I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I always appreciate the group getting exposure, but always think all of the Beards individually deserve some credit. So, here goes the first. Keep in mind, I’m no newspaper man, so I might not come off as eloquent or exciting as I’d like.
MJ Marsh. Arguably the most bearded of the group and probably the friendliest person I know. I don’t think I have ever seen him in a group of people where he hasn’t been able to make friends. He’s just got a magnetic presence. When he’s offstage you want to hang out and talk with him, when he’s onstage, you just have to watch him. We always think about MJ as kind of our ambassador with other groups and other people when we travel. All of us can make friends, but MJ just seems to make them faster and in greater quantity.
As an actor/improvisor, he’s supportive, quick on his feet and has the audience hanging on to every word he says. He’s always there to help create that snarky cop, befuddled child, strong-willed woman, or whatever else the show is calling for. I personally know I can always count on MJ to be right there with me, even if I throw out an idea that’s maybe not fully formed yet or somehow doesn’t make sense. MJ can always find a way to make sense of it, tie it together and bring the audience right along with him. He’s also been a big hand in creating some of our workshops, bringing ideas for our themed shows and keeping or short form improv running smoothly.
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Looking at all he does, I’m amazed at how he can keep it all together. Aside from Bearded Men, he performs with in ComedySportz at CSz Twin Cities, shows at HUGE Theater including, “Star Trek: The Next Improvisation,” “Creature Feature,” “Cain & Ricks,” among many others, and not to mention his scripted stage and film work. Improvising, acting, teaching, bartending, being a friend. Always with a smile. I can basically never tell if he’s stressed.
MJ is a great collaborator and artist. The Twin Cities performing arts scene is all the better for having a person like this around, even if not that many people know him… yet. Talk about someone who deserves more credit than he’s ever given. I am proud that MJ is part of the Bearded Men, but more proud that I can count this guy as one of my best friends. I mean, who else would shave a jolly holiday message into the hair on his back?
Photos: Ryan Haro