Markus Olind: Get Your Baskets Together

February 25, 2024

Photo Credit

Markus Olind


Valerie Lopez


Richard Goodwin


At least it’s not moist,” Valerie Lopez says, mere moments into wel­com­ing this week’s guest, a phrase I did not expect to hear today (nor tomor­row, thank you very much). Some con­text is clear­ly need­ed.

Markus Olind, co-host of the Works Every Time (aka WET”) pod­cast, swears he didn’t notice the nat­ur­al acronym lurk­ing in the name of the show before it was offi­cial­ly chris­tened. (It actu­al­ly orig­i­nates from a night-out sto­ry a friend told the trio of hosts.) So, WET it was, and WET it shall remain.

For a man born in Ger­many, who didn’t speak any Eng­lish when first arriv­ing in the states, Olind has done well in the Amer­i­can scene, far bet­ter than any time I try to tell jokes in a sec­ond lan­guage (or my first lan­guage, for that mat­ter). His par­tial list of accom­plish­ments includes being part of the 2019 Bur­bank Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val Best of the Fest” set, as well as being the Win­ner of the 2019 Detroit to LA Con­test. Olind also has a spe­cial out on Ama­zon Prime, Black Thanks­giv­ing.

I [realized] you really can't take speaking for granted like that, because it can go away so quickly and for no reason
Markus Olind

When struck by a ran­dom bout of Bell’s Pal­sy, Olind — the kid who grew up lov­ing The Three Stooges and had devel­oped admi­ra­tion for comics like Bill Burr — had one of those moments of clar­i­ty that so often result in a change of lifestyle or career switch-up. For those who don’t know, the con­di­tion is tru­ly ran­dom, with no clear cause, and effec­tive­ly caus­es facial paral­y­sis, hence the emer­gency vis­it.

Beyond the shock of a no-cost hos­pi­tal ses­sion (thanks, Ger­many!), it also snapped into focus for Olind that you have to take the chances you can, grab oppor­tu­ni­ties when they present them­selves. I had already been think­ing about doing stand up,” he says of his thoughts at the time, but when that hap­pened, I [realized]you real­ly can’t take speak­ing for grant­ed like that, because it can go away so quick­ly and for no rea­son.”

Olind took that moti­va­tion and final­ly tack­led open mics, admit­ting that his first out­ings weren’t the best. (He’d since moved to Michi­gan.) Three years sober at the time of our inter­view, he can look back with­out amber col­ored glass­es and see how not prepar­ing, and drink­ing before tak­ing the stage, was ham­per­ing his ambi­tions.

I did not pre­pare well. I drank about eight beers,” Olind says, a far cry from the com­ic of today who rem­i­nisces about hit­ting open mics in Detroit, Ohio, and Cana­da — all in one night — to grind and refine his mate­r­i­al. Lopez and Olind acknowl­edge that there are rare counter exam­ples (Doug Stan­hope, Ron White), but they’re one in a mil­lion”. Devot­ing more time to the stage, and with momen­tum build­ing, in 2018 he cashed out from his job in cor­po­rate finance, and he and part­ner Geni­vive Clin­ton tried life in Dal­las, then even­tu­al­ly land­ed in Austin.

I think the mirror reflects back what you’ve created that day
Markus Olind

With the noto­ri­ety that comes with the afore­men­tioned con­test awards, seem­ing­ly noth­ing was stand­ing in Olind’s way to the big time. Then came COVID, and the near-instan­ta­neous shut­down of all things enjoy­able. We’ve devot­ed far too much time to the virus (in more ways than one), so suf­fice it to say that, for Olind (and most comics), it result­ed in slam­ming the brakes on pro­fes­sion­al growth.

But more impor­tant­ly, has that elu­sive momen­tum” returned? Yeah” exclaims Olind, while not­ing It’s nev­er going to be the same as it was…but I feel myself grow­ing again and going out and doing a lot of spots.” He also had an itch to return to the pod­cast world, hav­ing host­ed his own Bun­desli­ga show when it was the first sport to come back from COVID in Ger­many. Going from record­ing him­self on an iPad to a mul­ti-per­son pro­duc­tion with a ded­i­cat­ed pro­duc­er (JJ) had its own learn­ing curve, but – 10 episodes in – it seems that Works Every Time has found a sweet spot in bal­anc­ing the argu­men­ta­tive natures of Olind and Justin Essen­mach­er with new co-host Philip Gar­cia.

Olind admits that dynam­ic had grown to be a bit too tox­ic for the show, and says that now we have Phil, kind of, like, keep­ing us sep­a­rat­ed and stuff like that, and we have rules on the pod­cast”, call­ing out the require­ment to say some­thing pos­i­tive when things get too neg­a­tive. It’s also helped Olind hone his instincts for when you let the experts step in and do their thing (like run­ning the tech­nol­o­gy required for a great pod­cast these days). You only have so much ener­gy, so much time,” he con­sid­ers, and sug­gests either dis­trib­ut­ing your eggs into dif­fer­ent bas­kets, or get­ting your bas­kets togeth­er; at any rate, put your effort where it’s going to pay back the most.

Look­ing to the future, Olind has been hit­ting the road more (hav­ing just per­formed in San Anto­nio by the time this episode gets released). He’s enjoy­ing book­ing road gigs, and has plans for more shows in Dal­las and Hous­ton (includ­ing a live record­ing of Works Every Time). He’s a keen observ­er of the con­tin­u­al change in the Austin scene, giv­ing shout outs to Com­e­dy Moth­er­ship and Sun­set Strip (where he cur­rent­ly works when off-stage).

Big change is under­way in Olind’s per­son­al life as well, shar­ing that he and Clin­ton are now engaged. (It actu­al­ly hap­pened in May 2023, but we’re still going to call it break­ing news.) It’s anoth­er exam­ple of what seems to be a con­tin­u­ance of Olind’s theme of tak­ing the next step”, whether in your rela­tion­ship or get­ting in the reps” need­ed to build your comedic mus­cles.

I think the mir­ror reflects back what you’ve cre­at­ed that day,” Olind reflects, when talk­ing about how tak­ing on a chal­lenge — even if it’s as small as chang­ing a light bulb in his car — changes how you per­ceive your­self. Does that mean the 8‑beer, cor­po­rate finance guy is now a but­toned up over­achiev­er? Not if the plans for the wed­ding are any indi­ca­tion: Olind laugh­ing­ly dis­clos­es that their plan is a small court­room cer­e­mo­ny, fol­lowed by a sweat­pants after­par­ty” where every­one is encour­aged to wear their best sweat­suit.

It sounds like the per­fect attire for work­ing on a sen­si­ble egg-to-bas­ket allo­ca­tion exer­cise, and Markus Olind is excit­ed about every­thing the days ahead have to offer.

Fol­low Markus

Markus can be seen and heard:

  • Black Thanks­giv­ing (Ama­zon Prime special)
  • Joe vs. Joe (movie)
  • Pod­casts
    • Works Every Time 
    • Real Open Mics of Hollywood
    • Porn & Capitalism
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Markus Olind