Comedian Martin Morrow Talks Characterization and Hypersensitively
Comedian Martin Morrow has been performing on stage since the age of 18, at that time performing mostly during open mic nights. His professional career took off in 2009. He joined the award winning comedy duo “Tubbi and Martin” in Auburn, Ala., perfecting his improve, sketch, and stand-up comedy skills. Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Morrow now resides in Chicago Ill. His comedy routine has brought him coast to coast, from New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and various cities across the Midwest. Morrow called into WUWM this week, talking to Rachel Owens and Matt Kemple, who is the Creative Producer of Milwaukee Comedy, about his unique style sense of humor and the current state of comedy. Morrow will be performing tonight at 8pm as part of the new show, "Clothesline Comedy,” at Club Garibaldi's, hosted by Milwaukee Comedy.
His comedy routines have Morrow flipping between his catalog of different characters such as “Farty Marty”, a flamboyant flatulence obsessed performer. He also tells stories, jokes, give perspectives, does improve, and crowd work.
“I guess I prefer doing jokes as myself, because then it can come from more of a real place” says Morrow. “But characters are fun. I can be silly, I can be goofy, I can do something that doesn’t have to be my voice or my perspective, if I just want to goof around I can do that by doing a Farty Marty or I can do a really awful rap.”
Sometimes performing as a character proves to be a challenge for the up-and-coming entertainer. Chicago stand-up theaters and lavish Los Angeles night clubs react differently to certain points in his material. Each region of the country has its own comedic taste which requires Morrow to regularly change up his routines on the road.
“They all bring a different element, I feel like in LA you can be a little bit sillier,” says Morrow. “New York is very grounded, it’s tough. The Midwest is always awesome; people get comedy in the Midwest. The South is a different beat. There are those offhand spots that you have to talk about that lowest common denominator stuff like football and rednecks. I like trying to figure out each room and play into it.”
Much of Morrow’s inspiration comes from his life experiences, stories, and movies he has stumbled upon; RoboCop 3 was a point of particular hilarity for the comedian. He also says his family and relationships are a huge source of comedic inspiration.
“A lot of it is from the news, or movies, or just arguments I get into on Vine which I shouldn’t be doing but it’s fun for me sometimes,” jokes Morrow.
With comedy performers popping up everywhere, especially with the onset of Youtube stardom, the world of comedy is certainly in a transitionary period. Virtually anyone can garner views and likes on their social media profiles and string up a following. Morrow feels comedy is both growing and taking a step back.
“It is growing in the sense that we are open to a lot of different voices,” says Morrow, pointing to Cameron Esposito and Hannibal Buressas as unique comedy voices today. “I think a big battle is trying to develop material that may be risky and having to not offend people; we live in a sort of hyper-sensitive era now.”
This hypersensitivity has made comedy difficult. Any “trigger words” can upset a crowd, even in a funny context. Morrow describes a situation in which an audience member got offended by a comically misogynistic rap piece he and a few friends performed.
“We want to bash things to make it seem like we are okay with everything but we also want to enjoy those things. That’s the dynamic shift that is happening I think,” says Morrow.
Morrow is performing tonight, Dec. 18, at Milwaukee’s Club Garibaldi's. The show, being recorded for one of Morrow’s network audition tapes, is part of a new comedy show, "Clothesline Comedy,” presented by Milwaukee Comedy.
Watch Martin Morrow’s character “Farty Marty” below: