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Truck driver spreads comedy around Spokane area

Comedian%2C+producer+and+truck+driver+Mark+Morris+presents+monthly+comedy+nights+and+showcases+in+the+Spokane+area.+He+has+put+on+six+shows+at+the+Eagle%27s+Pub+in+Cheney.
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Truck driver spreads comedy around Spokane area

Comedian, producer and truck driver Mark Morris presents monthly comedy nights and showcases in the Spokane area. He has put on six shows at the Eagle's Pub in Cheney.

Comedian, producer and truck driver Mark Morris presents monthly comedy nights and showcases in the Spokane area. He has put on six shows at the Eagle's Pub in Cheney.

Courtesy of Mark Morris Facebook

Comedian, producer and truck driver Mark Morris presents monthly comedy nights and showcases in the Spokane area. He has put on six shows at the Eagle's Pub in Cheney.

Courtesy of Mark Morris Facebook

Courtesy of Mark Morris Facebook

Comedian, producer and truck driver Mark Morris presents monthly comedy nights and showcases in the Spokane area. He has put on six shows at the Eagle's Pub in Cheney.

By Michael Brock, Eastern Washington University

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For years, Mark Morris has been cracking jokes to anyone who will listen. Now he’s getting paid for it.

A truck driver by day, Morris performed at an open mic in 2016 on his 44th birthday as a bucket list item and instantly fell in love.

“After the first open mic, I caught the bug and I’ve performed at open mics and showcases every chance I’ve gotten—from then until now,” Morris said in a phone interview with The Easterner.

In May 2017—less than a year on the comedy scene—Morris started hosting a free monthly showcase at The Buzz Pizzeria, Bar & Lounge in Spokane.

Around the same time, Morris began hosting a comedy night at the Harvest Moon Restaurant in Rockford—a show that had steady attendance, but ended last month due to a change in the establishment’s ownership, according to Morris.

Morris now also presents monthly shows at several different venues in the Spokane area, including Springdale, Coeur d’Alene, and the Eagle’s Pub in Cheney. Comedians such as Susan Jones, Andrew Rivers and Todd Armstrong have performed at the Eagle’s Pub show in the last year since it began.

“I bring in nationally touring and Northwestern-based comedians and beyond,” Morris said. “I’ve got connections with comedians all over the country because I drive trucks. I get to network with comedians by doing comedy whenever I’m laid over in a town anywhere in North America.”

Morris has hosted six shows at Eagle’s Pub with an average of 75 to 100 tickets distributed per show. However, he says that actual attendance is closer to 20 or 30 people. And very few of them are students.

“We would love to get more students into the Pub for the show,” Morris said. “I know students frequent the pub quite a bit during the school year and having them out for this particular event would be a wonderful thing. It’s a $3 ticket for comedians that perform at A-list clubs like the Spokane Comedy Club.”

The next comedy night at Eagle’s Pub is on Sunday, Nov. 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. Internationally touring comedian Cory Michaelis will headline, while Jessica Watson will be the feature performer. Tickets are $3 in advance or $5 at the door.

Mike Hartman, the owner of Eagle’s Pub, said that the majority of attendees are locals, estimating that 75 percent of the monthly crowd is made up of Cheney residents. He says that the timing likely is a major reason why.

“A lot of it is the day it falls on,” Hartman said. “Sunday is a day to catch up on homework, schoolwork, laundry. They’ve already been out on Fridays and Saturdays; Sunday’s kind of a tough day in Cheney.”

As such, Hartman isn’t sure whether the show will go on. This weekend’s show will be the last until at least April. In the meantime, Hartman will assess whether to renew the comedy night for a third season.

This story was originally published on The Easterner on November 15, 2018.

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