Richard Dreyfest Interviews Mark Dawson

Transcription of In-Person Interview with Comic Mark Dawson

Phil: Alright, we’re on. So I’m with Mark Dawson here, and just have a couple questions to kind of warm him up and get people excited for him at Dreyfest Comedy Night, which is August 12th at Art House Cinema and Pub from 10:30 to like 1 o’clock in the morning. Mark will be there performing and I’m just here to ask him some questions.

Mark, I was kind of curious how long you’ve been doing comedy.

Mark: Oh yeah, man, it started in 2011. I’ve been a wise-ass my whole life, but that was my first time with a microphone.

Phil: Okay, so you’re kind of a late bloomer.

Mark: Yeah. I was in my 40s when I started.

Phil: Why did you decide to start?

Mark: Funny, I met a friend right here, actually, at the Highlands, and he was — my day being a disaster — he was making fun of me and just being like ‘oh my god, if you were just honest about your life you could be a stand-up comic.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I need to say something nice to him now,’ right, so: ‘I think your wife is hot.’

I didn’t think much about it, either, and then Lucas Seely had a poster for the Lucas and Wayne Cox comedy contest, and I thought, ‘that sounds like fun,’ so I entered that, and I had a lot of friends come out, and I thought if it was funny it would be funny, and if it wasn’t, it would be even funnier. Like sure, this guy might get mauled, it would just be…so.

And I won the contest. It was cool.

Phil: You won it?

Mark: Yeah, then you win a trip to LA, but you have to sleep on Lucas’s couch.

Phil: Really?

Mark: Yeah, perform at the Comedy Store and all that.

Phil: Oh wow, that’s awesome.

Mark: Yeah, he treats the comics around here great. He does really great things for the scene.

Phil: Cool, so that was 2011.

Mark: Yeah.

Phil: So how long before that competition were you working on bits and stuff?

Mark: Maybe that day. I remember actually the thing was at seven or something and I came home at 4:30 or 5 and thought, okay, what can I talk about that’s funny.

Phil: No kidding.

Mark: Life is funny, you know.

Phil: That’s awesome. Had you been into it before?

Mark: The really funny thing about it is I used to love to watch stand-up comedians, and since I started, I don’t like it at all. It kind of ruined it. Except for if it’s like your friends, then you want to see them and see them do well. But you end up with stage envy, you’re like “I should be up there instead of that bastard.”


I stayed at Jim Gaffigan for about 15 minutes.

Phil: Well, I was going to ask you if you had any favorite comics, or maybe that’s not really relevant.

Mark: The ones I appreciate — Jeff Dye, I think he’s here this year. I like him because he’s — a lot of comics are really self-deprecating, and it can really be part of your life, too - and he’s often positive.. And Louie Anderson is a total mentor, and really lucky I got to know him, and he’s helped me a lot.

Phil: So you’ve gotten to know him?

Mark: Yeah, he’s awesome, actually. Great guy.

Phil: How did that happen?

Mark: I lucked out. So Lucas was opening for Louie and said he could bring guests back, and you know, Louie’s clean, and I am, too - not as much any more - but Lucas comes in and says “Louie’s gonna want your set, don’t fuck it …don’t choke. And he was just a nice guy, and said he liked me because I was kind to me wife, and I’m like, ‘who wouldn’t be kind to their wife?’

Phil: Yeah, right? So there’s a lot of assholes in comedy?

Mark: There are a few, I suppose.

Phil: Let’s see, so… Louis Anderson..

Mark: And Mike Birbiglia, too, I love that guy.

Phil: Yeah, he’s great. Oh! I was going to ask you what you liked about clean comedy, and how that’s changed now, or if that was on purpose …

Mark: Oh yeah, I think my life just got a little darker. You know honestly, comedy, I think a lot of people who do comedy, it’s for some reason that they  — if you have a perfect life, you’re not going to — why would you risk that? There’s some pretty screwed up stories behind what comedians do. And my wife got really sick, so I started more… Then I realized —  in fact Louie told me — you’ve just gotta be yourself. And, you now, obviously.

Oggie Smith, who’s from here, who’s successful, he says that same thing: ‘Live and die as yourself.” And I realized that I don’t say the ‘F’ word and I don’t say mean things in a professional setting, but to my best friend I sure do. So, I think, Louie always says: “If you’re likeable and interesting, and if you’re not genuine, who gives a shit?”

Phil: So you’re kind of a big figure in the Billings business community, as owner of Century 21. Do many people in the professional realm know about your comedy life?

Mark: I don’t think I’m a big figure, exactly. This is a small town, right? Everybody knows everybody. And people are like ‘why the hell would you do that?’ And other people are like ‘that’s so cool,’ and the other people are like, ‘You’ll be good at something, eventually. Keep trying!’

That’s more what my wife thinks.

Phil: How long do you think you’ll do it? Is it something that you want to do for a long time now?

Mark: You know, I think that, unless I got really old and had marbles in my head and couldn’t feel like I was sharp... Once you develop a skill, you don’t want to lose the skill. And it’s something you can do your whole life. And, yeah, I think I would.

Phil: Yeah, you see videos of Carlin when he’s old and he’s still tearing it up.

Mark: I think so, too. And, I mean, you do get better and better because it’s a skill thing, more than a talent thing.

Phil. Right, right. Yup, work it. I’m not sure that I have that much more, but if you have anything to add.

Mark: You should really try it some time.

Phil: Yeah?

Mark: Oh yeah, you’d love it. It’s really exhilarating.


Mark will be at the Art House Cinema and Pub for late night comedy, 10:30-1:00.









