The Daily Mashup: Mark Twain to Mark Wahlberg

30 Jun

climb (2)Mark Twain is easily one of the most famous writers to ever walk the planet. His novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is called “The Great American Novel.” He is also known for his witty sense of humor in both his writing and speech. Twain was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty. He had a very close friendship with Nikola Tesla, completely fascinated by science and discovery. Mark Wahlberg is the bad boy of the Hollywood industry, a rapper turned model turned actor and producer. He has starred in multiple successful films, including Planet of the Apes, The Departed, The Other Guys, The Fighter (which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination), Ted, and Lone Survivor. He also produced the popular HBO series Entourage, which he based on his life in Hollywood.


“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” – Mark Twain

“I don’t want to let my guard down and feel too comfortable. If you become complacent, you start feeling entitled. I’m ready to go dig ditches if I have to. Whatever I gotta do to provide for my family.” -Mark Wahlberg

Here are a few similarities:

These two big shots were part of a big family. Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was the sixth of seven children. His family lived in a small house in Missouri and only three of his siblings survived childhood. By the time Twain was six, he had already lost three of his siblings. Mark Wahlberg was the youngest of nine children. He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and soon began a life of crime. With four of his siblings in and out of jail, Wahlberg was following the example he was given. He has since taken full responsibility for his crimes and said his upbringing wasn’t to blame. He knew right from wrong, and chose the wrong path anyway.

In addition to coming from big families, Twain and Wahlberg are both of English and Irish descent. Twain has ancestors of Scots-Irish and English descent. Wahlberg’s father is of Irish descent and so is his mother, who is also of English descent. Through his mother, Wahlberg is actually related to great American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, best known for writing The Scarlet Letter. Looks like Twain and Wahlberg’s families both had some great writers!

Though they ended up extremely successful, these two were school dropouts. When Mark Twain was eleven, his father passed. The next school year, following the fifth grade, Twain decided to not attend. Instead, he became a printer’s apprentice where he worked as a typesetter and contributed to the Hannibal Journal, a newspaper his older brother owned. Twain also educated himself by spending time at public libraries, where there was a greater depth of knowledge available to him. At age 18, Twain left his brother’s newspaper and set out for New York to work as a printer. He married at age 35, became a journalist, and started writing his great novels a few years after. Mark Wahlberg attended Copley Square High School in Boston but never graduated. As a youth, Wahlberg was in trouble 20-25 times with the Boston Police Department and came into fame after being an original member of the boy band New Kids on the Block, of which his older brother Donnie was also a member. He only stayed in the band three months before quitting and he began recording with other rappers, with whom he formed the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. With the famous Calvin Klein underwear shoot, Wahlberg gained fame and got involved in the acting business.

Both of these men owe at least some of their fame to being humorists. Twain is a humor writer and Wahlberg is a humor performer. Twain started out writing light, humorous pieaces but his wit and satire mixed with solid narrative gained him fame with his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is America’s premier award for humor and is given by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts since 1998. Winners of this award include famous comedians such as Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Eddie Murphy. Though Wahlberg is not considered a comedian, he has acted in and produced multiple comedy films and TV series. One of his most successful comedies, Ted, was Universal’s highest-grossing film in 2012. The Other Guys, in which he starred alongside Will Ferrell, was a box office success and grossed over $170 million. His HBO series Entourage was the winner of six Primetime Emmy Awards for the acting, directing, writing and Outstanding Comedy Series categories. The series was turned into a feature film and debuted in 2015.

Twain and Wahlberg were born and raised Christian. Mark Twain identified as a Presbyterian and participated in religious discussions. He attended services, especially to deal with the deaths of those he loved and the prospect of his own mortality. Twain thought critically about religion and expressed his doubt in the goodness of God, who was supposed to be all-powerful for good or evil, yet let evil things happen on Earth. He contemplated whether God created the world with tortures for his own purpose and was indifferent towards humanity and its insignificance. Mark Wahlberg is a committed Roman Catholic, asserting that he starts his day by praying and after leaving his house every morning he stops at the church to thank God before continuing with his day. Though he is a religious person and admits to being impressed by the Catholic church’s Pope Francis, he doesn’t agree with the church’s view on gay marriage, something he supports.

These two men at one point in their lives have made racist comments but since have changed views on people of other races. Mark Twain was always a dedicated supporter of the abolitionist movement to end slavery and praised Lincoln’s Proclamation, saying it “not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also.” He felt that America was not fair to those who were non-white, stating that the Chinese were also mistreated and abused. However sensitive he was to race politics, he made some offensive claims about Native Americans in his early writings, calling them “the scum of the earth.” He later made an argument against his own statements, recognizing how these people had also been mistreated and detested how white men called them “savages.” Mark Wahlberg had his own run in with hate speech as a young boy, when on two separate occasions he harassed African American children by throwing rocks and yelling racial slurs at age 15. At age 16, he assaulted a Vietnamese man on the street using a long wooden stick and yelling racial slurs at him as well. For these crimes, he has been charged with attempted murder and served time. He has since apologized and asked forgiveness after reconnecting with the Catholic faith.

Twain and Wahlberg didn’t just grow up with similar family size, they also had similar families as adults. Both Marks had one wife and four children. Twain, when living in Buffalo, New York with his wife, had one son and three daughters: Langdon, Susy, Clara, and Jean. Wahlberg lives with his family in Beverly Hills. He and his wife have two sons and two daughters. Of his daughters, Wahlberg says, “Having two daughters changed my perspective on a lot of things, and I definitely have a newfound respect for women. And I think I finally became a good and real man when I had a daughter.” How sweet!


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By Molly Mae Force, Cool Girls Reporter. Connect with me on LinkedIn:

Look out for my upcoming book: Mashup Madness: History Made Fun Through Past and Present Icons


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