A practical Joker takes to the streets

Mark Langvee in character as The Joker in Toronto.

Mark Langvee in character as The Joker in Toronto.


Lots of costumes, many varieties of suits, ties, funky shoes and bracelets – that’s all you can see in Mark Langvee’s room as he sits at his dressing table turning himself into the Joker with his professional makeup tool kit every day.

While most people start their morning with a cup of coffee, Langvee, 27, a professional cosplay artist, begins the day by dyeing his hair green, applying a little white powder on his face and a tiny tint of red on lips. He spends almost half an hour to make a fake scar on his cheeks, which completes his look as the famous Batman villain, The Joker.

“Channelling the character helps me to push past things that had hurt me a great deal,” says Langvee. “This is a way to turf off those feelings and energize with pure ego.”

According to Langvee, he had terrible past memories of being hurt by loved ones, and to stop those memories, becoming The Joker helps him.

“I am often too compassionate and get hurt as a result,” says Langvee, taking a deep breath. He explains that the energy he gets from assuming The Joker’s character helps him not care about other people’s opinions.

Since childhood, Langvee has always been drawn more to villains than heroes.

“Villains are kickass,” says Langvee excitedly. “I don’t know why the hero always wins in the movie in the end.  In every movie, the hero has been beaten up by the villain from the beginning.”

“I have been watching the series of Batman movies, cartoons and TV shows since I was just 6 years old and the only reason I really love The Joker because of his immortal character,” he says.  “He always shows up with a new story of revenge, which amazes Batman.”

Langvee performs as a standup comedian, using a fusion of

Batman- and Joker-related jokes, interacting with kids and families and giving them a good laugh.  He works with many other cosplay artists, most of whom are street performers who usually perform on busy streets or malls, where there are crowds.

“I am The Joker of Dundas Square, that’s how people recognize me,” says Langvee.

“I don’t deny that there is a shock value to what I do. The performance has become about shocking people out of their day-to-day tunnel vision. It’s a way for me to make people question the nature of their reality.”

Trish Marentette has been in a relationship with Langvee for a few months and she believes although The Joker is a negative character, it never affects Langvee’s positive way of life. She adds that The Joker and Langvee have many things in common.

“I see Joker as a character that he plays and an act he puts on for positive attention,” explains Marentette. “The Joker’s twisted and evil personality doesn’t seem to crossover into him. He is an honest and respectful guy who cares about the essence of others.”

“There is one thing The Joker and Mark share though, and that’s the use of intelligence,” she says. “The Joker has twisted mind games that he plays and smartly avoids capture from authorities and Mark has strong conversational intelligence.”

Marentette believes that Langvee has found a successful creative balance of artistic abilities – not only does he apply the Joker makeup perfectly, but he also draws and paints quite well.

“Mark is an extrovert and can easily hold a conversation with someone,” said Marentette. “On the night I met him, he talked the entire time and it was really nice that he did talking because I was so shy.”

“As well, he is responsible, he pays his bills, and is committed to his paying job, and feeds his cat,” Marentette says with a laugh.

According to Langvee, when he started appearing as The Joker in his daily life, he found it very difficult to get a regular job when he was performing less in winters.

“In the early days, every one had a problem with my makeup and green hair,” he says.

After struggling with many jobs he finally found a decent job at coffee factory.

“I am so happy to work here. I love that job as well, and here people don’t really have any problem with my green hair,” Langvee said with a smile. “But I have to put on less makeup nowadays.

Langvee says he has already started making plans for getting back on the streets this summer with some new ways to take revenge on Batman.

“People are going to enjoy The Joker a lot this summer, just wait and see.”










4 Responses to A practical Joker takes to the streets