In a recent phone interview, AXS caught up with comedian Mark Normand, who is about to debut his very first one-hour special. “Don’t Be Yourself,” presented by Amy Schumer, premieres on Comedy Central Friday, May 12, and is giving viewers a good look at the Louisiana native’s fun-loving, honest and humorous take on life.
It’s likely you’ve already seen the stand-up comic on television or caught his name on one of many “Best of” lists. In light of his new special, we spoke with Mark about some of his most memorable moments to date; from his first open-mic, where he tells AXS, he became “hooked on comedy,” to having earned the coveted “latenight favorite” title.
From appearances on “Conan” to “INSIDE AMY SCHUMER,” to “Last Comic Standing,” to “@Midnight” to “Horace and Pete,” where he recently starred alongside Louis C.K., Mark Normand is certainly making the rounds. “It’s still too crazy to think about,” he told AXS. “I was just this club comedian running around New York and Louis C.K. and I were chatting one night. Two days later I got a call. He said be here in 20 minutes. I remember I get to his house, I open the door and I see Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Jessica Lange; it’s all these huge stars. I had no idea what I was walking into. He had a part written for me in the script. I couldn’t believe it. Just being in his house was crazy. Louis C.K. is my hero and probably one of the best comedians alive. It was quite a moment.”
Mark also co-hosts the popular podcast, “Tuesdays with Stories,” with fellow comedian Joe List. “Joe and I have a great rapport,” Mark shared with AXS. “We’re good friends, we drive all over the country together, and we have a similar disposition. We just get together and we’ll banter. We would always hang out late night, have beers and talk and philosophize. Then one day Joe came up with the idea for the podcast.”
Another one of Mark’s friends and greatest supporters is Amy Schumer, who has also been an integral part of bringing “Don’t Be Yourself” to life. “Amy saw me at a comedy club in New York maybe seven or eight years ago,” Mark recalled. “She went into the greenroom and asked me to open for her.” After the first show was a success, the two went on tour together. “I remember being so excited I did a little dance in my apartment that night,” he said. “We’d go to these comedy clubs and she’d have like 20 or 30 people there. I watched her slowly blow up. We would all go out drinking at night after the shows and she would always be on her laptop writing. She was writing ‘Trainwreck’ the whole time. We had no idea. Then one day she invited me to her hotel and she showed me a pilot for her TV show. I just watched all these little steps. From clubs to theaters, then from theaters to arenas, now she’s a movie star; the whole thing was crazy.”
As Mark now gears up to debut his own one-hour Comedy Central special, he explained to AXS how it all happened. “There was a lot of back and forth but I wanted to do it in New York. I found this synagogue in the middle of the Lower East Side. I thought it was perfect and we packed it out. I get why Louis C.K. does one a year because they’re so fun. This is the ultimate dream; the one-hour special. I remember when I was younger watching Chris Rock and George Carlin and Seinfeld. I think what excites me most,” he added, “is just having random people all over the country just sitting there watching it and laughing, or listening to it in their car and enjoying it. I like the idea of just millions of people hearing it. It just excites the hell out of me. Strangers laughing at a thought I had. People I’ve never met or may never meet it my life.”
On May 12, at midnight, you can tune in to see the Comedy Central premiere of Mark Normand’s, “Don't Be Yourself,” presented by Amy Schumer.
Mark is also on tour through the end of the year so be sure to check out his website for his upcoming live shows.