technically about baseball, but there is a clear distinction between the two. Not just any film about stand up comedy is going to work. Too often the job and the art form of itself is set aside to dig more into the character themselves, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it always works best when the stand up is integrated consistently into the character development. And I am here to say it loud and proud to you all, All Joking Aside does just that. The story is simple enough, yet with complex characters, secrets lying just below the emotional surface, and a very well written story filled with wit and joy and pain and love, this film pulls off what so many other stand up comedy related films could in the past.



Yes, All Joking Aside is a brilliant film that is well written and shot beautifully. But of course, the film could have totally fallen flat if it weren’t for some damn fine performances. Pretending to be a stand up comic is probably one of the hardest feats to get right in the world of cinema, but hot damn if Raylene Harwood doesn’t absolutely KILL in this film. I believed every single moment of drive she displayed as Charlie. She absolutely CRUSHED it, if I might throw one more stand up related piece of lingo. And of course, veteran actor Brian Markinson gives a performance of his life time as the grizzled old comedy vet. He’s a unique character, but if you are highly engrossed in the world of comedy, I may imagine you could envision a Dave Attell like character who just sort of fell out of the way. Maybe Barry Crimmins. But, maybe we are digging in to deep here. Raylene and Brian made a hell of an on-screen duo, one of the best of the year, in what is most definitely one of the Top Ten films of 2020.


ALL JOKING ASIDE is available now On Demand from Quiver Distribution, wherever you stream great films.



Brandie Posey [Interview]


Hello Folks! Today we have some wonderful words from a full blown KILLER in the world of comedy. It’s Brandie Posey, Everyone! I have been a fan of Brandie’s comedy for quite some time, ever since I first heard her on the Trainwreck’d acclaimed podcast Who’s Your God, hosted by our dear friends Amy Miller and Steve Hernandez. It’s been close to two years since this one singular episode, but it has been a staple in my mind, as I have followed Brandie’s career closely ever since and it has been an absolute delight.

Brandie has co-hosted the incredible podcast, Lady to Lady, for going on 9 years. It’s a wonderful program, and has featured some of our wonderful friends in the past. She also hosts the truly original show Face to Face, that is an absolute must see as well. She digs into these projects and much more in this wonderful interview below. We are so excited to have Posey join the TWS family. It’s truly an honor. With that, please enjoy some amazing words from the great Brandie Posey!




What initially drew you into the world of comedy? Was it something you had aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’d always been a big comedy fan – me & my friends in middle school would watch SNLSeinfeld with notepads & write down our favorite lines, then bring them into lunch the next day. I wanted to write sketch & went to film school where I argued with my professors about the genius of Ace Ventura (I’m a 90’s kid, sue me) then when I graduated I moved to LA & fell in love with alternative stand up at places like the UCB. Paul F Tompkins & Maria Bamford blew my mind & I wanted to be in that world.

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impact your work to date?

I’ve always treated every gig like I was getting paid, even though I’ve done a LOT of free shows over the years, ha. My first paid gig out of town was probably on my first solo tour in 2014 & I learned a ton during that 6 weeks on the road. I am always thankful for a paying audience, they’re more invested a lot of the time than a free audience because they want to get a good night out of what they pay for. I think more shows should charge, and more comedians should really think about what their act is worth to their audience.

As a comic who has been across the country making folks laugh, I am curious to know about some of the more obscure places across the land that you have managed to perform at?

I’ll play just about anywhere, last week I did my first outdoor show in quarantine at a minor league baseball stadium an hour outside of LA. But I’ve playedcemeteries, bowling alleys, dance studios, yoga studios, a truck depot in Central PA – you name it I bet I’ve done some version of it.

And what have been some places that were surprisingly great for stand up comedy? Places that people would not believe are gold mines, or at least good, to perform? 

My favorite show a few years back was in Whitesburg, KY. I’m a huge fan of the Leftist podcast Trillbilly Worker’s Party & had an extra day on tour so I reached out to see if they wanted to meet up & throw a show that night, we were close to Halloween. My openers were a Dolly Parton cover band & a Latinx gal painted like a skeleton dancing to Dia De Los Muertos songs. The audience was a bunch of Appalachian witches & college kids from the surrounding area, it was a total blast. I’m the first comic to ever come through Whitesburg & I’d recommend it to anyone worth a shit.

I am very intrigued by your show that you have taken across the country entitled “Picture This”. Could you tell our readers a bit about this project? How did this idea come to fruition?

“Picture This” is a show that I co-created with Sam Varela my producing partner, it pairs up comedians with animators who draw their jokes during their set. It’s like dealing with the most talented heckler of all time! Remember that old Bugs Bunny costume Duck Amuck where Daffy keeps getting erased & redrawn as different things? It has that vibe haha. We’ve been doing the show in LA for over 9 years now to sold out crowds & in NY for about 6 years now too. We’ve taken it to a ton of festivals & even played the Kennedy Center twice. Now we do the show monthly over Zoom which has been great because we’ve been able to merge our artists & comics from around the country onto the same show. It’s the most fun I have in comedy.



And since it almost seems mandatory these days, you have a wonderful podcast entitled Lady to Lady, which you have had several guests that were also kind enough to grace the TWS pages (Martha Kelly, Blair Socci, Steph Tolev, Christine Lakin, & more!). Can you tell us a bit about the show for those readers out there who may not be familiar?

Lady to Lady is myself, Babs Gray & Tess Barker. We’ve been going for over 9 years now too & every week we feature a different female identifying comedian (although every once in a while we’ll have on French Stewart haha). We goof off & play games & answer advice & it’s like being at the funniest brunch of all time. We also do ridiculous stunts like we were sent a sex machine by a PR company a few years ago & we sold it off to raise money for a party bus for some listeners & us to go to Magic Mike XXL in Last Vegas, which was a total blast!

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

I’m waiting patiently for live stand up to come back, so you can’t really see me live any time soon, but Lady to Lady drops every Wednesday & we have been doing really fun Zoom shows even 2 months as well – our next one will be on 12/6! “Picture This” is on Zoom every 2nd Saturday of the month & you can get those tickets at Plus just come follow me on twitter & insta at @brandazzle, I have a cute dog & goofy jokes.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This morning I was looking at this old picture of my dog with me dressed up as the East Bunny, it kills me every time.