Leanne Morgan on selling out the Fox, shooting her first movie in Atlanta

The comedian has added a second Fox date Sept. 24.
Leanne Morgan's standup special "I'm Every Woman" is on Netflix. She has sold out one show in September at the Fox Theatre and added a second. NETFLIX



Leanne Morgan's standup special "I'm Every Woman" is on Netflix. She has sold out one show in September at the Fox Theatre and added a second. NETFLIX

At age 57, Tennessee stand-up comic Leanne Morgan has been working in comedy for more than two decades but only had her break out moment in 2020 when her YouTube special drew millions of views.

She also hired a couple of social media specialists who began posting clips of her comedy on social media that went viral. As a result, she said she went from headlining small comedy clubs to theaters.

“They were young guys I could have birthed, but they got my voice,” said Morgan at Aurora Coffee in Little Five Points on a recent off day from shooting her first movie “You’re Cordially Invited,” a comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Will Ferrell. “It blew me up. Within a month, I started selling out all over the United States.”

That success led to her Netflix special “I’m Every Woman,” which came out in April.

“There’s nobody on Netflix like me,” Morgan said. “I’ve had one of the top Netflix comedy specials of the year behind Chris Rock, Bert Kreischer and John Mulaney and I was in the top 10 overall for a week. It was crazy!”

She is now on a tour of sizable theaters including the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. She quickly sold out her first date on Saturday, Sept. 23, and now has a second date on Sunday, Sept. 24. (Tickets start at $49.50 on foxtheatre.org.)

“I named it the ‘Just Getting Started’ tour because at age 57, I feel like I’m just getting started,” Morgan said, “which I think is so sweet and wonderful. It’s never too late.”

Morgan’s humor, as evidenced by her Netflix special, is sardonic and self deprecating as she spins tales about menopause, big panties and her free-spending ways vs. her husband’s parsimonious tendencies.

“He does not believe in... joy,” she said on the special. “He believes in suffering. He thinks we should all drive beatdown vehicles till they fall apart on the interstate. It gives him joy to pick us up at the interstate.”

Her road to stardom was not obvious or typical. She grew up in a small town in Tennessee and, as she explained in her Netflix special, she almost pondered just marrying a tobacco farmer and pumping out six kids.

Instead, she went to college and eventually met her husband Chuck Morgan who bought a mobile home business in Bean Station, Tennessee, in the foothills of Appalachia (current population: 3,003.)

“I always wanted to be a comedian, always wanted to be in show business but just didn’t know how,” Morgan said. “I knew I was a good storyteller. I just believed in myself and thought I had something.”

After having kids in her 20s, she said she started selling jewelry via house parties. Instead of focusing on the jewelry, she began telling stories about hemorrhoids, breastfeeding and birthing. “I developed a schtick and I look back at it and it was better than having a comedy club,” she said. “I had comedy clubs in living rooms of people in my demographic.”

The jewelry company heard the buzz and hired her to speak at conventions. “That’s when I built the confidence to keep doing what I was doing,” she said.

She moved to San Antonio about 20 years ago and began working traditional comedy clubs for the first time. She opened for the Southern Fried Chicks tour from 2004 to 2006, her first exposure to theaters and casinos. She also did corporate gigs, women’s conferences, anything to make a buck.

She got enough attention to sign multiple TV deals for possible “Roseanne”-like sitcoms. Unfortunately, they never amounted to actual TV shows.

While those failures disappointed her at the time, she said she’s grateful for experiencing a middle-class existence raising three kids in Tennessee and Texas. “I got to live a normal life,” she said. “That’s why people can relate to me. I wash my own clothes. My toilets don’t flush right. My husband has worked like a mule to provide for us.”

Leanne Morgan on "The Today Show" on NBC in April, 2023 to promote her new Netflix special "I'm Every Woman." NBC

Credit: NBC

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Credit: NBC

Her current success led to her first big acting gig.

Earlier this year, she got a call from Reese Witherspoon, who she had met at a CMA after party before COVID-19. Last year, Witherspoon asked Morgan to do a table read for her new Amazon Prime movie “You’re Cordially invited” to play Witherspoon’s older sister.

“I had no idea what a table read was,” she said. She soon discovered it was a gathering of actors who read through a script to give the creators an idea if the script works or not.

“I was scared out of my mind,” she said. “I’ve never taken an acting class.”

But Witherspoon gave her the job. Morgan moved her stand-up dates to the fall to accommodate shooting the movie last month in metro Atlanta.

“I’ve had a ball,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on but I learned. They did not fire me. Fortune Feimster is in the movie. She told me, ‘Get to your mark and say your line.’ She was a big help to me.”

Morgan said this fall tour will feature 100% new material including her experience as a grandmother. “I try to get out and experience things,” she said. “I go to hot yoga. It’s fun to do that while you’re in menopause. That 105 degrees makes me feel like a caged animal and I have a panic attack. I can handle 90, 95 if they don’t put all that humidity in there.”


Leanne Morgan

7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24. $49.75-$129.75. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, foxtheatre.org.