Forget what you heard about Chicago.
Sure, there may be pockets in the city prone to violence. But when Windy City natives see one another, especially thousands of miles away from home, it's usually nothing but love.
And my meeting fellow Chicagoan Lamorne Morris was no different.
I met Morris, who stars as Winston on Fox’s “New Girl,” on the red carpet at the Costume Designers Guild Awards in Los Angeles last month. Not only did he have a great sense of humor but the brother also is sharp dresser. He looked uber dapper in a blue Hugo Boss suit, jazzy Christian Louboutin sneakers and shirt whose designer he was unable to identify. Did he come up with this ensemble on his own?
“I’m not going to even lie. Joey Perla, one of the stylist at ‘New Girl,’ definitely put this on me and said, ‘Wear this. Trust me.’ And so I trusted him,” admitted Morris, who served as a presenter at the CDGA, which also honored style icon Cate Blanchett and innovative filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
Morris was able to secure an invitation to the CDGA but his invite to the inaugural ABFF (American Black Film Festival) Awards seemed to have been lost in the mail. We shared a couple of laughs about his absence at the ABFF Awards, which took place two nights earlier at the same venue.
"They didn't invite me. I'm not sad about it, I'm just disappointed. Did I cry about it? Maybe. A little bit. Was I at home, looking outside the window and it was raining out with tears coming down my eyes wondering why not me? Maybe. Maybe," Morris joked.
In addition to talking about the ABFF Awards, Morris and I chatted about his upcoming projects including the third installment of the “Barbershop” films, his new comedy album with Common and the advice filmmaker Judd Apatow gave him.
“New Girl” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
WATCH: “New Girl”
Aside from “New Girl,” what else are you working on?
LAMORNE MORRIS: I’ve got “Barbershop: The Next Cut” coming out April 15. I’m working on some projects including a comedy album with Common. Gotta stay Chicago. Gotta keep it in the family. I’m also working on a movie right now and writing a project with Jake Johnson from “New Girl.” Just trying to stay busy.
Common also stars with you in the latest "Barbershop" film. Tell me a little bit about your character.
MORRIS: My character’s name is Jerrod and he kind of plays the fence as far as opinions go. He’s one of the barbers in the shop but he’s by far the furthest away from the normal. He’s a little out there. His sense of humor is very skewed where people are talking about A, he’s talking about B. Where people are saying what kind of woman they’re into, he’s like, “Maybe we should do a little better with respecting women,” and the guys are like, “Aww, here we go.” So I give little sermons here and there but my character is very much so an odd bird, I will say. He a little out there. For sure.
Since you’re doing “Barbershop 3,” Ice Cube is active with ABFF and Common is the 2016 celebrity ambassador so you should go to the film festival.
MORRIS: Let me tell you something: I text Common probably once or twice a week… he ain't invite me either. You're making me second guess my friendship with these people.
No, no, no. That's not what I meant to do. OK, so tell me about this comedy album with Common.
MORRIS: Well, the comedy album, I can’t say too much about it. All I can say is that it’s going to be very obscure. It’s a cross between hip-hop and R&B but comedic. I would say a cross between The Lonely Island, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Chris Rock.
WATCH: “Barbershop: The Next Cut” trailer
I’m a Carol Burnett fan so are these guys who have inspired you?
MORRIS: Oh, 100 percent. I’m a big fan of Chris Rock. His comedy album was hysterical. “No Sex (in the Champagne Room)” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard and that video is insane. And The Lonely Island, those guys are like my inspiration. So, it’s good because their music is also music you can listen to without laughing. If you don’t find it funny, the music is still great. But if you understand their sense of humor, you’re laughing as well. So that’s kind of what I’ve got going on.
What are your thoughts about the whole conversation about diversity in Hollywood?
MORRIS: I think people are absolutely right. I’m not sure about boycotting [the Oscars], but I know there is a lack of opportunity for people of color in Hollywood. It’s strange, I’m in a group chat with a bunch of actors and when one person will get an audition, you’ll hear five others go, “Me, too. Me, too. Me, too. Me, too.” for the same role. And friends instantly become enemies.
Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard talked about that on "Oprah's Next Chapter" two years ago. They said they love each other but there's a lot of competition for one or two roles.
MORRIS: This is your livelihood, this is how you eat, this is how you take care of your family and you need certain roles. That’s why I think it’s very important … the Tyler Perrys, the Lee Danielses, Spike Lees—these guys are so special because they create. And I think it’s very important to write, to produce, to direct your own stuff. Judd Apatow actually told me this a long time ago at a party. He said if you’re not writing what are you doing because no one is going to just come and create for you. So that’s how you get the ball rolling, you create your own stuff and then everyone follows suit. They say, “You know, you’re really funny.” And then maybe you’ll get hired for more stuff. If you can create your own stuff, then, that’s the end all right there.