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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012


Mark Sweeney’s experiential comedy

He writes about what he has seen.

By Donald Thrasher

Write what you know. That’s one of the first tips creative writers learn. That truism has paid off well for St. Louis-based comedian Mark Sweeney, who brings his fast-paced act to Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub in Dayton on Friday and Saturday.

“I write about what I experience and what I see,” Sweeney said. “I don’t really make stuff up. I don’t sit down and go, ‘I’m going to write comedy.’ I notice something and I go, ‘Oh my god, that’s hilarious,’ or it could be if I said it right. I don’t really dwell on any one topic very long. I cover a lot of different stuff, briefly. That’s the way I write.

“Some guys will do 30 minutes on relationships or whatever,” he said. “For me that’s way too long on one topic. I like covering a little bit here, a little bit there — boom, boom — move on to something else. Otherwise you’re pigeonholing yourself into just writing about certain topics.”

Of course, it’s easy to see how any stand-up comedian would decide to expand on certain topics when the jokes are flowing so easily. Sweeney, the author of “Court Jester: The Making of a Comedian,” admits that’s an urge he fights.

“I looked down once and realized I had 20 minutes of driving material,” he said. “I go, ‘I cannot do any more driving jokes.’ But I drive a lot and every time I drive I come up with another one. Finally I said, ‘Alright, that’s enough. Try to think of something else.’

“It’s like with flying,” he said. “Every time I fly I come up with three or four minutes of flying material. That can be hysterical, but after a while it’s like, ‘Man, does this guy know anything else?’ You have to force yourself to experience other things, otherwise you’ll do your whole act on driving, flying and staying in hotels.”


What: Mark Sweeney

Where: Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub, 101 Pine St., Dayton

When: 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

Cost: $12 Friday and $15 Saturday

More info: (937) 224-JOKE (5653) or

Artist info:

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