Mark Leopold is a Philadelphia improviser, sketch comedian, employee, owner-of-a-wardrobe-full-of-plaid-shirts, and a friend. He is a member of the PHIT house team Hey Rube as well as a new addition to the cast of Comedysportz and he does sketch comedy with his group The Hold-up. When he isn’t doing one of these things he is busy doing other things, like working and laundry, and so while he sincerely wishes he was able to be a real interviewer, the best he is able to do is interview people in his head while he drives different places. Today, while going to pick up some milk, Mark took some time to sit down in a tent down at Occupy Philly in his head with Philadelphia improviser and Beirdo member Dan Jaquette.
Mark Leopold: Hey Dan, it’s me Mark!
Dan Jaquette: Hi. (extending his hand for a handshake) Dan.
ML: (shaking his hand) Mark.
This joke really only makes sense to the two of them and is based on a single incident which has colored their friendship ever since.
ML: So, you’re in Beirdo now…that’s new and therefore, something we should talk about.
DJ: I’m doing it ironically.
DJ: Yes. I’m a member of the group ironically. Whereas Dennis and Kevin are both genuinely interested and committed to being in an improv group based on the fact that they have beards, I actually grew a beard and joined the group as a commentary on people who would do that sort of thing.
ML: That is…elaborate.
DJ: No one has ever accused me of being less than elaborate.
ML: I’ve heard you described as circumspect.
DJ: How flattering!
ML: Do you know what it means?
DJ: Not entirely, but honestly I find it flattering that people are talking about me at all.
ML: Any press is good press?
DJ: Something like that. I feel like circumspect means something about circles, like circumference. And the “spect” part is probably a dig about my glasses.
ML: Well you do wear glasses.
DJ: I know right?
ML: (laughing) Terrible!
DJ: Just call me Mr. Imperfect Vision.
ML: (holding up his finger to call attention to an important point he wants to make) Bad eyesight is caused by the eyeball becoming deformed and throwing off the focal point of the lens in your cornea. Fact.
DJ: And there’s other reasons too…
ML: Nope. Just that reason. That is the only reason for bad eyesight.
DJ: I find myself forced to agree with you.
ML: We’ve got quite a back and forth going here Dan.
DJ: It’s Gilmore Girl-esque.
ML: You’re Gilmore Girl-esque.
ML: …and you wear glasses!
DJ: You’re really on a roll now.
They laugh uproariously and smile…the best of friends.
ML: (extending hand for a handshake) Mark.
DJ: (raising eyebrows in a spot-on imitation of a person meeting Mark for the first time) Dan.
ML: Ah! So…let’s talk about you getting married.
ML: Has that already happened?
DJ: My marriage?
ML: Yeah, are you already married or are you just engaged?
DJ: I am engaged.
ML: To…I want to say…Helen?
DJ: Nope, still Ellen.
ML: Yeah, that’s just not sticking. Any chance we could get that changed?
DJ: What works for you?
ML: Hm. Brooke?
DJ: She doesn’t seem like a Brooke.
ML: Are you kidding? She’s smart and funny and pretty!
DJ: Easy…that’s my future wife there tough guy.
ML: Wow…you just don’t strike me as a the type of person who would say “tough guy.”
DJ: Are you kidding? I’m a rugged badass with a beard and a motorcycle, but who has also studied the works of Shakespeare at a graduate level.
ML: Hm, well I guess that settles it. Best of luck with…dammit…Elton?
DJ: Not a first name.
DJ: Someone else entirely.
ML: …well…I mean…I’m assuming most of these other names belong to other people entirely…
DJ: Not Erolton.
ML: No one’s gotten to that name yet?
DJ: Not yet. It’s fresh off the name-assembly line.
ML: It’s not terrible.
DJ: Well don’t get any ideas, we’re planning on naming our first child Erolton.
DJ: Yeah, me and…oh man…dammit.
More laughter. More friendship.
ML: (extending hand for a handshake, but unsure.) Dan?
DJ: (thinks for a moment, then points like he’s ninety percent sure) Mark.