Garrett Morris, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, is an extraordinarily versatile artist, having worked as a comedian, actor, playwright, musician, and arranger. He’s also an entrepreneur, having founded Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues & Comedy Club. Before joining the panel at a Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” event titled, “What Does Blue Mean?” he talked in the green room about Chico Escuela, food, and playwriting.
What sound do you wake up to?
My watch, often at four or five in the morning.
If there was one blues musician living or dead you could hear play one more time, who would it be?
What do you like most about Downtown L.A.?
I like my business, which is a club, and how I meet a lot of people there. And that area has a lot of talent that I can use at the club.
When people ask you about SNL, what are they most likely to ask you about?
Chico Escuela, probably. They ask about other people in the show, like John [Belushi] and Gilda [Radner].
You’re a playwright. Is it more fun to write the play or perform the play?
I’m in the midst of writing the play, so writing right now. At my age, it’s easier to write.
What’s your favorite post-show meal?
I’m into the health thing. Probably I’m going to have one of my nutritional drinks, and I try not to eat too heavily after 2 o’clock. But before I was into the health thing, I would eat fried food, often seafood.
What’s your favorite sport?
What was the last thing that inspired you?
Two things. Seeing The Color Purple and seeing Hamilton.
Who was your greatest teacher?
Probably a woman named Gladys Jones Hill, a high school teacher in New Orleans.
What do you miss most about New Orleans?
The culture, music, the food. The music is like oxygen there. I’m into seafood cooked well.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Actually, the advice was not given to me personally but I saw it on TV. An older woman who finished running a marathon at 91 years of age said, “Eat for nutrition, not taste.” And I thought, “That makes so much sense.”