Hang with Mr. Cooper at The Hilton
Thu, Feb 24, 2011 (5:21 p.m.)
Photo: Leila Navidi
How often can you say you got to hang with Mr. Cooper? Comedy fans will have the chance to do just that as Mark Curry, star of the hit sitcom Hanging With Mr. Cooper, entertains audiences in the Shimmer Showroom at the Las Vegas Hilton, as part of the Icons of Comedy Series.
So you’ve been performing in Vegas pretty regularly for a while now. What are your favorite touristy types of things to do when you’re not working?
Things I like to do in Vegas as a tourist? Hmm. I like to walk around as George Wallace and say, “My show is canceled.” Just so people would come to my show. That’s what I do. Actually, what I like to do is walk in the middle of the Strip, you know, freak people out because they don’t expect it to be me. “Is that Mr. Cooper we just passed in the middle of the street with a bucket of nickels?” It’s fun. And you know how people always pass stuff out? I like to pass stuff out. Old stuff that doesn’t even make sense like fliers that say “Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage tonight.”
How do you think Las Vegas audiences differ from others across the country and do you tailor your act to that?
No. If you are funny, then you are funny, and it doesn’t make a difference. Vegas is great because it’s a melting pot. One thing that is good about Vegas is I could say, “Where are you from?” and you’ve got Detroit, you’ve got Canada, you’ve got so many different types of people. You’ll have a 93 year-old grandmother and an 18 year-old person, you know, together, as a couple. That’s the funny thing about Vegas.
Have you drawn any material from your adventures in Vegas?
Yes. First of all, the heat in Vegas. I was here when it was 127 degrees and I saw a bird walking down the street with his wing up. I’ll never forget that. It’s true. I was looking out my window and I saw a bird walking and I said, “Poor bird! Is he hurt? No, he’s just too hot!” That’s Vegas! I like to see the people walking up and down the Strip when it’s 190 degrees. Just take the tram, get in a cab, stop walking in the heat! It’s too hot, ok?
Is there any subject matter you shy away from when doing comedy?
I don’t like to talk about other celebrities because sometimes I have to see these celebrities. Like Lionel Richie. I think he got high. “Say You, Say Me.” What the heck is that? “Zoom,” “Hello.” That’s getting high in the bathroom! But I don’t like to do that type of material because I may see them.
Have you had any especially entertaining hecklers while performing at the Hilton?
One thing about playing at the Hilton, where drinks are plentiful, I get a heckler every night. When I say heckler, I don’t use it as a negative term. I welcome heckling because if you’ve paid your money, why do you have to sit there and be quiet? I like to have fun.
Which comedians really make you laugh?
None of them. They’re all unfunny. Personally, the only person who makes me laugh is me in the mirror. I’m Mark Curry and I only laugh at me. No offense. The other comedians are good but they just don’t make me laugh. I only laugh at myself. I’m not trying to be arrogant, but it is what it is. I don’t think Frank Sinatra would listen to Elvis while he’s driving.
If you don’t mind, can you please tell our readers a little bit about your experience in 2006 getting burned in a fire, and particularly how you dealt with the difficult recovery?
No, I don’t want to talk about that. The reason I don’t want to talk about me getting burned by the fire is that it was an emotional valley and it took me so low and made me so depressed and so dark that I try to forget about that. One thing though, when I got burned, I got material out of it. I’m serious. My pain threshold is incredible. I can go to the barbecue and turn the coals over with no stick; I can just do it. I can hold the charcoal in my hand. Seriously. Every time I hear the song “Disco Inferno” with the “burn baby, burn,” I start crying. I’m the only one on the floor crying and people ask why, but it’s emotional because these are things that happened to me. I was depressed and I tried to commit suicide, but it’s kind of hard to commit suicide when you’re 6’6’’. I mean, the ceiling is right here.
I heard that certain comedians helped you through the recovery process. Would you like to comment on that?
When I was in the hospital, every comedian called me. Bill Cosby called me and said, “What happened, were you freebasing?” Chris Tucker called and his pitch was so high, I didn’t know what he was saying. George Wallace gave me a book. Martin Lawrence called me. All my brotherhood of comedians called me, and it really helped me through it. You know what they did? They talked badly about me. Every comedian who called ripped me and laughed at me, and it was hilarious. It made me feel good.
- Mark Curry
- March 2-6, 16-20, 10:00 p.m.; $19.99 - $39.99.
- Shimmer Showroom at the Las Vegas Hilton, 732-5111.
You don’t look like you have aged a bit since Mr. Cooper wrapped in 1997. What’s your secret?
My secret is Oil of Olay. At my age, I try to stay healthy. I eat healthy and drink a lot of water. I don’t really have a secret; I’m just a blessed guy.
Are you still pursuing another sitcom opportunity? What can you tell me about that?
I’ve got some great opportunities in the works. I will be back on television. Who knows? I might do Hanging With Mr. Cooper 2 because Hanging With Mr. Cooper was so big and people walk up to me all the time saying, “Do Mr. Cooper 2, do Mr. Cooper 2!” I do have some great things coming up though—a comedy special for people who haven’t seen me in a while. 2011 will be my year. Trust me.
Obviously you’re not Mr. Cooper, you’re Mark Curry. So what can fans look forward to in your show at the Hilton?
If you want to come to the Hilton show, be prepared to laugh the whole hour. I am my opening act. You’ve never seen that before. I open for my own self and you know why? I don’t need anybody else on stage. I wear a tux every night. I’m funny. I’m topical. Most comedians you go to, you hear the same jokes. I’m funny as heck, guaranteed or your money back. You’ve never heard a comedian say that. If you don’t like me, I’ll give you your money back. It may take two or three days or a year, but you’ll get your money back. And if we don’t give you your money back, we can do other things like maybe a coupon or a T-shirt.