MARK CHRISTIAN WALKER
Happiest On Stage!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you can see that Mr. Mark Christian Walker is happiest on stage. Who is this veteran stand-up comic and impressionist? If you do not know the name then for sure you have heard the many voices and stand-up as Mark Christian Walker has toured in Canada, the UK and South Africa. Per Mark's sister Tina; "the first time she remembers Mark performing was at about 4 years old. Friends of the family were visiting and Marked decided to entertain the adults with his impressions".
Mr. Mark Christian Walker was born in Kentville N.S. and raised at 134 Robie street Truro N.S. and it is where his mother lives to this day at 85 years of age. Growing up Mr. Walker was neither an Athlete or a Brainiac. Mark's father was a very domineering man with rage control issues. Many years later in his stand-up career Mark could finally talk about his upbringing. Mark remembers; "The darker more dysfunctional side of my upbringing would come later in my stand-up life after much self -examination and confidence".
At about 3 years old, Mr. Mark Christian Walker was able to do impression of Looney Tunes characters and Marvin the Martian from Warner Brothers cartoons. Young Mark enjoyed Saturday afternoon matinees particularly Don Knotts and other comedy actors. On television Mr. Walker studied stand-up comics such as Flip Wilson, Rich Little, and Richard Pryor and the Dean Martin Roasts. As luck, would have it, Mark's father had an excellent collection of Music and Comedy Albums. In public school Mark, would overcome his shyness with humour. Mark states; "in school I felt I never fit in but I could get laughs with the Bill Cosby albums I would devour and regurgitate timing and all".
By Junior High, Mr. Mark Christian Walker had a large portfolio of impressions and entered the talent show in grade seven. "I won doing impressions of wolfman Jack and other contemporaries of that time, that would evolve into bit parts in high school plays (Paul Lynde as a waiter in " Annie Get Your Gun" or a Richard Nixon / Foghorn Leghorn hybrid as the mayor in " Bye Bye Birdie")".
In the mid 1980's Mark entered the Joe Howe Comedy Bowl in Halifax Nova Scotia with a mix of jokes and impressions. Second place was his and Mr. Walker also made a life long friend in winner fellow impressionist Jay Jacobson. In 1986 Mark Walker started doing the new talent nights at Yuk Yuk's in Halifax. Touring comics that played the Halifax Yuk Yuk's saw Mark's act and recommended that he take the next step by moving to Toronto.
In 1988, Mr. Mark Christian Walker move to Toronto which was a big leap for the boy from Truro N.S. who thought he would never leave his hometown. For the next 28 years Mark Walker was one of the most in demand MC's and Headliners touring Canada. In fact, many airline pilots would envy the number of times he crisscrossed Canada. Per Mike Robinson a high school friend and talented ventriloquist; "Mark spent so many years as a club comic because that is where he is happiest, not only performing every night but watching other comics".
Along the way, Mark Walker had the chance to tour in the UK and South Africa. Mark commented; "I got a standing ovation after doing a solid hour in this cavernous room in Belfast Ireland, I thought I was dead meat but somehow I connected. It opened the door for me to realize that no matter where you go in the world people are really the same at heart. Same desires, fears and quirks"!
The Cape Town Comedy Festival was a dream come true for Mark Christian Walker "It was real showbiz, and we stayed in a 5-star hotel. I got to hang out with stand-up comics from around the world and spent most nights after the shows hanging out with Mr. Mel Miller, a South African Comedy Legend".
Another highlight of Mark's career was working with Mr. Frank Gorshin who played "The Riddler" in the 1960's campy Batman TV series. Mr. Gorshin was a Master Impressionist that appeared on every late-night show of the era and was a fixture in Vegas. Mark remembers; "He was old school showbiz, he had a different TUXEDO for each show!!! He was gold to me and far and away the best impressionist I ever saw. After my first set for him he walked up in his Tux with a million-dollar smile shook my hand and said " Spectacular Kid!!!" It meant the world to me".
Over the years, Mark Christian Walker has worked with many of todays comedy stars including Tommy Chong, Emo Phillips, Jeremy Hotz, Norm MacDonald, Howie Mandell, and Russell Peters plus many more.
More importantly, Mark is one of the nicest people in the Canadian Comedy Community and has helped many young comics get their start. Long time friend Shannon Laverty states; when I moved to Toronto in 1991, I lived with Mark for a month and he introduced me to everyone in the tightknit Toronto Comedy Community. Mark is nice to a fault". Will Conlon an actor and former stand-up comic impressionist says; Mark is a sweet nice person who will go to bat for you and is someone you can call when times are bad. As a comic, he is the "Gift Basket" of Comedy, everything you want in a performer".
With the advent of the Internet, YouTube, and Social Media the stand-up comedy business change changed dramatically. Per Shannon Laverty; "Mark was becoming increasing frustrated with Comedy in Toronto. Mark is happiest when he is performing and the lack of gigs made Mark take a step back and do some self discovery". Both Mike Robinson and Will Conlon echo Shannon's sentiments that Mark was getting frustrated not performing every night.
Late 2016, Mr. Mark Christian Walker took a big leap and moved back to Truro N.S. His friends and family were surprised yet not surprised that Mark made the leap to move back to Truro N.S. His sister Tina states; "I am not surprised that he went back. The audiences are better as East Coaster's love to laugh and our mom is still in Truro". His long-time friend Mike Robinson say; I am relieved hat he moved back. Mark can reinvent himself and get back to writing".
When the author spoke with Mr. Mark Christian Walker we discussed the move back to Truro and what is next for him. He moved back to Truro to find a way to ignite his comedy career, maybe write a one-man show continue to evolve as a performer and finally stick his toe into the US comedy market.
Whatever Mr. Mark Christian Walker decided to do next in his comedy career you can be sure of two things. He is the nicest person in the room and he always has a Marvin the Martian impression ready to go!
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