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It's not surprising that Leanne Morgan is cuddling with her 14-month-old grandson while calling from Park City, Utah. The rest of her family is on the slopes, but Morgan opts to connect with her first grandchild.
"I just love watching him walk and climb," Morgan said. "It just makes me so happy."
It's always been family first for Morgan, who didn't become a comic until she was 32.
Morgan, now 56, focused on her three children after graduating from the University of Tennessee during the late 1980s. Even though the quick-witted humorist believed she would become an entertainer since she was a preschooler, it appeared she was on another path.
However, the stage was an inevitability.
"It just took me a little longer to find a way," she said.
While selling jewelry at a regional sales event in Texas, women cracked up at Morgan's stories.
"I would talk about breastfeeding and hemorrhoids, and all of a sudden, I was getting booked," Morgan said. "I would talk about babies and T-ball. People related and one thing led to another."
Morgan, who will perform Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Cedar Rapids, hit the road as a clean and clever comic and scored development deals.
"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 Tennessee native nails it with her pre-pandemic stand-up 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. youtube.com/watch?v=O3AgsL1XDnU
"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 ’70s, 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. I remember seeing Porter Waggoner eating a chocolate-covered banana when I was 15 and he saw me looking at him and he 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 she 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 from many of her younger peers, who deliver terse 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 I've been very fortunate to have an audience for what I do."
Morgan has graduated to theaters as she kicks off her Big Panty Tour.
"This is a dream come true," she said. "I get to perform in beautiful theaters. Women are throwing their panties at me like I'm Tom Jones. I can't believe how cool this is. I've proven that it's better late than never."