Sam Morril is a tremendously funny young comedian who is a staple of the NYC comedy scene. After a brief stint in the controversy spotlight a few years ago over a rape joke, Sam’s poised to make a more meaningful impression on America, following his recent appearance on Adam Devine’s House Party with an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour special and a new album. He’ll be recording the album Tuesday June 2 at The Village Underground. We spoke to him about being as funny as possible all the time and the death of journalism while he sat poolside on a road gig in Arizona.
The IBang: So, first album!
Sam Morril: Well, I actually put out an earlier album, but I only sell it at live shows on the road, so I don’t consider that that material is burned. But now I have a bunch of stuff and It’s time to stop doing it.
The IBang: Is that what made you decide now was the time?
Sam Morril: Yeah. When you think of your strengths as a comic, one of mine is writing jokes so I just need to burn these and write new ones. If that’s my strength, why would I just rest on these jokes? But it’s hard to get rid of them, it’s like sending your kid off to college, I would imagine. You don’t wanna do it, but at a certain point, it’s like “You gotta go! And I’ll see you once in a while.”
The IBang: You’re someone I know to be a prodigious writer, you write new stuff all the time.
Sam Morril: That’s good to hear, I don’t feel that way. I feel like I may throw a lot of ideas out there that I don’t keep, so that doesn’t count. Anyone can just throw shit against the wall. But I would need to be on drugs or drunk every set if I just kept doing the same jokes, I’d get bored. I have other stories I want to tell, other jokes I want to write and this is going to force me to do that. You never feel like you’re ready, but it’s time. You only ever feel as good as your last set. But it’s not like with sports. LeBron has pressure on him, if you’re a comic, it’s just a couple of guys at an open mic saying “Oh, he’s slipping.” It’s not like there’s four guys on a green screen, yelling at each other about Kevin Hart. People don’t care about stand-up the way they do movies or music.
The IBang: It seems like people only care about stand-up now when they get to call out a comedian for being offensive or saying the wrong thing.
Sam Morril: You know what it is? It’s not just that, people also love heckler videos. People love anything where they can aggressively pick a side. Like with heckler videos, it’s like “I am living vicariously through this comedian and maybe that heckler is some jerk at work.” And then it’s the same with these blogger wars. The bloggers are doing their little clickbait game where they’re “mad” about Louis’s monologue or whatever the new thing is and then the people go crazy. I don’t know how many of the people writing those articles even believes what they’re writing about. Like with that Louis SNL monologue, he built that set so well, any halfway smart person is going to get where he’s coming from. But the internet is full of not-smart people who have a voice and a forum. This isn’t like the 60’s – well, I guess they had shitty journalists then too, but these people aren’t even journalists. It’s never two-sided, there’s almost no such thing as a journalist anymore, we all know which side everyone is on.
Like that thing with George Stephanopoulos a few weeks ago, where he gave money to the Clinton camp. Yeah! He worked for Bill Clinton! People were outraged, but you knew he was a democrat. He shouldn’t have given money in that position, but you know where everyone you’re watching on TV stands. To get someone neutral to moderate a debate, you should just get a homeless guy to moderate it now. He’ll ask funny questions, probably. But I hate the extreme on both sides, really. Sometimes people get really out of control and say, “This is censorship!” and it really isn’t, Louis got to say what he wanted on TV. And then the other side saying, “he’s trying to rationalize child molestation!” He’s got kids, you think he’s trying to rationalize it? He’s just going to a dark place and trying to find the humor in it. And that’s what a lot of comedians do. Because it feels rewarding when you can take something terrible and make it funny. Personally, it gives me a rush when they are so against the joke in the setup, they’ve already decided to hate the joke, but then they come around. That feels so good.
The IBang: Do you ever feel like you’re changing anyone’s mind about anything or do you just want the joke to kill?
I like to think about the reasons I got into it – guys like Rodney Dangerfield and Dave Attell who are just constantly being funny and that’s the most important thing.
The IBang: You have a great group of funny young guys you run with, how important is that camaraderie to your success and sanity?
Sam Morril: You need those friends in comedy who are really funny and really pushing each other. I had a friend the other night and we both had a take on something topical and his was so much better and I told him in the cab on the way to our next spot “I hate you!” When you have friends who are all so funny, you’re not going to develop that big ego unless you’re a delusional idiot. If you’re around other comics who are constantly pushing you and supporting you and you support them, your ego will be in check and you’ll have a strong support system.If I’m on the road too long, I’ll text my friends a new joke, like “Is this hacky? Because it’s really hitting in the casino so I can’t tell.” Then you try it back at home in one of the hip alty rooms in Brooklyn, then back at a club and if it works everywhere, then it’s a really good joke.
The IBang: Do you have jokes that go the other way – they kill at the Cellar and then you’re in Wichita and the crowd is just staring at you?
if you go to some place that’s just a chicken wing factory that also has comedy, they’re like, “Just make us laugh, talk about your dick more!”
But a joke that would kill at The Cellar was always important to me. Since so many of the big guys work out there, I put my faith in that room. So that’s why I’m doing the CD at the Village Underground. Hopefully, it will get the hip people out but also the comedy people out. And I feel comfortable there, the people there and at the Cellar have been so supportive of me and they care a lot about comedy there.
Sam is recording his new album tomorrow, Tuesday June 2 at The Village Underground. Get FREE tickets to the taping at 7:30 or 9:45 by clicking here.