Mark Forward: Always Moving Forward

October 11, 2019

Photo Credit

Comedy Central

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

Listen

This week's mantra is "the minute something doesn't feel good, it's time to quit". We don't mean getting your wisdom teeth pulled or taking out the trash, we mean, when you've paid your dues, and worked hard to get to where you can be choosy about the work you'll take on, only take on the work that makes you feel good. Our guest this week, Mark Forward, tells Valerie Lopez, "I dabble in what I like, and then if I continue having joy from it, then I continue doing it." And we think these are good words to live by.

I dabble in what I like, and then if I continue having joy from it, then I continue doing it.
Mark Forward

If you're not familiar with Forward, he's currently well known for his role of "Coach" on the official favorite show of Comedy Wham, Letterkenny. Ahead of the release of the 7th season of the show based in a small town in Canada, Forward joins Valerie Lopez by phone. The conversation begins with a discussion about why being a theater actor didn't bring him joy (the answer obviously involves mothballs), and how a turn to stand-up allowed him the freedom to focus on himself on stage without costumes, rehearsals, or mothballs.

What's ingenious about Forward is that he has a gift for saying mean-natured things, but in a way that makes the crowd willing to go along with the message. This gift came to him at an early age, in fact. "I realized in high school, I could say things to people I didn't like, and they would laugh. It's a gift. I try to use only for good." On that mission, he's succeeded. During the conversation with Forward, I referenced a 2015 Montreal Just For Laughs video on his Youtube channel where he opens with "I don't even like doing standup right now, because there's at least 10 people here that are just here to get upset." While some audiences would instantly turn on a comic making this declaration and accusation, Forward takes an absurdist turn (which I refuse to spoil), and we assure you the audience is not upset at all, but happy to laugh at Forward's brutal accusations.

I realized in high school, I could say things to people I didn't like, and they would laugh. It's a gift. I try to use only for good.
Mark Forward

It is a gift he carries with him on set, as well. As Coach, Forward is often found kicking trash cans and yelling at those around him, and yet, no one ever says an ill word about Coach as character. Partly because Forward has a "I'm just pretend angry" sheepish demeanor when he does these things, but also because you find out that Coach has reason to be angry and frustrated at the world. (R.I.P. his beloved Barb.) As Coach, he can share the tender side of his heart just as easily as his rage. All in all, Forward is a good guy, he's a real good guy.

Since we are here to promote the Season 7 return of Letterkenny on Hulu on October 14 (Canada's Crave TV gets the season on October 11), we have to dig in just a bit more into what it's like to work on the show and what Season 7 will bring its eager audiences. Of course, we don't get specific reveals from Forward, other than we can expect "more" from Coach. Having seen the Season 7 opener while attending the Letterkenny panel at the Austin Television Festival this past summer, I assure you faithful Letterkenny fans, that there is, indeed, more of everything we've grown to love about the show these last 6 seasons. And how lucky are we that the show has a commitment for Seasons 8 through 10?

It's like summer camp, but for me, it's like, they're all gorgeous, well-built men and women. And then this old fat man shows up everywhere.
Mark Forward

Speaking of lucky, I asked Forward what it was like to work with the cast and crew of Letterkenny. The response is exactly what I'd expect of Forward after chatting with him for 40 minutes: "It's like summer camp, but for me, it's like, they're all gorgeous, well-built men and women. And then this old fat man shows up everywhere." The good news is, as he assures us throughout the interview, he's walking every day. Forward. Always moving forward.

MORE ABOUT
Mark Forward