Friday, May 4, 2012

Few minutes with Justin Markuss BY Ronald Renwick

Here’s how it goes. I send an interview e-mail they reply, I reply, they reply, pencil’s down.
Justin Markuss, a Pittsburgh native is well known on the local scene as he was a staple at the Funny Bone and can be seen around the tri-state area. He most notably opened for Lisa Lampanelli, TJ Miller, Arte Lange, and Harry Anderson from Night Court. Get to know Justin through bold honesty and hints of sarcasm as he navigates you through his adulthood (“fun”) which entails marriage and making a baby. One can appreciate his keen observation of the world. His interaction with the crowd makes every show unique.
RONALD RENWICK: Why are you still in Pittsburgh?
JUSTIN MARKUSS: Marriage, family, health insurance, money, fries on sandwiches.
RENWICK: You do realize they have health insurance in other states right?
MARKUSS: Yes, but they don’t have the job security my wife (OR nurse) has here with UPMC being the monopoly that it is. And yes, I am sure moving to an overpopulated, overtaxed area with a 1000 times the dregs of society we have here, there will be day jobs just waiting for me comparable to the one I have now. As much as I love comedy, I do want to have a family too…I’m goofy like that. Well, as a person with a comic mind may say, kids = material, but that sounds selfish, then again most comics are Things that are meant to happen, happen. It’s the waiting game that depresses us all.
RENWICK: If Tom Arnold gave you advice what do you think it would be?
MARKUSS: You should have never got married.
RENWICK: What if your wife was Rosanne?
MARKUSS: You would have never had to ask me question 1 if this was the case.
RENWICK: I hear you’re trying to make a baby. Do you need instructions and/or help?
MARKUSS: An accident would have been nice.
RENWICK: I thought you were one?
MARKUSS: Indeed, I was, or “not planned” as my parents would put it.
RENWICK: Do you keep your pimp hand strong?
MARKUSS: It has a ring on it now, so I am unsure of its physical nature.
RENWICK: If you were involved in a fatal bus crash who do you think was driving?
MARKUSS: This interview.
RENWICK: Who are you voting for?
MARKUSS: Captain Crunch
RENWICK: I think he has a fair chance in the Republican race, but is he old enough to run?
MARKUSS: Been around since 1963, so perhaps a little young yet. Ron Paul would probably make him look stupid as he has the other candidates.
RENWICK: You have a chance to do late-night. Leno, Letterman, or O’Brien?
RENWICK: You are clearly unaware that he grows a far superior beard than you. Some would say godlike.
MARKUSS: This is true, but his show tends to be the best in terms of supporting comedians and giving them proper airtime.
RENWICK: Do you ever plan on going to China?
MARKUSS: 隶草 / 隸草 隶草 / 隸草
RENWICK: It’s interesting when you put it that way. Will you take a canoe over and become a police officer?
MARKUSS: I am still trying to find the hooded man in the canoe.
RENWICK: Describe the Pittsburgh comedy scene in 145 characters or less.
MARKUSS: I cannot do 145 impressions, let alone one. So I will just speak for myself in my own voice, not a character in which I put on my hand as a gimmick (of course this is a joke, I am computer savvy – You don’t know ‘bout my bandwidth son!). I feel there is a lot of talent here that is not well represented or respected – some fault can be put on the comedian himself/herself for this. I really cannot stand some audiences here. I don’t think Pittsburgh crowds are open enough to certain material. They are too stubborn; often want Pittsburgh references and Pittsburgh-ese. They can’t get outside of their box and enjoy themselves. On a side note, I think we need more comedy clubs here with bookers that have experience within the comedy industry.
That’s Justin in a nutshell. A sarcastic sensibility with real life issues that I wouldn’t want a subscription to. You can check out his website at (I recommend younger comics read his “Evolution of Material” blog.) He is also a finalist in Gilda’s Great Comedy Search. The finals will be held at the Pittsburgh Improv in June, the date is TBA.

Justin’s Upcoming shows:
Tarentum at the Praha on 5/12 @ 9pm; 5/19 Club Café @ 9pm (Steel City Comedy Tour Event)
And don’t forget to check out for more Local and National Comedian interviews!

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