TG Covergirl: Leanne Morgan


From small-town Tennessee to Las Vegas and Netflix, Leanne Morgan talks about her life and gets 50 million YouTube views

Travelgirl: It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Travelgirl Magazine. I was recently in Las Vegas and saw the large billboard outside the Wynn announcing your show. How did a girl from Tennessee make her way to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas? First, please tell me about growing up in Tennessee.

Leanne Morgan: I was raised in a town of 500 people, a farming community in middle Tennessee on the Kentucky- Tennessee border called Adams, TN. My people are farmers on both sides, going generations back. I was raised there until I went to college at the University of Tennessee. I always wanted to be in show business from the time I was a little girl. I didn’t know how or when, but I ended up being in standup.

TG: You graduated with a degree from the University of Tennessee and married your sweetheart Chuck. You two moved to Bean Station, Tennessee and started your family. Will you elaborate on these years?

LM: Chuck and I met at the University of Tennessee and he bought a refurbishing manufactured housing business in his 20s, and moved us to Bean Station, TN, and I got pregnant with our first baby Charlie. I worked for Chuck for a little while. I’m country and rural, but this was a different kind of rural. I got my degree in Child and Family Studies Crisis Intervention Counseling. I thought I would be a therapist if I wasn’t going to make it in Hollywood. I mostly wanted to be a momma more than anything.

TG: You seem to be quite the entrepreneur. You started selling jewelry at home parties. I read you were hilarious at these parties. Please talk about this.

LM: I didn’t want to go to work full time and leave Charlie, but I wanted a side hustle to make a little money in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains–you know to get my hair done and buy Charlie outfits. My friend was selling jewelry and asked me if I wanted to sell jewelry too. I would go into women’s houses and put jewelry on kitchen tables and eat dip and brownies. I developed an act and women thought I was funny. These women actually even started booking me about a year in advance.

TG: You said you had a moment, when you were selling jewelry, that you realized you could make it in comedy. It’s funny. Can you elaborate?

LM: I was at somebody’s house. There was a woman sitting on the couch, her name was Carmen, and she got so tickled about something that I said that she pee-peed on the couch. That was a God moment for me. I knew I was funny. I wanted to do standup, but I didn’t know how it would be possible when I was in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. When she laughed, I knew I could do it. I could make it in comedy. I am still good friends with Carmen after all these years. I tell her all the time that she was part of that decision that I made. I knew I could go for it. The jewelry company noticed that I was booking so far in advance, that they asked me to speak at their large events.

TG: Were there any early mentors in your life who encouraged you to pursue your dream of becoming a stand-up comedian?

LM: There was a man named Dennis Swanberg who was a Christian comedian performing at one of those large jewelry events that I spoke at and he told me off stage that I could do it. That was pivotal. It meant a lot to me and I thought ‘Okay, I can do this.’ Also Brian Dorfman. He let me open at Zanies Comedy Club 20-some years ago, and after my set he said “I think you’ve got something, but it’s going to be hard to do this with three babies, traveling and leaving them. But I think you got it. You’re just going to have to find another way.” I knew I had to figure it out and take a different path.

TG: You were becoming successful and raising a family. How did you balance both your rising career and your family? You’ve been successful at both.

LM: I had to just take what I could, being a momma, I would do a lot of private and local corporate events. Chuck would travel during the week. I would go on the weekends, and just work around his schedule and the kids’ schedules. I came third but that was okay. I never felt that I didn’t get to do my own thing because I always wanted my family to be my first priority. I would do comedy clubs every once in a while, but I had to do what I could to accommodate my family. I always wanted to put them first.

TG: Talk about a girl who lived in Bean Station, Tennessee making it to the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. Were you intimidated or does that Leanne moxie get you out there?

LM: It is intimidating because I did not come up in the New York or LA comedy scene. I always felt like an outsider. When I did get invited to something like that, I was intimidated. But now I feel pretty good about it. I’m 58 years old and now after all these tours and doing a movie, I finally feel like I have a place there.

TG: You are not only a stand-up success, but you have also over three million followers across social media and your online special, So-Yummy, has reached over 50 million views on YouTube. Please talk about So-Yummy.

LM: Honest to goodness nothing else was going on in my career and I was thinking about quitting. Then out of the blue, Dry Bar Comedy asked me to do a special. I honestly thought nobody would see it. I did a bunch of old material.

TG: I watched your Netflix special Leanne Morgan: I’m Every Woman. So many moments in that show are relatable to all of us. I laughed and laughed. Please talk about writing and performing the show.

LM: Well, I was doing this material before COVID, and then COVID stopped everything, and there was a lot of time off. There were a lot of things I probably lost and couldn’t remember, so I started building it back up and performing again after COVID. Every time I do any new hour, I’m always weaving in my family, and it takes me a while to get it, but it’s always something to do with what’s happening in my life. I’ve got grandbabies; I’ve gone through menopause. Throughout my 20 years of comedy, there is always something going on in my real life. The Netflix special was what was going on in my life at that time. And I am a storyteller, so I’m long winded. It is not small bits. It is always long stories of my life and my family.

TG: You are living proof that through hard work you can attain your dreams. Do you have any sage advice for those young hopefuls out there who hope to be the next Leanne Morgan?

LM: If this is something you know in your heart that you need to be doing, then keep going. Listen to your gut. If this is something you’re meant to be doing, then follow what you’re passionate about. Hard work pays off; it’s not a short-term thing. Keep going, keep working, keep doing what you love and never give up.

TG: You travel constantly. Do you have one special item you never leave home without?

LM: My iPad!!! I love my iPad so that I can watch my shows and look at pictures of my grandbabies.

TG: Travelgirl readers will want to know, do you have a special place you love to travel to and what’s on Leanne’s travel bucket list?

LM: I really enjoy everywhere, but I love going to the Carolina and Georgia coasts, like Charleston and Savannah. All around there has been a favorite. I would really like to go over to the UK, and do a tour in the UK.

TG: Talk about what’s next on your busy career. This summer you have a tour called Just Getting Started and you will be seen on the screen in the Amazon Prime feature, You’re Cordially Invited, starring alongside Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon.

LM: I’m hoping to do television, more touring, and more movies! I also have a book coming out in September 2024 called What in the World?.

TG: What’s the one most important thing you want Travelgirl readers to know about Leanne Morgan?

LM: I want them to know that I feel this is more than comedy. Since this has happened to me, my fans have been more like friends and a community, and they have lifted me up and want to see me win. It is bigger than comedy and more special and sweeter than anything I could have ever imagined. I want people to know how much I appreciate my career and the love my fans give me.

TG: Is there one charity you want to mention, so you could help

LM: My family is incredibly involved with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and childhood illnesses. My husband is a volunteer and a baby cuddler. My daughter Maggie works in development and raises money for the hospital, and my grandson was in the NICU and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital took wonderful care of him.

TG: I have truly loved researching and reading about you. You are an absolute treasure and I am more than delighted to get to know you and to welcome you to Travelgirl Magazine.

Renee Werbin

Publisher and Co-Founder

Publisher, Co-Founder and CEO of SRI Travel

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