Volume 95, Issue 52

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
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The Grand Miracle

Let's Go hits New PL

Mo knows phunny

Flag-waving stupidity

Mo knows phunny

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

Life as a comedian must be hard.

Whether on or off-stage, it is often expected that if you're truly funny, you must be capable of making everyone laugh. After all, comedians are supposed to be the flag bearers of humour.

While those who have seen the Comedy Network's Buzz might expect Mista Mo to be a jester to everyone he meets, he is far from a clownish comedian.

On the sketch comedy show (a Tom Green meets Mad TV-type of series known for its combination of random street interviews and written skits), Mo plays a wide variety of characters.

What began as a public-access program on Cable 10 in Toronto in 1997, has grown to be the top-rated original series on the Comedy Network and winner of a Gemini this fall for best writing in a comedy series.

Mo and his partner, Daryn Jones, begin their new season in January, with 13 new episodes ready to air.

For now, Mo is taking his standup act, "Too Hard," across Ontario, in addition to his regular appearances at various Yuk Yuk's comedy clubs.

While talking to the 30-year-old comic, it would seem he's more of a critic than funny man. He willfully passes up easy setups and one-liners for simple, everyday conversation. He'd rather talk about what's going on in the world than tell tales of his latest funny story.

"I don't even know if people think I'm funny and I don't care. I don't go out of my way to make people laugh. If I say something funny then go ahead, laugh at it," he says.

Mo (real name Morgan Oliver Smith) says his standup, which he's been doing for 10 years, relies on insight into current events that he hopes is thought-provoking for his audience. He warns that all nerds, feminists and overly sensitive people should steer clear of his path.

"It's gritty, it's not for everyone. Buzz is Mickey Mouse compared to it. If hardcore comedy is your thing, you might enjoy it. If it's not your thing, don't come to the show," he says.

The Toronto native believes live comedy is where his true talents lie. Even with Buzz's success, he says the idiot box just isn't his thing.

"I don't even care too much for my TV career – I'm almost 30 now – it loses its fun. But I'll be doing standup until I'm 75."

Mista Mo brings his standup to The Spoke Dec. 4 with the Phunny Nations tour, which also includes Gavin Stephen and Rasul Sonji.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001