For a kid growing up in Shorewood, the idea of one day becoming an award-winning comedic sensation might seem like an impossible dream. But Marcus Monroe, SHS ’03, has made this dream his reality.
“I always knew I wanted to be a performer,” Monroe says. “I was either going to be a comedian or in a boy band. I can’t sing at all, so, comedy it is!”
At age 10, Monroe says, he began performing juggling comedy shows around town, “(at) the Shorewood Library, parades, birthday parties, you name it,” he says. “When I got older, I started street performing and working festivals like Summerfest. So, by the time I was 18, I had a ton of experience working professionally as a juggler—which, I’m aware, is a ridiculous sentence!”
After graduating from SHS, Monroe moved to New York, initially pursuing a television and film career in addition to his comedy juggling career. His movie and TV credits include a film adaptation of the 1973 book Wisconsin Death Trip and Nickelodeon's Slime Across America; he also was the host of Discovery Kids' Mad Science and has appeared in ad campaigns for Apple’s MacBook Pro and iPad.
Eventually Monroe decided to fully focus on comedy, studying stand-up and working hard on comedic material. In 2012, he won the prestigious Andy Kaufman Award. In 2019, his audition at the world-famous Comedy Cellar in New York earned him a spot in the lineup, which means he now performs at the world’s top comedy club alongside stars like Trevor Noah, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Dave Attel and Amy Schumer.
Career highlights for Monroe include performing with Neil Patrick Harris at Outside Lands, signing with legendary comedy manager Rory Rosegarten, and appearances on both The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Seth Myers.
“I actually hate talking about things I’ve done because I’m always looking ahead,” Monroe says. “Just being able to do what I love for a living is a true blessing.”
Despite the fame, Monroe hasn’t lost sight of his values and the people who helped him along the way. A self-described “big Drama guy,” at SHS, Monroe says former SHS Drama Director Barbara Gensler was an inspiration, and that her guidance and support helped him build confidence and cultivate his originality.
“I used to be very self-conscious and wanted to make sure I fit in every place I went,” Monroe says. “But thanks to my experiences in Shorewood, coupled with getting older, I’ve realized it’s your unique qualities and interests that make you different.” His best advice? “Lean into what makes you you, and don’t apologize for being yourself!
Up next for Monroe: a TV show coming out next year that he says has been “a long time in the making,” a new animated series (he’s the executive producer) called “Stoopid,” premiering on YouTube in December, and the continuation of his stand-up tour, which includes performances at the University of Green Bay and Carthage College on February 9 and 10.
For more information on Monroe and to view his tour schedule, visit marcusmonroe.com.
[Pictured: Recent publicity shots of Marcus Monroe, who has joked his way into the comedic elite.]