Greg Morton: mimics Barack Obama to the tune of Candyman

Greg Morton: mimics Barack Obama to the tune of Candyman

Photograph by: Debra Robb,

MONTREAL – To his surprise, Greg Morton has become the darling of the hip-hop Republicans. The Democrats, on the other hand, don’t know what to make of him. Morton is amused and just a little bit bewildered – particularly to learn there is such a breed as hip-hop Republicans.

Morton is a comedian, specializing in parody impressions. This reaction is the result of his tune Obama Man, which has gone viral on the Internet, with nearly four million hits. Morton, who plays the Comedy Nest tonight through Saturday, perfectly mimics Barack Obama to the tune of Candyman, but with these biting lyrics: “Alright everybody: AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, First National, Lone Star! What do you want, One … Two … Three … Hundred Billion? Come on over! “Who can fix the mortgage? General Motors too? A bailout check for me. And a bailout check for you. Obama Man. …Yes, Obama Man Can. Who can give ya health care? Who can save the poor? Who can pick the teams that are in the final four?” You get the picture. But what makes the picture a little murkier is that Democrats are somewhat befuddled by someone they believe to be an African-American taking shots at Obama.

“I leave them all scratching their heads when they ask if I’m a Democrat or a Republican,” Morton muses. “When I tell them I’m a Canadian, then they’re really puzzled.” Yup, Morton is a Canuck. Born and bred in Woodstock, Ont., he is now based in Toronto, although he is a big attraction on the club circuit throughout the U.S. as well as Canada.

Now that the president’s approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks, comics are becoming less reluctant to make Obama the butt of their gags. But Morton was one of the first wits out of the gate to make mirth of Obama.

“I realized early on that comedians were very leery about offending Obama. I also realized that I’d probably get a lot of attention if I did go after him. But I’m certainly an equal-opportunity insulter.” “A lot of comics are scared to do this, for fear of being branded racist. But that’s our job. If the president is king, then we’re court jester, and we should be able to make jokes about Obama when it’s warranted.” Morton followed up Obama Man with another tune, Obama in Mom Jeans, set to the music of Neil Diamond’s Forever in Blue Jeans. This tune emanated from the president’s garb at last summer’s major-league baseball all-star game. Obama tossed out the first pitch, but folks weren’t focused on whether it was a slider or a change-up. Rather many were struck by his garb – “mom jeans,” as pundits went on to describe his loose-fitting denims.

“Fact is that I really do admire Obama. I think he’s extremely intelligent. I just don’t agree with everything he does. And I can’t agree with those jeans at all,” Morton cracks.

Morton has received no official response from the White House about his compositions. “Not yet anyway, but my (U.S. work) visa comes up for renewal this year, and we’ll see how that goes.” It might go a little better now. To the delight of Democrats, Morton has also had his way with Sarah Palin. His most recent song, Obama Wants to Pull the Plug on Grandma – based on Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – is inspired by the ex-Alaska governor’s rant about Obama wanting to create death-panels on the fate of seniors.

Sing along: “Here’s the way I understand it. The way it was explained to me. To save the healthcare system, they will shoot grandma. Like Old Yeller on TV.” Just for Laughs fest patrons may recall Morton doing his dazzling two-minute re-cap of the Star Wars trilogy – with dead-on impressions of Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca the Wookie Monster et al in 2001. He’s still got that in his repertoire, along with newer material featuring Batman and the Joker – performing Deck the Halls as a duo.

Ever the joker, Morton also has Tiger Woods on his phone-answering machine: “Can you do me a favour? Can you take your name off my phone?” Sounds just like Tiger. “It should. It is him. Not me. Scares the hell out of people, too.” Morton feels the level of hysteria has reached epic proportions in the U.S. “It’s not the Excited States of America for nothing: A place where strangers can sneak into the White House to have dinner with the president, but where you can’t take your shampoo on an airplane.”

Greg Morton performs Jan. 22 and 23, Friday and Saturday, at Ernie Butler’s Comedy Nest, in the Pepsi Forum, 2313 Ste. Catherine St. W. Call 514-932-6378.

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