Mark Malkoff visits the Prattville Mayor’s Office

Mark Malkoff and Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. - Photo courtesy of Mark Malkoff
Mark Malkoff and Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. - Photo courtesy of Mark Malkoff

Prattville – Comedian, writer, filmmaker Mark Malkoff visited Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. on Tuesday to request the Key to the City … and he got it. But, it didn’t surprise him because while delving into the reasons why certain people were recipients of these keys, Malkoff could find no logical rationale.

“Mother Teresa has one Key to the City of New York, but several members of the Yankees baseball team have three each,” Malkoff said on Tuesday while in Opelika, Alabama. “So, I came to the conclusion that there is no real criteria for who got the Key to the City.”

Now he’s on a four-week trek to see just how many keys he can gather in different cities across the country.

In exchange for each Key to the City, mayors choose a community service for Malkoff to perform while temporarily in their town.

“I’ve done everything from planting trees to reading to school children,” said Malkoff. “While in Fairfax, Virginia, they asked me to climb into their town fountain. They actually put me in a wetsuit and I swam around collecting coins to donate to charity.”

Malkoff landed in Opelika after seeing Byard in Prattville. The comedian described Byard as “a really nice, down to earth guy,” and stated that the mayor and everyone in his office welcomed him with open arms.

“Mr. Malkoff is an interesting fellow,” said Byard. “I was glad that Prattville was able to participate in his project of collecting 100 Keys to Cities, over a period of traveling across the USA in four weeks.”

The last city Malkoff would travel to in Alabama would be Lafayette, thirteen miles from the Georgia state line. On Wednesday he is in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and after that it’s on to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, and so on until the last day on Sunday, October 27.

Sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, the comedian received his 31st key to the city from Byard, but admits he may now be having a small problem traveling in his Ford Fusion Hybrid.

“Where do I put all of the keys?” he asked. “Luckily, all of the Alabama mayors have given me the small traditional keys. But, Hampton, Virginia gave me a five-foot key so it could get pretty crowded in the car with several more of those.”

Malkoff formerly worked for Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Nick at Nite’s Road Crew, and has written for You Can’t Do That on Television. He made a video detailing his attempt to visit all 171 Starbucks franchises in Manhattan in a single day during the summer of 2007.

During his last project in June of 2009, Malkoff lived on an AirTran jet for 30 days in order to conquer his fear of flying.

For more information on his “key” tour, see

Article by Melissa Parker

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