Chris Morris (satirist)

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Chris Morris (satirist) : biography

15 June 1965 –

In November 2007, Morris wrote an article for The Observer in response to Ronan Bennett’s article published six days earlier in The Guardian. Bennett’s article, "’", accused the novelist Martin Amis of racism. Morris’s response, "", was also highly critical of Amis; although he didn’t accede to Bennett’s accusation of racism, Morris likened Amis to the Muslim cleric Abu Hamza (who was jailed for inciting racial hatred in 2006), suggesting that both men employ "mock erudition, vitriol and decontextualised quotes from the Qu’ran" to incite hatred.

Morris served as script editor for the 2009 series Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, working with former colleagues Stewart Lee, Kevin Eldon and Armando Iannucci.

Morris completed his debut feature film Four Lions in late 2009, a satire based on a group of Islamist terrorists in Sheffield. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010 and was short-listed for the festival’s World Cinema Narrative prize. The film (working title Boilerhouse) was picked up by Film Four. Morris told The Sunday Times that the film will seek to do for Islamic terrorism what Dad’s Army, the classic BBC comedy, did for the Nazis by showing them as "scary but also ridiculous".

In 2012, Morris directed the seventh and penultimate episode of the first season of Veep, an Armando Iannucci-devised American version of The Thick Of It. In 2013, Morris returned to direct second season episodes of Veep.

Works

  • Various works at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (1986–1987) (presenter)
  • No Known Cure (July 1987 – March 1990, BBC Radio Bristol) (presenter)
  • Chris Morris (1988–1993, BBC GLR) (presenter)
  • Up Yer News (1990, BSB)
  • The Chris Morris Christmas Show (25 December 1990, BBC Radio 1)
  • On The Hour (1991–1992, BBC Radio 4) (co-writer, performer)
  • It’s Only TV (September 1992, LWT) (unbroadcast pilot)
  • Why Bother? (1994, BBC Radio 3) (performer, editor)
  • The Day Today (1994, BBC 2) (co-writer, performer)
  • The Chris Morris Music Show (1994, BBC Radio 1) (presenter)
  • Brass Eye (1997, Channel 4) (writer, performer)
  • I’m Alan Partridge (1997, BBC 2) (performer, one episode)
  • Blue Jam (1997–1999, BBC Radio 1) (writer, director, performer, editor)
  • Big Train (1999, BBC 2) various sketches. (additional director, voice actor (one sketch))
  • Second Class Male/Time To Go (1999, newspaper column for The Observer)
  • Jam/Jaaaaam (2000, Channel 4) (main writer, director, performer)
  • Brass Eye Special (2001, Channel 4) (writer, performer)
  • The Smokehammer (2002, website)
  • Absolute Atrocity Special (2002, newspaper pullout for The Observer)
  • Bushwhacked (2002)
  • My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117 (2002, short film) (writer, director, voice of Rothko)
  • Nathan Barley (2005, Channel 4) (writer, director, performer [cameo, voice only])
  • The IT Crowd (2006–2008, Channel 4) (performer)
  • Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (2009-, BBC 2) (script editor)
  • Four Lions (2009, film) (writer, director, performer [cameo, voice only])
  • Veep (2012, television series) (director, one episode)
  • Veep (2013, television series) (director, two episodes)

Recognition

In 2003, Morris was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In 2005, Channel 4 aired a show called The Comedian’s Comedian in which foremost writers and performers of comedy ranked their 50 favourite acts. Morris was at number eleven. Morris won the BAFTA for outstanding debut with his film Four Lions. Adeel Akhtar and Nigel Lindsay collected the award in his absence. Lindsay stated that Morris had sent him a text message before they collected the award reading, ‘Doused in petrol, Zippo at the ready’. In June 2012 Morris was placed at number 16 in the Top 100 People In UK Comedy.

Music

Morris often co-writes and performs incidental music for his television shows, notably with Jam and the ‘extended remix’ version, Jaaaaam. In the early 90s Morris contributed a Pixies parody track entitled "Motherbanger" to a flexi-disc given away with an edition of NME music magazine. Morris supplied sketches for British band Saint Etienne’s 1993 single "You’re in a Bad Way" (the sketch ‘Spongbake’ appears at the end of the 4th track on the CD single). In 2000, he collaborated by mail with Amon Tobin to create the track "Bad Sex", which was released as a B-side on the Tobin single "Slowly". British band Stereolab’s song "Nothing to Do with Me" from their 2001 album Sound-Dust featured various lines from Chris Morris sketches as lyrics.

Personal life

Morris lives in Brixton, with his wife, actress turned literary agent Jo Unwin, and their dog Maisie. The pair met in 1984 at the Edinburgh Festival, when he was playing bass guitar for the Cambridge Footlights Revue and she was in a comedy troupe called the Millies. They have two sons, Charles and Frederick, both of whom were born in Lambeth. Until the release of Four Lions he gave very few interviews and little had been published about Morris’s personal life. However since 2009 he has made numerous media appearances to promote and support the film, both in the UK and USA.

Morris can be heard as himself in a podcast for CERN.