The Best Money Advice Lamorne Morris Ever Got ... From Zooey Deschanel - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Best Money Advice Lamorne Morris Ever Got ... From Zooey Deschanel

The Best Money Advice Lamorne Morris Ever Got ... From Zooey Deschanel

By Daniel Malloy


Because 'Woke' is the sleeper hit of the year.

By Daniel Malloy

You know him as Winston from the sitcom New Girl, and you will know him from his compelling new project, Woke, on Hulu. Now you’ll get to know another side of Lamorne Morris in a revealing interview with OZY’s CEO and co-founder on the latest episode of The Carlos Watson Show. The following are some of the best cuts, edited and condensed from the full conversation, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.

Waking Up to ‘Woke’

Watson: How do you describe the show to people who haven’t seen it? When you’re telling people about the show, what do you say?

Morris: I usually say it’s about a guy who kind of walks the political road ambiguously. He just wants to be left alone. He wants to do his art. He wants to do his work and just have a little bit of fun and go home and hang out with his friends and not really be bothered. He knows what’s going on in the world, but doesn’t know if he has a voice. And if he did have a voice, he didn’t know what good it would be. No one would listen. Who would care? Until something happens to him one day, and he has to make that decision. He’s an intellectual guy. He’s a bright guy. And he does have a huge fan base of people that follow his work. And the question is what do you do with a voice if you realize you have one? Do you put it to good use? Or do you just take the paycheck and go on about your merry way? So that’s how I describe the show to people.

And also I pose that question to people as well. What would you do if you suddenly were faced with this thing that was consuming your life, this bout of racism all of a sudden that seemed like it came from out of nowhere? What would you do? Do you speak up, even if it could cost you your job, your career, your livelihood? Or do you stand by the wayside and kind of let everybody else handle it? And again, that’s what gravitated me towards the show, is because that’s how I felt. For the longest time in my life, I just felt like, yes, we got smart people like you. You know what I mean? I’ll leave that to you. I’ll leave that to everybody else out there. I’ll leave that to Cornel West. I don’t know what I could add to this conversation.

But it’s more so about, even if you have the smallest bit of intellect on a subject matter, speak on it. Address it because it’s not just about educating people. It’s also about what you put out there, seeing what’s going to come back to you. We’ll have a conversation, and I’ll tell you something, and if I’m wrong, and if I’m talking to the right person, they’ll correct me, and therefore, helping form my opinion even more. And so a lot of folks out there feel like they don’t have this voice, so they don’t have knowledge on a situation. They don’t want to say the wrong thing. They don’t want to get canceled, which I get, and I understand. But always be a work in progress. Always be learning. And that’s who Keith Knight is.

Parental Influence

Watson: Were either of your parents actors? Do you come from a long line of actors?

Morris: No, no. Well, my mom studied a little bit back in high school. They came over from Belize when my mom was about 9 or 10. And in school she studied theater. She did a little bit of modeling here, all while she was younger. And then in college years, started having kids. And so we talk about all the time, how she left that passion behind. But she’s so funny, my mom is. We’re always talking about putting her in something, as much as I can, I always get her involved with what I’m doing. She’s a poet. She writes. So I definitely get that creative side from my mom.

Watson: And what about your dad? What was your dad up to? What did he do?

Morris: So my dad was an athlete growing up, soccer player, track coach. But, those middle years, when I was young, my dad was a bit a misfit, if you will. Let’s just say my dad was in the wrong business of pharmaceuticals.

Watson: OK. OK.

Morris: My daddy was a drug dealer. Daddy was a drug dealer.

Watson: And did you realize that at the time?

Morris: Nope. When you’re a kid, everything is just normal. So I had nothing to put it in perspective. I had no context for what was happening in our household. I saw my mom busting her butt, working crazy hours just to provide for us. But then I would see this man around the house sometimes who just wasn’t all the way there. And I would see the dynamic in our house, but it never hit me until I got older. When you get older and you start to see the way other families live, you ask questions about your upbringing. Why didn’t we have this? Why couldn’t we get that? When you’re a kid, all you do is want stuff.

I want to get the new Jordans. I want to get this and then can’t afford it. And then you look around and you go, “Well, why not? Dad’s got money.” And it’s like, “Well, that money’s going to that dude over there who’s giving him a package, and he’s going to do this.” It’s all these weird things. As a kid, I’ve been to drug deals, as a kid. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I had no idea what was going on. There’s a funny story about my brother when he was younger. We were at a park once and my brother gave away, I’m not sure if I’m telling the story right, my brother gave away a massive amount of weed in a bag once that my dad was supposed to be delivering to somebody, but my brother had it and … just gave it away to somebody else for free.

Watson: Did you ever get to talk to him about it? Did you guys ever have conversations once you got older? Maybe even the last few years, have you been able to have that kind of conversation?

Morris: Not really. I’ll be honest with you, not really. And part of that’s on me, to be quite honest with you. I haven’t had the face time with my dad. He’s in Belize right now. I just had a conversation with him over FaceTime recently, for an unfortunate situation. My grandmother passed. So his mom passed. So, we talked, we were talking on FaceTime a little bit, just playing catch-up. But prior to that, it had been over 25 years, 20-something years that we had spoken.

Zooey Deschanel’s Money Advice

Watson: Hey, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about money?

Morris: I remember when I was on New Girl, when I first started the show, I wanted to buy a BMW, and to me at the time, I was like, “Man, that’s a big step,” because I had this really dope Jeep Cherokee with the doors would come off, but it wasn’t an expensive car. It wasn’t an expensive car at all. I remember wanting to buy this car that was 6 Series BMW at the time. I think it was $85,000. From where I come from, man, you don’t do stuff like that. And I remember Zooey pulling me to the side and going … At the time I was renting an apartment and she’s like, “That’s a pretty expensive car,” and this is Zooey. This is coming from a millionaire, like Zooey, she was already rich before she started New Girl. And she goes, “That’s a real expensive car.” She goes, “What are you paying in mortgage?” And I was like, “I don’t. I have rent. I’m paying X amount dollars in rent.” And she goes…

And it took me a while to understand that, that I mean, you’ve got to get a house first. You’ve got to start building some equity. You’ve got to start saving. You’ve got to start building these assets before you start buying things that decrease in value. I did not listen to her, but I do regret it in the future. I wish I would have done things in reverse. I wish I would’ve got the house first, started learning how to build that building and that homeowner’s mindset before I started trying to look cool, because let me tell you something, if you’ve got to get the right car to look cool, then you ain’t cool.

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