Comedian and actor Sam Morril, named one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch” in 2011, has taken the world of comedy by storm over the last few years. The multitalented New Yorker is currently on his Class Action Tour, slated to perform at the Ohio Theater in Cleveland on Thursday, Oct. 26.
But, who is this Morril guy … and what can Clevelanders expect from his upcoming show?
Growing up in the Big Apple, Morril spent a lot of his time watching famous comedians such as Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey. When he was young, his brother showed him “Billy Madison,” an Adam Sandler movie, for the first time, opening his eyes to what comedy could be.
“When I saw that for the first time, I was like ‘Oh, an adult can behave like a child, that’s so amazing.'”
By the time he was 18, Morril’s interest in comedy molded into a passion as he took the stage for the first time. He began by doing “bringer shows,” shows in which the comedian has to bring an audience member to perform. He also attended different open mics and tried to get his name out there by handing out flyers to the residents of New York City.
“It’s hard to really tell jokes when you’re that young because you don’t really have a lot of life experience, so you’re just talking,” began Morril. “But yeah, it did influence how I tell jokes now in some ways because back then, when you’re that young and you haven’t lived a lot, your jokes are observational.”
When COVID-19 first broke out in March 2020, many entertainers, comedians included, struggled to adapt to the change. Morril, however, took a unique approach to the pandemic, starting off with hosting Zoom performances and charging tickets.
But, Morril admitted that those were “soul-crushing,” to which he then decided to ask his fans to help him host shows.
“…I was like, I’m going to put on Instagram stories if you’ve got a roof, a mic, an amp, and friends, I will come to your roof and do a show.” Morril shared on That’s My Time with David Letterman.
The reason he did those shows, wasn’t for an income, Morril said, but because they helped him achieve some sort of normalcy, as “not having [shows] just felt weird” and he simply didn’t feel like himself.
“Looking back at some of the jokes, I don’t love them, but I’m still proud that we did that because it captured a real f–ed up time in the city and the country and even the world,” said Morril. “Especially densely populated cities like New York that really felt the need to shut down, I mean, we really had nothing to do.”
Morril didn’t keep himself busy with just comedy as the pandemic raged on. He tacked on “director” to his biography.
He directed a documentary called Full Capacity, released in 2021, that showed the pandemic from a comedian’s perspective, including the steps he took to maintain his career in a fulfilling way during such an unprecedented time.
The multitalented star has also released many specials during his career, including two released in 2020: “Positive Influence” (2018), “I Got This” (2020), Up on the Roof (2020), Same Time Tomorrow (2022). His upcoming special, Class Act, is set to be released sometime in 2024.
Morril’s favorite special he has performed thus far is “I Got This.”
“It’s my favorite because I was such a desperate and angry comic. Nobody watched Comedy Central, it was pretty demoralizing to put out these specials that just no one saw. They would only run them once… We were throwing our hard-worked material into the abyss.”
Morril is extremely proud of the Class Action Tour.
“It’s the first time I’ve really let my material breathe.”
Morril’s comedic repertoire involves jokes on contentious subjects such as world conflicts, guns and abortion, but with a lighthearted spin.
“You’re not going to feel bad leaving the show, it’s a fun hour.”
At the end of the hour, Morril is planning on hosting an event called “Therapy,” during which he will invite audience members who don’t necessarily have the time or money to go to therapy to come up to the microphone and open up to him, and he will help them work through an issue.
“I’ve always liked Cleveland, I’ve performed there for years,” said Morril. “One of my most popular bits took place in Cleveland. I didn’t choose to go to Cleveland, my agents did, but I would have gone regardless.”
Morril also mentioned his history with the comedy club, Hilarities, located on E. 4th St..
“I’m kind of sad I’m not playing at Hilarities, to be honest, but I guess it’s a ’moving on up point’ in your career.”
Tickets for Morril’s upcoming Cleveland show are available through PlayHouse Square’s website. The venue advises audience members to not bring children since the content of the show may not be age-appropriate for young viewers.
To learn more about Morril, watch his specials and more, visit his website.
And, if you want even more of Morril, you can listen to his and Mark Normand’s podcast called, “We Might Be Drunk” or his limited podcast, “Games with Names,” which he hosts with former NFL wide receiver, Julian Edelman.