During my chat with Leanne Morgan, I was called “my darling,” “honey,” and “angel” more times than I can count — and I never wanted the conversation to end. If you’re unfamiliar with this uproarious Southern Belle, you won’t be for long. Although Leanne Morgan is a veteran comedian, her leave-you-in-stitches standup bits have begun to inundate social media feeds in recent years. She started performing for groups of friends at pop-up jewelry sales, and she’s now on a nationwide tour performing in sold-out theaters.
You just can’t stop watching Leanne. She speaks on topics like aging, parenting, and failing at WeightWatchers, while her sweet Southern drawl, fabulous sense of style, and flawless blonde hair help to draw you in. But ultimately, it’s the charm and comfort embedded in every joke that keeps you laughing. We can all relate to Leanne Morgan in some way, and we’re thrilled to have her as our newest FACE of the South! To kick things off, watch Leanne’s take on “concerts with old people.”
Tell us a bit about your life trajectory — where did you grow up? Were you always funny?
I was raised in Adams, which is in Walton County on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, 35 miles north of Nashville. I remember being fascinated by the country music stars I saw at the mall, and I wanted to be a star from the time I was little. I guess I was a ham and narcissistic, but I had a very funny family. I had grandparents around me who were hilarious— my mom’s funny, my dad’s a funny storyteller, and we were just always laughin’ and havin’ a good time.
I was kind of a class clown in high school, but I was in such a rural area. I never thought, “I’ll go to LA to make it as a comedian at 18.” I knew I had to go to college, so I went to the University of Tennessee and made horrible decisions and dated people that you wouldn’t wipe your feet on. I kind of put comedy on the back burner.
And how did you find out that you could make comedy a career?
It wasn’t until I had my first baby. My husband had moved me to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I started selling jewelry (like you’d sell Tupperware and Mary Kay) to make a little money so I could get my hair highlighted and stay home with my baby, Charlie. I was getting in front of these women every night in their houses, selling this jewelry and eatin’ dip.
And people thought I was funny. They would book a party with me a year in advance. Then the company noticed, and they asked me to start speaking at their big conventions, and that’s when people would say you need to be a stand-up. That gave me the confidence. So, I started when I was 32 years old and had three babies.
Did you ever imagine that your career would reach these nationwide tour heights? Or was that always your goal?
I thought I would have a sitcom. When I grew up in the 70s and 80s, I loved Roseanne and Ray Romano and Bill Cosby and all those shows. In my mind, that was success. But I told myself from the time I started, if I’m doing this, I’m going big. I was not just gonna piddle.
This tour I am on is so much sweeter and better than what I thought I needed to be doing. It’s just a miracle from God — that’s all there is to it. Everything changed, and for me to get this tour with Outback Concerts out of Nashville — who do all the big comedians— I mean, it’s so much better than I thought it was gonna be. And no one really watches sitcoms anymore anyway.
Do you feel that your Southern identity has played into your success?
I talk about universal things like being a mom and being a woman, feelin’ fat in my pants, failing at WeightWatchers, whatever it is, but I happen to do it with a very Southern spin and accent. I really don’t talk about Southern things; I don’t think. But I talk about life in a way that’s unique because of where I’m from.
Who are some comedians you love?
I always admired Jim Gaffigan. I always just got him. I love watching Tom Pappa. I love watching Comedy Central. I also love comedic actresses and SNL. I don’t know that there’s a comedian that I don’t enjoy.
What’s something that people are often surprised to learn about you?
I have figured out that people don’t realize I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for 22 years. When they introduce me on stage and my opener — who’s a good friend of mine — says we’ve been traveling together since 2004, you can just hear the gasps. With social media these days and the YouTubers and Instagram influencers and these overnight TikTok stars … people think that’s what I am, and that’s not it at all.
What do you like to do with your time off?
I meet my daughters to walk at the park, and we get our nails done. And I love to do a Costco run. It gives me so much joy to buy my kids a bunch of stuff to put in their refrigerator from Costco. I’ve always enjoyed being a mom and washing their clothes, and taking care of them. And we have a ball, honey. We get our eyebrows waxed; we get spray tans in the basement, all those things.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and from whom?
Brad Upton is a comic and a friend out of Seattle who had a good career in comedy. He said, “Leanne, try to work clean. You can always dirty something up, but you can’t always clean something up. If you’re clean, you can do private and corporate events. You can do comedy club clubs; you can do theaters; you can do anything.” That was really good advice because when you start doing comedy — and I did this — you say stuff that is shocking just because. But it limits you.
Besides faith, family, and friends, name three things you couldn’t live without?
My dogs. I gotta have my dogs.
I love a botanical face serum. My new favorite is Vintner’s Daughter. Oh my lord, when I put that on. It’s expensive, but let me tell ya.
And, my walking trails in the neighborhood.
And one more “lightning round” of questions:
Last best meal?
Chicken piccata. When I go to a restaurant, and they have a chicken piccata with a caper … honey! I know I shouldn’t have angel hair pasta, but I just love a chicken piccata.
Favorite hidden gem in Knoxville?
The Tennessee Theatre
Rosemary Beach 30A
What’s on your bedside table?
Gregg Allman’s book, My Cross to Bear
Go-to birthday present (to give)?
Good spa products and self-care things — serums, lotions, things you can put around your neck and heat up.
Thank you, Leanne, for chatting and giving the world so many belly laughs. To watch more Leanne Morgan and see where she’s performing next, head to LeanneMorgan.com. All photos were submitted by Leanne Morgan’s team.
To read about more inspiring FACES of the South, visit our archives HERE!