The ‘Spouse Whisperer’ combines honesty and hilarity at Tampa's Straz Center

'Don’t ever criticize your spouse’s decision. You were one of them.'

click to enlarge The ‘Spouse Whisperer’ combines honesty and hilarity at Tampa's Straz Center
Deborah Bostock-Kelley

On the morning following attending the “Spouse Whisperer” at the Straz Center, many husbands will wake up to discover that they have a bruised thigh in the shape of a handprint. Why? Because their wives were mouthing, “I told you so” or “see, it’s not just me,” and repeatedly smacking their husbands on the leg throughout the two-hour production inside Jaeb Theater on Valentine’s Day.

If you are or have ever been in a relationship, award-winning comedian Mark Cordes delivered his critically-acclaimed one-man show, with relatable content that made the audience members laugh and nod their heads in agreement. 

The audience was given cards upon entering the show and asked to write questions and comments that he would respond to in the second half of the performance. 

Preaching the cold, hard, and often hilarious facts about the male and female thought process on relationships, marriage, divorce, and everything in between, Cordes seamlessly combined scientific facts with comic spontaneity. He shared honest stories from his own marriage with the appreciative audience.

“Men and women are just wired differently,” Cordes explained, holding up a rubber brain prop. 

With a show that has traveled to 49 states and 18 countries,  topics included childhood memories, over-imbibing, light politics, bad jobs, Fitbits, technology overload, texting and coffins. 

He interacted with the audience, zeroing in on a single guy who did pattern dancing to lose weight, a couple one month away from marriage, and a husband and wife who’d been married the longest time in the audience. The husband’s long sleeve button-up jacket paired with shorts was a great topic of conversation that Cordes regularly returned to.

While Cordes told tales and playfully teased members of the audience during the first half of “Spouse Whisperer,” after a 15-minute intermission, dressed in white doctor’s jacket, Cordes relied solely on the basket of original questions that the audience supplied. He answered these so effortlessly, with every response came another wave of laughter.

He noted that no matter the corner of the country, the concerns about relationships were surprisingly universal.

"Why does my husband do this? Why does my wife do that?"

Although the audience’s cards dictated the direction of the second half of the show and the topics were sometimes adult in nature, Cordes did not rely on curse words or vulgarity to get an answer across. The best question won dinner and a movie. Ultimately, it went to do the summer/winter-fashioned senior citizen for being such a good sport.

To date Cordes has collected over 14,000 questions and plans to publish a book called “The Best of the Spouse Whisperer.”

“It’s a bathroom reader,” he quipped to the audience.

At one point, toward the end of the show, his act was interrupted by a young drunken patron calling out, “Why do they call you the “Spouse Whisperer?’”

Cordes, without missing a beat, countered, “Were you here for the first half of my show?”

Mark preached the importance of laughter in a relationship and how you should never disparage your spouse’s choice. 

“Don’t ever criticize your spouse’s decision. You were one of them.”

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