Steve Bauer and Marianne Wittelsberger are not your average married couple.
They would prefer to watch a bloody zombie flick over a romantic comedy. Bauer enjoys wearing makeup just as much as Wittelsberger. And they think it’s funny to send their young niece to school with special effects bruises and cuts to startle her principal.
They are known best around town as The Jokesters.
If their life story was a Hollywood movie, it would draw influences from silent film, dark comedy, horror, romance genres, and of course, Benny Hill. And it started right here in Timonium.
“We met at the state fair,” Bauer said.
He was working as a security guard, while she sold corndogs.
“It seemed like every time my supervisor came around in his little golf cart, she was sitting on my lap. So he started calling me sweet lips,” Bauer said. “He’d say, ‘Hey sweet lips, tell your girlfriend to get me a corndog.’ So I’d go over and ask for a corndog for my boss and then she’d give me one.”
Wittelsberger chimed in, “And Steve never ate one.”
Since the state fair, “so long ago” that neither would say exactly when, the couple has been inseparable.
“We just met here and we started going out every night. I would smell like corndogs,” Wittelsberger said. “We’d go to Towson. We’d go to the Kent Lounge, back when the drinking age was 18. The glory days.”
Bauer jokingly added, “We ruined it for everybody.”
They both attended Towson University, then called Towson State University, and took up a shared interest in the theater department. Enamored with the art of theater and film, they became masters of performing arts, both on- and offstage.
They began performing alongside one another in a mime troupe called “Yours, Mime and Ours.”
“We did the typical black and white striped shirt with red pants, suspenders and bowler caps. But we had good makeup and we learned good makeup at Towson University,” Wittelsberger said.
They performed their act around the city and would later take their show on the road, even performing at the White House on several occasions.
Over 20 years ago, the couple moved from Baltimore to Los Angeles, where they would spend the next 12 years of their lives. They worked on films and stage shows, honing their makeup artistry.
In Los Angeles, they hosted an award-winning sketch comedy show on public access TV that they describe as a mix between a horror movie and a Benny Hill-style comedy. They lament that they’ve only uploaded two short clips from their show, “Jokestervision,” on YouTube.
About 10 years ago, they returned to the Baltimore area and on Thursday, the couple was nice enough to bring about the zombie apocalypse in Timonium.
I, Nick DiMarco (your humble Patch editor), put their makeup artisty skills to the test. It took about two hours to transform me from the handsome reporter that I am, to a hideous zombie. (See videos.)