Comedian Myles Morrison is headed to the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown.
It will be a familiar trip for the Saskatoon-based comic.
“When I first started I performed at a bar in Yorkton for about four people. It was rough,” he related, but added things were better on a more recent trip. “That was 12 years ago. Last year I performed at the Gallagher Centre for a few hundred people for the city’s Christmas party and the show was a great.
“I’ve also been to the Yorkton Film Festival a few times, which is a great time, so I’m always looking forward to come back to Yorkton.”
Given that the show this time is at a fall fair with a farm background will that change how Morrison approaches the event where he will perform at the Farmers Business Network Thursday evening?
“I’m always reading the audience to see what type of jokes they're into, and I do like to tailor at least some of it to the crowd,” he said. “I grew up in Saskatchewan so I’ll tell a lot more local stories and Saskatchewan inside jokes than I would in say Halifax, but I’ll also tell some of the jokes that got me into Just For Laughs.
Those are the ones that pay the bills.”
For Morrison comedy was always an interest he wanted to pursue.
“When I was 12 my dad played me George Carlin’s ‘Class Clown’ comedy album on vinyl,” he said. “There’s a moment where he gets the entire audience of thousands to all pop their cheek at the same time. It’s still one of the coolest and genuinely silly things I’ve ever heard. I had an instinctual reaction to it and immediately knew I’d have to do it one day.”
So one day. Morrison took a bold step.
“I looked up a comedian in the white pages that I had seen perform and asked if I could open for him. He said ‘I’ll let you do five-minutes. If you’re funny I’ll bring you out again… if you’re not, don’t ever do it again’,” he related. “My first time on stage went just well enough to make me want to do it again. I’d also do guest spots at the local Yuk Yuks comedy club.”
As far as influences Morrison points to some of the best as comedians he respects.
“Jerry Seinfeld, Mitch Hedburg, Jim Gaffigan are probably my favourites,” he said, adding, “I keep my comedy pretty clean and they’re probably the closest to my style as well.
I’m an observational storyteller, but I enjoy the wordsmithing and crafting of jokes, so my stories are pretty punchy.”
When it comes to inspiration, Morrison said a comedian need only look around them.
“I think most people have a few funny thoughts or situations they encounter every day,” he said. “When I started comedy I just started writing all of those down in note pads.
“These days I’m more selective with the jokes because I know what I want to talk about and what I don't, and I use my phone instead of a note pad, but the process is still the same.
“My jokes/stories come from every day experiences that I just add funny twists and perspective to.
“After years of throwing all those ideas on stage you get a pretty strong sense of what will work on stage. I write the majority of my material, but improvising and figuring out how the joke should be told in front of a live crowd can be a really fun part of the process too.”
It’s a process that has worked when you look at Morrison’s resume.
“I’ve been selected twice to perform for the troops in 12 different countries through Armed Forces Entertainment, which was amazing,” he said. “Soldiers stationed abroad are the most appreciative crowds I’ve ever played for.
“Last year was a career highlight; I was a finalist in SiriusXM’s Top Comic and got to perform at Just For Laugh’s JFL42 festival to a sold-out theatre.
“More recently I was selected to perform at the CBC Halifax Comedy Festival, and Nov. 15th I’ll be opening for TSN’s Jay & Dan at Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.”