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April 13, 1990 - Image 92

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

Jim Morris Voices His
Impressions Of Politics

RITA CHARLESTON

10 Mile at Southfield Road
559-4230

Special to The Jewish News

Extends Best Wishes
For A Joyous And
Healthy

Passouer

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SUNDAY MATINEE
12 noon - Brunch
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92

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 1990

With a Subscription
To The Jewish News

Call: 354-6060

THE JEWISH NEWS

hen he was a kid
in school, comedian
Jim Morris admits
that he was often bored. And
so, rather than pay attention
to his teachers' lessons, he
would often mimic their
quirks instead.
"I found out early that I
had a talent and that I could
act through other characters
and become them," he recalls.
"Also, I guess it was my way
of winning attention and
gaining acceptance from the
other kids."
During his junior year in
high school, Morris managed
to grab hold of the public ad-
dress system, imitate the
principal and dismiss classes
three hours early. His stunt
probably gained him wide ap-
peal among the other
students. For himself,
however, he says, "That after-
noon, everyone left a lot
earlier than I did!"
Born in Boston and raised
in Framingham, Mass., Mor-
ris spent a year at Boston
University and another at the
University of Massachusetts
before taking time off to
travel in Europe, landing in
New York in 1978 with every
intention of becoming an ac-
tor. Broke, tired and hungry,
he decided to return to Boston
to try his hand at stand-up
comedy. About the same time,
he began watching the
political candidates on televi-
sion, picking up their man-
nerisms and speech patterns,
and realizing they offered a
wealth of comedic material.
Soon after the election of
1980, he began his now
famous impressions of Ronald
Reagan.
"I started watching the
news a lot and, after a while,
I was able to imitate quite a
few of the candidates, when I
suddenly realized Reagan
was the guy I was going to
have to do. So, I started pay-
ing more attention to him,
watching closely what the
public saw. I still do. That way
I can get an idea of what the
issues are and what the au-
dience is going to pick up on
if I make reference to it."
Imitating Reagan, Morris
says, was not that difficult a
task because the man is a
"figure larger than life. He's
like a folk hero. His life was

Rita Charleston is a free-
lance entertainment writer
from Philadelphia.

Jim Morris:
"I always had an interest
in politics."

laid out there, and he's been
well known for years and
years. Also, as an actor, he
knows how to use his voice
and his body."
On the other hand, not too
many people were as familiar
with George Bush. "I was
able to do him long before I
could imitate Reagan. But
when he faded into the
background as vice president,
most people didn't know what
he sounded like, so I kind of
put him on the shelf.
"Even through the first six
months of his presidency, it
was really difficult for the
masses to relate to a lot of the
quirks and mannerisms that
I had already picked up on.
But over the past few months
he's been seen so much of,
that now people readily res-
pond to my impressions of
him."
Exaggerating the man in
the White House, using a
voice he calls a "cross be-
tween Liberate, Jack
Nicholson and Mister
Rogers," Morris is able to give
audiences a light-hearted
view of Mr. President. For ex-
ample, says Morris/Bush, "I
went to Congress with my
new budget and said my
sleeves are rolled up, my hand
is still extended, but my mid-
dle finger is starting to
twitch, so let's get moving on
these issues!'
Or, "I went down to get
Noriega in an operation call-
ed 'Just Cause.' Now people
asked me why it's called that.
It's just 'cause I thought I
could get away with it."
And, "my. opponent in last
year's campaign thought just
because he spoke Spanish he
should be elected. Why, we

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