The entertainment world is steeped in standup comics who have become actors. For Mark Poolos, things happened the other way around. "I started out doing voice-overs and acting in small, independent films," says the Edina native. "I even went to New York to try and become an actor. But every audition I went on ended with the [casting people] saying, 'You should be a standup comedian.'" Poolos reckoned it was perhaps his sense of timing that elicited that response. Back in Minnesota he took a standup comedy course, and after the very first time he stepped onstage his instructor told him he was a natural. "It seemed pretty quick and easy," he says. "I just wrote stories about my life and all the stuff that happened to me and my family." While he seemed to have a gift for performing, Poolos notes it took a while to really find his comedic voice. "One thing I knew right off the bat is that I didn't want to be a character," he explains. "I didn't want to have to pretend for the rest of my career." That is unless it involved a return to acting, which he's still open to. Meanwhile, Poolos continues to entertain audiences across the country with what he describes as "stories from my life, slightly embellished for comedy. The life of a giant idiot, pretty much."18+; 21+ later shows.
July 18-22, 8 p.m.; July 20-21, 10:30 p.m., 2012