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Canadian comedian brings movement, pop culture impersonations to New Year's Eve performance

Monday, January 2, 2012 | 3:33 p.m. CST; updated 4:12 p.m. CST, Monday, January 2, 2012
Comedian Greg Morton performs Friday at Déjà Vu Comedy Club. Morton, who is from Canada, has been performing at Columbia clubs for almost for 20 years.

COLUMBIA — Greg Morton is a stand-up comic, but that doesn't mean he stands still.

During his shows he says he is an animator, impressionist, musician and dancer. He combines different kinds of performances into his storytelling. He is most known for various cartoon voices he creates and his pop culture imitations that include "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars."

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He was a disc jockey in high school, and he now sings on national radio shows. His song “Obama Man” has more than 4 million views on YouTube.

“The general idea is to be constantly moving and doing things, and that’s me, totally,” he said. “Otherwise, I could have got bored easily.”

Morton came to Déjà Vu Comedy Club on Friday for a show that kept the audience laughing throughout. He's been coming to Columbia for 20 years.

Morton said he is planning to come to Columbia again in April.

Early life

Born in Canada, Morton, who was quiet growing up, was an only child and entertained himself by drawing. He always thought he would become an artist and studied animation in college.

But Morton found himself a little more extroverted than he thought he was.

“I couldn’t just sit there and just draw,” he said. “That’s going crazy.”

After college, he first went to a comedy show and was charmed by the way the people on stage told jokes and how the audience responded. He said to himself that he could do this.

For Morton, learning to tell jokes wasn't hard. He loves music and has a large record collection from many '80s musicians he dubs "old school stars." Making people laugh reminded him of good music.

Comedy and music are linked, he said. “There is a rhythm in it.”

He said Ron Shock, one of his favorite comics, used to tell jokes with a band in the background improvising with him. The audience's laughter would often follow the rhythm of the music and the jokes.

“You don’t want them to stop,” he said. “It’s easier to keep them laughing than to let them go, otherwise you have to start over again.”

Morton's routine uses jokes, songs and costumes during a show. His costumes include ones from "Ghostbusters," bird suits, sequined jackets and about a dozen wigs.

“When I was a kid, I used to do impressions of teachers or the driving instructor," he said. "I would get into trouble sometimes. When there was an assembly, I would always be that guy acting out."

Out of the comfort zone

Morton gets most of his inspiration from "Star Wars." He said it is the core of his routine.

“There is always something you can get out of it,” he said. “It’s one of those films that everyone can relate to. It’s very simple. It’s like a fairy tale.”

However, Morton said he the toughest thing is to try something new and jump out of his comfort zone. This frustrates him, but he said comedians always have to be open to new ideas because what is popular changes all the time.

Although it frustrates him, Morton said creating new ideas is the most exciting thing in the world. One of these new inventions is a "Baby Gaga."

It’s a baby doll dummy his wife found on the Internet when he was racking his brain to work out a piece about Lady Gaga having a baby called “Baby Gaga.”

He wrote a song for the baby and used the doll to play it.

“She (the baby) is so creative,” Morton said. “I just added that recently. I am working on it, and we will see what happens.”

On the road

“I travel ridiculously,” he said.

The night before the Columbia show, he was doing a charity benefit in Toronto.

Morton said this was the first New Year’s Eve that he and his wife couldn’t spend together, which was difficult for her.

Morton said he now tries to spend two weeks at home for every two weeks he is on the road.

“I am finding it might be better for my creativity because you have to live life in order to be able to have input back to your show,” Morton said. “When you are on the road, you are not really living.”


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