Interview: Martin Morrow

You may know Martin Morrow as Farty Marty, a giggling comedic titan with a gassy catch phrase, or as Mar'son, the leader of the intensely rowdy Fuck Your Family rap crew. He's also a cast member at The Lincoln Lodge, competed in the latest season of Impress These Apes, and performs standup, sketch, and improv all over the city. Tomorrow night (11/10) at The Greenhouse Theater, Martin will be performing in his second one man show, entitled In My Head, produced by MPAACT.

I talked to him earlier this week about his background and the work that goes into building a one man show. Get tickets for tomorrow's show here.

The Steamroller: You're originally from Alabama, correct? What brought you to Chicago?

Martin Morrow: I am originally from Birmingham, AL. I grew up there, went to college in Auburn, AL and an opportunity led me to work for Ugly Betty in New York and I cut my teeth doing comedy there as well. The show was cancelled while I was there and I went back home for my graduation and a series of unfortunate events kept me in AL. A buddy of mine who I grew up and performed with named Cameron Gillette knew I was frustrated in Birmingham and was looking to go to a place with better comedic opportunities. He told me he had a room open in Chicago and I took it.

TS: So I know you predominantly from operating within the standup scene in Chicago, but you often perform in character. It seems like you're as interested in solo sketch/character work as you are in straightforward standup. Is that at all accurate? Where do you see yourself fitting into the weirdly disparate scenes of sketch, improv, and standup in Chicago?

MM: Yeah, I really bounce around. Sketch was the first thing I ever did so I'm happy to work with Second City in doing sketches and improv. Stand-up is what I enjoy doing the most though. It's therapeutic at times whereas sketch and improv is more of a leave it all at the door type of thing. I can put every emotion into a stand-up bit. I think character work for me is the middle ground. It gives me an opportunity to goof around and convey a different message or different feeling through a different voice.

I want to be able to build a following for all of it though to where people want to come to a show because they know they're going to get something different and unique with each style of performance.

TS: You finished in the top three during the most recent season of Impress These Apes, what was that experience like?

MM: Impress These Apes was fantastic. I was in first place for several weeks, finishing top 3 was awesome and it really opened my eyes to a lot of how to further develop my work. It was the hardest thing I've ever been apart of that I actually enjoyed.

TS: This is your second one man show with MPAACT, how did you start working with them?

MM: I had a coworker named Sati Word who works in the theater community in the city and knew of my work and approached me about doing a show with MPAACT and I put up Southern Discomfort which was mostly about growing up in the south, dealing with racism, and my relationship with my father before and during his death. The show went well and I got asked to do another one, which is In My Head.

TS: What do you see as the differences between a one man show and a straightforward comedy show?

MM: The difference in a one man show and a comedy show is in a one man show there are different things you have to oversee and adjust. In a one man, you become the director, producer, lighting designer, music- everything. For a stand-up show, you go on stage, tell your jokes for however long, and just try to keep people laughing or at least keep their attention. There is a lot more pressure in a one man show for everything to flow right because it's all on your shoulders

TS: What can we expect from this show?

MM: This show will have all the characters I perform and some new ones. I'll also tell stories in between about dating and various relationships as well as my family life. It's going to be a lot of fun and I hope everyone comes.