Not too many people are hanging around in the entertainment industry after their 70th birthday, but Garrett Morris is one of the few.
He was part of Saturday Night Live’s inaugural season 40 years ago and will be part of the celebration on February 15 that also includes Eddie Murphy.
“Providence has blessed me,” Morris says. “I can’t say God no more because I’m a Buddhist but it’s blessed me,” Morris says. He’s now appearing on the hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls on CBS.
Morris says his favorite skit on SNL was one called “I’m Going To Get Me A Shotgun and Shoot All The Whiteys I See.” Imagine how that would play today with social media. ”
“On Truth or Consequences” [host] Art Linklater used to invite people onstage to do their thing,” Morris explains. “An old lady from North Carolina had written a lot of songs and I swear her favorite song was ‘I’m Going to Get Me A Shotgun and Kill All the N-Words I See.” I had nothing at improv and I thought about that story. I’ve been in New Orleans where everybody knows me and I’ve had guys who look like they were extras in Deliverance and they see me and say ‘Garrett Morris, that’s you, that’s my favorite thing you’ve ever done and they start singing that song.”
Morris says that that kind of political incorrectness is what made the early years of SNL so great. Now, imagine bits like his and Murphy’s famous “Kill My Landlord,” being paraded over social media where someone is bound to be offended. Morris says that right-wing conservatism has permeated networks to the point where everyone is too afraid of the backlash to be genuinely funny.
“That whole way of thinking in my opinion has affected what goes on on TV, what goes on in the movies,” says Morris. “You can’t make a joke about anybody.”
Morris says that because of that, he had to be convinced to do the SNL celebration.
“It’s not really that I don’t view it as something important in my life, because it is,” says Garrett. “It just that it’s not really doing what I think it should be doing. It ought to be challenging a lot of stuff. It ought to have the energy that came out of Mad TV. It ought to be like that and it’s not and nobody wants to seem to make it like that.”
SNL 40 airs on NBC on Sunday, February 15 at 8 p.m.