Mortimer Williams gives us The Full Morty
After sold-out performances around the country and a highly successful season in Joburg last August, Mortimer Williams returns to the Jozi stage in The Full Morty at The Fringe at Joburg Theatre until Sunday 5 June.
Stand up comedy meets cabaret in this hilarious show as Morty takes us through stories and songs that demonstrate just what it is that makes the SA male tick… with a few surprises along the way!
Morty is the perfect combination of talent, charisma and devilish naughtiness to provide the perfect evening of entertainment for guys and girls of all ages.
The Full Morty runs until 5 June with performances from Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.
Tickets are R120 and are available from www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670 or through Webtickets.
I have already seen the show. If you’re wondering what to do this weekend and want to do something fun, not too expensive, different and AWESOME, do this. Don’t even entertain any other ideas.
You are described as theatre and television actor, madly talented vocalist and professional k*k talker…
I did musical theatre for like 17 years – so I’m basically 25 years in the industry. I do sing and I like to talk a lot of kak specially because I get a lot of work as an MC for corporate events and even weddings. Where they don’t want the normal formal kind which I can still do.
So The Full Morty goes into pretty scary territory – the mind of the South African male ?
How clever is that name? One of the things that I say we’re about to venture down the dark and stormy corridor, a scary place, complicated and yet so diverse.
What inspired the idea of The Full Morty?
Basically the show was in my mind for the past five years. It’s something that I always wanted to do and when you want to write a show you’ve got to think to yourself what is uniquely South African. A lot of people tend to go the more political route which is fine but my whole thing is I like to stay away from the past. You don’t forget where you come from. South African men are a species unto themselves. There’s cars, there’s women, they like to impress women with pickup lines, there’s a whole lot of things that make South African men unique and I wanted to delve into that without obliterating the male species. We can sit back and laugh at ourselves. It’s a little bit more enlightening for the ladies as well because you understand where we’re coming from. There’s one part in the show, I’m not one for toilet humour but sometimes it’s a fact where you go like there’s a time in the day when these hardworking male minds needed time to just sit and reflect on how far they’ve come as husbands, fathers, men, where it’s just me and the toilet. But what I tend to do in the show is a lot of skits as well.
Yes, that was the first run. I did a short stint in Cape Town as just like a trial run, which was received quite well and then we did the National Arts Festival where most of my shows were sold out almost every day and then we did the Joburg Theatre, very good attendance. And it’s been revamped a little bit. It’s slicker, more skits and more songs.
What made you think the stage is right for this kind of show now?
There’s so much standup comedy going round. I love standup comedy. I thought I can bring something to the party as well, the standup thing.
You got your start with David Kramer and Taliep Peterson. What a start.
Well, I wasn’t going to go to the audition. I was still in high school and I thought Saturday’s my day off, I’m just going to go chill and then for some reason I woke up at like six in the morning on a Saturday and thought what am I going to do for the rest of the day and I thought okay fine, take a shower, get dressed and I ran to the school because the taxi was leaving and I just went there and was sitting there, I’m a high school kid and I’m interested in the girls and then Taliep Peterson walked past me and said are you not going to come and audition? I said no it’s okay, he says come. And I went in there and I sang a song and he said okay fine. We’ll be in touch. A few days later at the school the principal came to call me to the office and when the principal comes to you, you are like did something happen to my parents and I was panicking and he was like I just got a call from Taliep and he’ll see you next weekend. Okay fine so I went there again, did another audition and he says we’ll be in touch. Few days later, the principal calls me again, they want to see you again and I went again and they said okay the role of so and so will be played by Mortimer Williams. I was like wow.
Is the rest history?
It’s a long history. Literally I’ve travelled around the world. Not with the show, but different productions, I did African Footprint for like five years, with Richard Loring so I travelled the world with that. I’ve done the Seychelles and Australia for six months, but there’s no place like home.
You’ve done stage, tv, acting and singing – do you have a particular preference?
Singing – which you can do with all of those. It’s hard to say, I’m passionate about all of them but there’s nothing like a live performance, if you make a balls up you’ve got to cover it up. It’s not like TV or anything where you can cut and do it again. There’s second chances in TV but not on stage and there’s something about that that’s like an adrenalin rush. You get the energy from your audience.
One man shows are fun, just me. It’s actually very stimulating. It’s mine. It’s my baby. It’s four years old already. For Thoroughly Modern Millie I had to learn to speak Chinese. I just learned the line in Chinese but we had a Chinese coach because there is a certain way of saying a certain word. If you say it differently it means the opposite. Even though I enjoy the big productions, I can do my rehearsals at my own pace. There’s no pressure. And 90% of the time I can say listen I’m not feeling comfortable with that. With the big productions it is what it is, it’s written like that, that’s the way you do it.
My site is to celebrate people who tweak the golden thread. It was inspired by John Ritter. I haven’t done too many interviews with other comedians. I would like to get into the comedy theme with you.
Oh I know John Ritter. Three’s Company!
Comedy is an art form on its own within the entertainment field. Do you agree with that statement?
It is an art form even though people say laughter is the best medicine. How many times do you feel all miserable, do yourself a favour, just go sit and watch a comedy show. You will laugh at the first joke and it’s like I feel much better.
I’ve heard it said that comedy is the only honest art form as it can’t be faked.
It can be faked, you know what the thing is sometimes I’ve seen some people laughing at their own jokes. So if they’re laughing at their own jokes, it’s almost like forcing the audience to laugh. They’re not laughing at the jokes, they’re laughing because they’re supposed to. It’s very touch and go. You’ve got to feel your audience and sense their energy. The minute somebody feels comfortable and relaxed they’re going to relax. I enjoy making people laugh.
For me personally I like to keep it going nonstop because it’s me. Time is so short, why do I have to be miserable? For the other comedians it’s more like they choose their moments, some of them like to sit and focus and do things. Just think, be on their own. Others like to just keep it going but not intentionally, just their personalities, just how they are.
Do you do comedy for comedy’s sake alone or is it important for audiences to go away thinking or feeling something after the laughter has subsided?
That’s the important thing for me. I don’t do comedy just for the sake of doing comedy, what I touch on is daily situations that us men go through. I touch on man flu. It’s a dreadful disease. I touch on becoming a father. That changes your life specially going shopping. Tiny little terrorist in your trolley. I do that. Me time. There’s one section where I go to the nightclub.
Do you have anyone you would consider a mentor in the field?
I look up to all the guys like Barry Hilton, Trevor Noah. But there’s so many other comedians out there as well. The guys inspired me way back were like Richard Prior and Eddie Murphy. Basically people in general inspire me. I can see things in most guys. But you need to be very selective of the things you do. Everybody tends to do the political route.
Youngsters in SA today who are actually trying to study for a profession are facing quite a tough time with all the student unrest. What would you say to any youngster trying to get into the entertainment field today?
My main thing is you know what, ignore that shit, because those kids who destroyed the theatre and stuff like that, they’re not going to get very far. Come out and watch shows and stuff like that. My advice to kids is focus on one thing. One thing only. Water one seed. Don’t water fifty seeds because you’re not going to be able keep up. Water one seed, when that seed germinates, move onto the next. For four years I was focused on just this. I watered that seed.
Is there anything you would like to get across in this interview?
Just come and watch the show. You can always get a PVR and record, so come and watch the show and you can watch Game of Thrones later.
See it this weekend at The Fringe at Joburg Theatre.