Comic Leanne Morgan proves it's never too late to make 'em laugh

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May 20—"How to Disappear Completely" isn't just a gorgeous Radiohead song. It could be the theme of many female entertainers upon reaching middle-age. There should be a cold case on Cameron Diaz, who retired from acting just after turning 42 in 2014.

Actress's careers are sometimes just ending when Leanne Morgan tested the waters as a comic-actress in 1999 at the advanced age of 32. Morgan, 55, focused on her three children after graduating from the University of Tennessee during the late 1980s.

Even though the quick-witted grandmother believed she would become an entertainer since she was a preschooler, it appeared she was on another path. However, while selling jewelry at a regional sales event in Texas, women cracked up at her stories.

"I would talk about breastfeeding and hemorrhoids, and all of a sudden I was getting booked," Morgan said while calling from her Knoxville, Tenn., home. "I would talk about babies and T-ball. People related, and one thing led to another."

Morgan, who will make her debut Sunday at the Spokane Comedy Club, hit the road as a clean and clever comic and scored development deals. The charismatic blonde was becoming a player around the age of when the aforementioned Diaz was hanging it up.

"I started late, but I've always been unique," Morgan said. "Nobody is speaking to my demographic. I don't have hormones. When other women are talking about men, I'm talking about buying bar stools.

"In comedy, a lot of men talk about well, whatever, and women feel they got to be nasty. I've talked about things happening with my children and husband, and people can connect with that."

Morgan riffs on the latter quite a bit since her children are adults. The Volunteer State native nails it with her pre-pandemic standup about catching Journey and Def Leppard with her husband. Her take on how aging recording artists and Baby Boomer fans have changed is spot on.

"Doing that thing about Journey, which is from the fall of 2019, gave me such a spark," Morgan said. "It's gotten such a response. I heard from women who saw the Eagles (in 2020) and said that (Eagles guitarist) Joe Walsh looks like a pit bull. Or, I'd hear from women who said they went to a KISS concert and talked about throwing up in the parking lot.

"People like me talking about how things are now that my kids are grown up. I have my husband, who is the opposite of me since he's quiet, and then there's my grandbaby. I just stare at him and play with him like he's a little toy. Hey, I love doing comedy. I knew I'd get here eventually."

While growing up in the Nashville area during the 1970s, Morgan had constant brushes with country stars. "I remember going to the mall and shopping for panties and bras, and who was next to me but the Mandrell sisters, who were huge country stars then," Morgan said.

"I remember seeing Porter Waggoner eating a chocolate-covered banana when I was 15, and he saw me looking at him and asked if I wanted a bite. I wanted to be in their world, and, in the back of my mind, that dream was always there."

Morgan believed she was well on her way 20 years ago when s he received her first development deal. "I was going to do a sitcom with Paula Deen as my mother," Morgan said. "But that didn't happen. I've had four TV deals. I have a deal with Sony now."

That's quite an accomplishment since the folksy Morgan, who is an inveterate storyteller, is different than many of her younger peers who deliver terse v jokes. "I never felt like the cool kid at school in this business," Morgan said. "I'm not like Sarah Silverman or Chelsea Handler. I've always felt like the outsider looking in."

But there's room for the quirky and funny. Morgan often sells out her club dates and has been tapped to join Jeff Foxworthy on a future tour. "I've been very fortunate to have an audience for what I do," Morgan said.

Expect Morgan to render personal material when she performs at the Spokane Comedy Club. "I'll talk about my kids and being an empty nester and all of the hormone changes I'm going through in menopause," Morgan said. "I can't wait to see Spokane and get back into the swing of doing comedy."

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