Tyler Morrison: Fight Stories of a Savage Exile

November 1, 2019

Photo Credit

Stephen Elliott, Elliot Impact Media

Interview by

Lara Smith

Article by

Lara Smith

Listen

I’ve been acquainted with Tyler Morrison and his comedy for several years, but oddly we have never had the chance to talk until now. His latest podcast, Fight Stories, which he cohosts with comedian John Moses, is now in its second season. Fight Stories is just as the title promises: people from all walks of life telling their most memorable stories of an ass-whoopin, be it theirs or the other party. I mean... who isn’t riveted by someone spinning a yarn about the time they got their ass kicked, or better yet, the time they bested the bully? Morrison and Moses interview comedians, boxers, hockey players, MMA fighters, and every day people to give you the best tales of battle. As Morrison puts it, “The key to it is finding someone who can tell a good story that's charismatic.” With guests such as Ken Shamrock, Dan Soder, and Vinny Paz, fight stories is a must listen.

I actually became familiar with Tyler Morrison on Twitter from #Hashtag Wars for @Midnight and then started listening to his previous podcast, The Rude Dudes, with comedians/longtime friends, Jarrett Campbell and Tom O’Donnell. The podcast seemed a natural predecessor to Fight Stories, because in addition to a lot of comedy talk, there were a lot of tales of people getting in brawls. But for all the fight talk and drunken tales, Morrison actually got his comedy beginnings in a more formal setting.

You have to fail to become good, right? You have to be a loose cannon before you become a sniper. It’s the only way to refine your skill.
Tyler Morrison

Morrison enrolled in 2002, at the age of eighteen, in a comedy program at Humber College in Ontario. The year that he enrolled was a “dynasty year” for the school and many of his classmates are still working in the industry with him today. Morrison described the stand up program as a “sink or swim” experience, as his first time on stage was at Yuk Yuk’s Toronto to a crowd of about 300. Fortunately, he swam. Unfortunately, his second open mic didn’t go as well, but he learned so much between the two experiences. Like many comics, chasing the high of that first killer set kept him going. Not old enough to drink, his father would drive him to open mics and shows, much “like a hockey dad.” That’s right...Morrison had a supportive family backing his venture into comedy.

Perhaps it’s that support that has allowed Morrison the confidence to be unapologetically irreverent with his style from the start. In 2004 Morrison was invited to the Boston Comedy Festival where his material ended up in a panel discussion of what’s “over the line” in comedy. While many new comedians might feel intimidated by such scrutiny, Morrison was happy to defend his work, when told “You can’t get up there and talk like that, only Chris Rock can do that.”

Morrison responded, “How did Chris Rock become Chris Rock?” Morrison adds today, “You have to fail to become good, right? You have to be a loose cannon before you become a sniper. It’s the only way to refine your skill.” Recognizing that “cancel culture” has existed for a long time, but has only been more empowered by social media, Morrison seems to push back with his material, but never stops having fun on stage. There doesn’t seem to be a minute in his last two specials, Comedy Exile and Savage, where Morrison isn’t grinning ear-to-ear to remind the audience this is all in fun.

The key to it is finding someone who can tell a good story that's charismatic.
Tyler Morrison

With that ability to be “savage,” Morrison has made quite a name for himself as a great comedy roaster, working on the roast of The Iron Sheik and the roast of Ron Jeremy. His rapid fire layered wit has made him a natural for delivering the sickest of burns. His new special, still in production, had such a mix of audience tension, from old men flipping him off to men turning their heads away from their gasping wives to crack up. Morrison’s ability to layer jokes with so much word play the audience almost needs a breather is one of the things I love about his stand up, but then again maybe we could all use a comedy workout. Tyler Morrison is two paces ahead of us and we all need to catch up.

MORE ABOUT
Tyler Morrison