Greg Morton has been in the comedy business for about 35 years, but after making it to the semi-finals on the most recent season of America’s Got Talent, his career has taken a huge step forward.
“Since America’s Got Talent, I’ve been doing a lot of auditions,” said Morton. “Two this week, five last week. Without the show, it might have taken me years to get this far. I’d be dead. Just to give an example, I was at 2000 followers on Instagram before, now I’m at 32,000, and it’s going up by about 1000 a week. The clubs used to be all over your follower count on Instagram until they realized people could just buy followers and didn’t translate to butts in the seats. So I’ve earned all of those.”
Morton, who is from Woodstock, Ontario, certainly had a solid career before appearing America’s Got Talent — he performed at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal four times, he regularly headlines at Planet Hollywood, The MGM, and the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and has opened for Celine Dion and Luther Vandross at Radio City Music Hall.
“My show definitely has a lot of voices, but some stand up as well,” said Morton. “I’ve been doing stand up for the last 35 years, so it won’t be just impressions, even though I kinda got stuck in that lane on the show”
In one three-minute segment alone, Morton does about 25 impressions of various cartoon characters, from Bugs Bunny to He-Man to Howie Mandel’s Bobby Generic.
“I don’t have a count as to how many voices I do,” said Morton.” It’s just part of my toolbox really. Sometimes I just accidentally discover them. We went to see The Avengers: End Game, and I came out doing a Chris Hemsworth thinking, ‘Huh, I’ve never used that voice before.’ When I started putting a cartoon set together, I could do Barney, but I could never do Fred, but one day I just tried it and there it was. If it’s in my vocal range, then I do it.”
Even though Morton can seemingly do any impression he wants, there is one that is currently eluding him.
“I’d like to do a really good Trump, but I’m really just doing an impression of an impression,” he said.” But, of course, you risk the wrath of half the audience in some places.”
The impressions that got Morton his first break on America’s Got Talent was his Star Wars routine, which includes takes on Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, Jabba The Hut, and Luke Skywalker.
“Mark Hamill came about by accident,” said Morton. “I was packing up my stuff at this bar in Edmonton. After the bar closed, the bartender threw on a Star Wars soundtrack, so I grabbed the mic and just started improvising and came up with an impression. I started working on it and practicing and it became part of my show. I used to work with a comic named Uncle Dirty, and said to me, ‘You know, you should put Star Wars at the beginning of your set so you don’t have to work so hard.” When you grab the audience like that, they’re ready to take a ride with you. It’s like getting in a car with a stranger, you need to establish comfort and rapport right away.”
As a huge Star Wars fan, Morton couldn’t resist talking about his favourites.
“Empire Strikes Back,” he said quickly. “A New Hope is my close second because they go together so well, it feels like it’s one film. There are some problems with the original trilogy of course, but you overlook it because it’s so well done. I always say to people, whatever their age, ‘Whatever Star Wars you grew up with, that’s the best Star Wars. If you grew up with the original trilogy, that’s the best Star Wars. And if you grew up with the prequels, then the original trilogy is still the best Star Wars.’”
This Saturday at The Grand Theatre will be Morton’s first show in Kington since the 90s.
“I was in Kingston a long time ago,” said Morton. “I played at Stages about 25 years ago. Are they still doing comedy?”
Greg Morton performs at The Grand Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through The Grand Theatre box office.