It’s easy to make jokes about vegans, but what happens when a vegan makes a really dark joke about depressing animal cruelty videos? It may not sound like a recipe for comedy, perhaps until you hear it in the voice of beloved Baltimore comedian Dark Mark. The joke lands really hard for Dan, but they acknowledge that a regular audience might find it too disturbing to laugh at. And yet Dan thinks that, framed as a plea for veganism, Mark could still pull the joke off.
Dark Mark has been hosting the legendary Sidebar open mic for around four years. Dan and Mark talk about the nature and perils of crowd work, and whether certain interactions with an audience should even be considered crowd work. They discuss various approaches to joke writing, whether it’s carefully planning every syllable in advance, or going onstage with a vague idea and letting the audience guide you to the finished joke. Regardless of the comic, there seems to be value in trying different approaches. Dan asks Mark about a specific joke involving dogs and bees, and learns a little about how the joke was developed.
Speaking of dogs, Mark is working on a doozy of a joke about dog cruelty. Mark reveals in the setup that being a vegan has changed his Facebook feed, with the end result that he is now subjected to numerous disturbing videos. A small but brutal observation turns the bit into a joke, although he and Dan explore how to make the joke work for a general audience. There seems to be potential. Meanwhile Dan wants to make a joke about the time he went to college with Kurtis Blow, the rapper (true story). He and Mark kick a few different ideas around, and Mark challenges Dan to take the story onstage at a mic and work the bit out in front of an audience. They also discuss jokes about the purge, bloody mary, and a couple of trashy TV shows.