By Michelle King > Sophomore > Magazine Journalism > Emerson College, Photos By Lizzy Walsh
Two years ago, Quinn Marcus thought she wanted to be a political activist. She grew up in the conservative town of Athens, GA and got involved with liberal activist groups while growing up. She worked on the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama and applied to Emerson College in Boston, MA as a Political Communications major.
However, her passions in politics very quickly changed once moving to her major to Comedy Writing and Performance. Marcus is currently a member of “This is Pathetic,” Emerson’s only long form improv comedy troupe, an announcer for Closing Time, Emerson’s late night talk show and a writer for The Evvy Awards, the largest student run live camera award show in the country.
CM: How did you get into comedy and improv?
Marcus: Senior year I asked my mom if I could take improve classes at Dad’s Garage Improve theatre in Atlanta. There, I realized that I wasn’t half bad and I slowly began to build confidence. I realized I could do improv and, ultimately, I realized I wanted to be a talk show host.
CM: Why do you want to be a talk show host?
Marcus: I feel like that’s the best place for my talents. Ever since I saw David Letterman when I was fourteen, that’s what I wanted to do. I felt that I could do that. I love talking to people and I’m never nervous talking to people. I love making people laugh.
CM: Why David Letterman?
Marcus: He is very witty and dry and doesn’t care what others think. It’s just so easy for him. There’s an ease to his comedy that I hope to have in my own.
CM: What kind of talk show do you ultimately see yourself doing?
Marcus: A late night talk show host, but I want to bring it back to classic late night, like Johnny Carson. I like the more classic late night style because it’s all about the guest. Back when Johnny Carson was on TV, people cared about the guest, not games or cheap jokes.
CM: You’re very involved at Emerson College, but what outside internships or work have you done?
Marcus: I interned at Second City, a sketch and improve theatre troupe in Chicago last summer. It was great to see the process of the show that they put on. I loved walking down the hallways and seeing photos of Tina Fey, Alan Arkin, and the other celebrities [who came out of Second City]. It was inspiring to be in the building that they all came from.
CM: How has your comedy changed from when you entered college to now?
Marcus: My improv is much more natural. I’ll just walk on stage and look at my partner and take whatever they give me. I’m okay with silences from the audience. I used to want a laugh right out the gate, but now I like to build up the story, so that it’s more of a redeeming laugh at the end– so that we’re laughing at a story and a life, rather than just a joke.
CM: What’s harder for you—writing comedy or doing improv?
Marcus: Well, improve for me is a lot easier. It’s harder for me to sit down and think of a story and just write it all out. I don’t know why, but I come up with funnier things on the spot. Because I don’t get that audience reaction with writing and I don’t have the nerves, it becomes more difficult. I work better in a fast paced environment.
CM: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Marcus: Well, Loren Michaels just asked me to host my own talk show in 10 years.
CM: Is that a lie?
Marcus: No! It’s not a lie. It’s an optimistic truth.