Richard Dreyfest Interviews Will Thomas

by Colton Young

Can you tell us a little bit about your comedy experience and accolades within the comedy scene in Montana?

So it's been a wild ride for me. First I was just a guy doing comedy up here. Then I was wanted in other cities in Montana. Posters with my name and face were appearing everywhere. I felt like I couldn't just blend in anymore. Had to keep moving from city to city! Then suddenly I'm winning competitions out here and now I'm ready to perform at the Art House!

If you were trapped in an elevator and had to choose two people to be stranded with, who would you choose and why?

I think I would choose Solange Knowles and Ray Rice. That would be a better fight than McGregor/Mayweather!

Have you any background knowledge on Richard Dreyfuss and or Richard Dreyfest?

Dreyfest, no. This just popped up on me. Dreyfuss though? Who doesn't know the man that brought wonder to the masses in Jaws! Do you know that Jaws doesn't even show the shark until halfway in? Kinda like my comedy-it dosent hit until you least expect it!

So, I hear you used to be a paleontologist, what kind of skills have translated from that to your success in comedy?

Whoa! Who you been talking to? Looks like I didn't bury those bodies far enough! Yeah, I did that for a while. I'd say patience, and the ability to hammer and brush at something (or someone) for minutes on end until I unravel its mystery. Still working on the mystery of women, though.

There has been speculation on you operating an underground, top secret Dino facility. Could you possibly shed some light on these rumors?

Hmm. I can't tell you everything. Just know I've leased an island from the Costa Rican government for project.

What made you decide to pursue comedy and have you always enjoyed the arts?

I've always enjoyed plays. Opera, not so much-but I can really get down with a good cast and story. As for pursuing comedy-sometimes life hands you a lemon. Life threw a bag of lemons at me repeatedly. In fact, I'm pretty sure it assaulted me. But I'm out here making Lemonade that rivals Beyonce's.

What’s the last TV show you watched and why did you choose it?

Ok. So I'm a huge Netflix guy. Give me a good series and I'll binge it. The last show I watched Kimmy Schmidt-Titus Andromeda is off the charts hilarious!

What’s it like being 35 and looking like your 21?

I don't know! I'm not 35....yet! But looking young, why thank you. It's the lotion. Always with the lotion!

If you had the opportunity to either have a Pokémon or Dino as a lifelong companion which would you choose and why?

Oh man, you're hitting the deep cuts now. I love me some Pokémon, been playing since ‘97. I'd have to take a dinosaur though, give me a Ankylosaur anytime, mainly cause they move two miles an hour, so everyone sees you (a dollar for the first person who gets that reference).

Rumor has it you’re a 90’s music guru. When its time to coax the crowd, what’s your go to karaoke song to perform?

Man! Selling my soul here. If I get the chance to wow a crowd, it's Regulators. If it's to woo a damsel, I'm breaking out the N'Sync. Tearing up my heart! Got the dance and everything!

I know you happen to be an improv studmuffin as well as a talented jokester.  How would you describe your style of comedy?

Observational absurdist. A little racial humor and a lot of physical exertion. Basically, I have a ton of stamina.

Will's Links:

Richard Dreyfest Interviews Cayden Taylor

by Colton Young

Anyone that has seen you perform knows you are one of the young guns of the Billings comedy scene, how long have you been doing stand up for?

I have been doing stand up technically since January of 2016 when my friends urged me to tell them some jokes, but I've been performing in front of public crowds like Laugh Jurassoff since April of 2016.

Being only 17, and a the new owner of a drivers license, what made you want to pursue comedy at such a young age other than the hope for possible female interaction?

What actually drove me to write and perform was dealing with a bit of depression after some heartbreak during my sophomore year, which I've gotten over thankfully. Also, I am a really big fan of Bo Burnham and Donald Glover who got their start in comedy at really young ages, so that made me want to at least give it a try.

What’s it like having your parents in the crowd while tastefully delivering dick jokes?

It is something that should be awkward, but my parents and I have an understanding that I am trying to be weird for the sake of being weird, so they know it's not 100% me on stage.

I’ve gotten the chance to see you perform some musically inspired and comedic poetry on stage in the past, any chance we can expect to see something similar at this year’s Dreyfest?

There is a very good chance people might see poems and/or music in my act this year, but the only way to find out is if you come see me and my friends at Dreyfest!

Before this interview, did you know who Richard Dreyfuss was? 

Unfortunately, I hadn't. However, that is the cool thing about this festival, you get to learn about the talent around Montana and be able to enjoy the different varieties of art and culture that those talent created. I have heard of some of the bands that will be playing, such as Silverbow Society (make sure to check them out as well!)

Whats your take on Bigfoot?

My take on Bigfoot? Over 7 ft. tall, girls dig a man that's over 7 ft. tall.

What does life consist of when you’re not bumming around in school or cracking jokes on stage?

My life consists of working at a restaurant, listening to music, attempting to write something comedic, and of course lots of eating and sleeping.

An English speaking garden gnome walks through the door wearing nothing.  What does he say, and why is he there?

The gnome says "I'm killer keemstar" and he's there because I'm not iDubbbz and he knows I won't hurt him. (By the way, both are pretty funny dudes, I recommend watching them)

Congrats on making it all the way to the finals of the Montana Comedy Competition this year. That’s no easy feat. I’ve noticed you have a pretty large following of young folks at all your shows. What do you refer to this legion of loyal lads as? Some have loosely labeled them as “Caydens Comrades” in the past, but what do you as their master call them?

I call them family; they've stuck with me through my really bad and really good times. I cannot thank them enough for that, and I am forever in debt in giving back to them.


Cayden's Links: