REGINA – Ian Morrison’s mission is to make people laugh.
The Regina comedian and mental health advocate founded the nonprofit Healing Through Humor in 2010. Its mission is to help break the stigma of mental illness through laughter. The organization organizes comedy classes and offers comedians with mental illness the chance to hone and perfect their art in a safe environment.
Morrison himself suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, and credits comedy as its coping mechanism. He just released his 4th album using his musical alter ego, “General Spanky”.
“It was a way for me to cope with these feelings and this disease with laughter,” he said. “I decided to take the kind of weird thoughts in my head or the things that aren’t that helpful, or even scary, and turn them into something useful, like a joke to make people laugh. So, take the power out of the negative thing you were thinking or feeling and using it as an outlet to relieve that stress.
Morrison says comedy albums were another artistic outlet for him as well as a way to further promote Healing Through Humor and the work they do.
“I just wanted to give something stupid to someone who gives them a chuckle or just walks into their life somehow, which is a pretty effective work of art.”
General Spanky allowed Morrison to experiment with several different genres. His latest album features rock, metal and punk inspired tracks as well as parodies of iconic songs such as The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Morrison’s version humorously tells the story of an ill-fated voyage of an “old submarine”.
The reason for the diversity of sounds and genres that Morrison experiments with is that he can reach as many people as possible with his comedy.
“We’re just trying to give people at least one song that most people might like,” he said. “And that’s how I always tried to think about it, because I want to make you laugh as many times as possible, even if it was only twice throughout the album. It still makes two laughs.
Morrison explained that comedians are always in a chase when they perform.
“It’s called ‘chasing the laughter’ and that’s what comedians do, they chase that laughter because having a room full of people responding to your joke is a feeling you won’t be able to recreate otherwise. “
Morrison is proud of the work Healing Through Humor has done with his clients and is happy to see that Regina’s overall comedic scene has only grown since he started in this role over a decade ago.
“It got a lot bigger and people put on different shows and stuff like that, and I was very happy and impressed to see that they do their thing, we do our thing, and we’re all right after. the same goal, which is to chase that laughter away.
All of General Spanky’s albums are available on Apple Music and iTunes.