Comedian Mark Curry Speaks on Returning to Television: "I'm Gonna Shock the World"

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 17 2024, Published 9:13 a.m. ET

Mark Curry on stage wearing a Raiders hat
Source: Getty Images

The beef between comedians has been taking over pop culture after Katt Williams's historic interview on Club Shay Shay. Katt called both Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey "joke thieves," which reminded everyone of comedian Mark Curry's similar accusation against Steve. While Mark has stayed mostly out of the limelight, he seems ready to get back into it.

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On Jan. 11, 2024, the Willie D Live podcast dropped a 90-minute episode in which Willie interviews Mark. He talks about Steve, joke theft, Hollywood, and more while sidestepping what happened to him in 2007. But what is Mark Curry up to now and what happened to him almost two decades ago?

Mark Curry speaks during the Paul Mooney Tribute Show at The Laugh Factory on May 27, 2021
Source: Getty Images
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Mark Curry is now on tour with Katt Williams and may return to television.

Known for playing Mark Cooper in Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, Mark rose to fame for his career as an actor. When the show finished in 1997, Mark made it clear that he wanted to dedicate his life to being a comedian first. Even still, he took on roles for a few years in The Drew Carey Show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, See Dad Run, and more. But from 1997 onwards, his most consistent role was playing himself.

Speaking to Willie D, Mark explained, “I’m a comedian. I wanna be a comedian. And that’s what I am. I’m a comedian first, and then, I wanna come out with a new sitcom. I’ve been thinking about that. ‘Do I wanna come back to TV? Do I wanna do this?’ But it looks so lame out there. I see these shows, they’re so lame. I did it once and I retired. I said I’m done with it. I didn’t wanna come back, I did it. So I’m thinking about coming back to television.”

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While some sitcoms might be “lame,” we doubt that anything Mark would produce or star in would succumb to that fate. Even still, for now, he’s focusing on putting his comedy career first as he tours with Katt. “Right now, I’m just on tour,” he said when Willie asked if he was producing anything. “I’m just a comedian. And that’s what I like to be. I’d like to be Richard Pryor. I just wanna be out there being the funniest dude that I could possibly be.”

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“And that goes with my mental — When I’m funny, that’s where my life goes. I’m a comedian, so I’m funny, I can do other things. So I’m looking at this sitcom. I wrote it down. I have the basis for it. I will be executive producer, when I push a sitcom out, if I wanna do that … Maybe I’ll come back and do a sitcom and shock the world.”

In 2007, Mark Curry was in a life-threatening accident.

In his interview with Mark, Willie D asks about 2007, to which Mark responds, “I don’t want to talk about that,” and for good reason. In 2007, Mark nearly died due to a freak accident. He was doing laundry in his Oakland, Calif. home on April 17, 2007, when there was an unexpected explosion. Responders found that an aerosol can had been left behind the water heater.

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Mark Curry attends Netflix Presents Russell Simmons "Def Comedy Jam 25" Special Event on Sept. 10, 2017
Source: Getty Images

The Sacramento Observer reported, “Comedian Mark Curry is recuperating after an April accident at his Oakland home that left him with burns on 18 percent of his body.” He told the outlet, “I was depressed. I thought about committing suicide, but where in a hospital room is a man who’s 6’ 6” going to hang himself?” as he made light of the situation.

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After being put into a medically induced coma for three days, he really did consider suicide, which he first revealed on The Montel Williams Show. But for Mark, the whole experience led him to raise funds for burn victims and to bring attention to depression within the Black community. Now, however, he’s reticent to talk about the experience in detail.

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“I don’t go back,” he told Willie D. “I don’t go back to things that shocked my mind, that f--ked me up. I don’t even think about that s--t. It f--ked my life up, it messed me up. It actually was a positive thing because it changed my comedy. It changed who I was at that moment. And Richard Pryor is my idol, and so me and Richard Pryor went through the same thing … It was a bad time in my life … It’s hard to overcome that. I still haven’t overcome it.”

Considered by many to be the greatest comedian of all time, Richard also famously had a near-death experience with fire. So perhaps Mark really is on his way to being the next Richard Pryor.

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