Marjorie Preston was born and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio and spent the nineties in New York City, working primarily in the field of public relations. In 2000, she brought her PR and writing acumen to Cleveland. Testimonials about her company, Marjorie Preston Public Relations, can be found here.
But Preston’s always enjoyed a challenge. So in 2003, she decided to study comedy writing with the Second City Cleveland and found herself churning out two dozen sketches and blackouts in just a few months. When it closed, Preston studied with former Second City cast member and instructor Kiff Vanden Heuvel, now a successful actor in Los Angeles. She learned to write nearly every type of comedic material: sketches, parody songs, ‘The Onion’-style headlines, comic essays, slogans, stand up, short stories, even a roast and a mini book. If you ever need a Ricky Martin song parody or cabaret homage to Bea Arthur, she’s got it covered.
She found herself writing standup and realizing that if someone was going to try it out in front of a crowd, that someone was going to have to be her. In early 2005, she tried out at the Cleveland Improv and was immediately given a slot in the club’s open mic night. Preston says, “Isn’t it brilliant that during the eight years I lived in New York, it never once crossed my mind to try standup? But in Cleveland, well, of course!”
In June 2005, in preparation for her first Improv performance, she attended the standup workshop of radio host, author and former assistant to Budd Friedman, Dave Schwensen, and in December 2005, took the workshop of comedian and David Letterman booker Eddie Brill. In November 2005, Preston attended a solo performance workshop with Cleveland playwright and actress Sarah Morton.
Preston has performed standup several times at the Cleveland Improv as well as Edison’s, Just For Today, MacNamara’s Pub, Rockstar, and Wilbert’s in Cleveland, the Bassa Vita Lounge and the Riviera in Lakewood, Ground Floor Improv in Cleveland Heights, Johnny Malloys in Willoughby, Sam’s Tavern in Mogadore, and Max McQ’s in Akron. She has graced stages in Seattle (Giggles, The Comedy Underground), Chicago (Cozmo’s) and Minneapolis (The Corner Bar). Credits include the So You Think You’re Funny? VI contest at the Bassa Vita Lounge in Lakewood and the Ground Floor Theater comedy contest in Cleveland Heights.
She has studied short-form improvisation with the Cleveland Improv Institute and Ground Floor Theater, and performs regularly at the Cleveland Improv Jam at Mahall’s in Lakewood, Ohio. She led a Danish match with BATS Improv’s Theatresports Raw in San Francisco in the summer of 2006. Preston is a currently a member of Angry Ladies of Improv troupe, a four-woman improv troupe that has performed longform improv at such venues such as Big Dog Theater, Clevleland Public Theatre and Mahall’s in the Cleveland area, and at the Columbus Unscripted festival in Columbus, Ohio. She is an alumna of Something Dada shortform improvisational comedy troupe and Rockwell 9 improv troupe, which performed both short-form and longform improv. Rockwell 9’s members trained for several years in Cleveland, Detroit, New York and Chicago and perform in venues all over Northeast Ohio, including the Oberlin College Improv Conference in 2009 and 2010. Rockwell 9 performed on the Upright Citizens Brigade stage in New York City in 2010 as part of the Del Close Marathon (DCM) of improv, and also performed at DCM in 2011 and 2012. Preston has taken workshops with many of the country’s brightest improv minds including Dana Quercioli of Second City TourCo, Dave Buckman (The Frank Mills, Austin, Texas) and Miles Stroth of Improv Olympic.
Preston completed the Advanced Comedy Writing Program at Second City Chicago in early 2007. She and her classmates wrote and produced the original sketch comedy revue, “Home is Where The Hurt Is.” Due to Preston’s public relations efforts, the show received feature articles in two news outlets, and mentions in a score of Chicago publications. Every single show date sold out. When her instructor held her one-woman show, Preston was who she wanted to do PR for that show — no matter that Preston is based in Cleveland and the show was in Chicago. She is also a member of the Cleveland-based sketch troupe, The Public Squares.
Preston’s film and video credits include: the Last Call Cleveland sketch “Happy Hour,” the popular web series “Man in the Box,” and Mac vs. PC commercial parodies she wrote and produced for her MySpace site and YouTube. They are entitled “I’m Chicago,” “Cheer Up” and “Partnership.” They were screened at the Cleveland Comedy Festival in November 2009. They should be watched in order for full effect. They will only take a minute and a half of your time.
She plays alto and baritone saxophone, handbells and guitar, sings, and has puppetry, theatre and dance experience. She won a karaoke contest in 2006 at Champps Restaurant and was a finalist in a 2010 karaoke contest as well. A former newspaper columnist, she has written freelance for the Sun Newspapers, Cleveland Family, and several national publications, done some ad sales work for CoolCleveland.com, and is involved with several book projects, one in collaboration with her daughter, called “Emmaisms.” The book is available on amazon.com. She is putting the final touches on an Ohio joke book now. Preston says, “Being a dabbler in life has come in handy, because comedians draw on life experiences to make the humor more universal.”