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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Reel Rundown: Leanne Morgan really is every woman in Netflix comedy special

Leanne Morgan attends Netflix Is A Joke Fest’s “The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady” at the Kia Forum on May 5 in Inglewood, Calif.  (Getty Images)
By Dan Webster For The Spokesman-Review

We all have different night-time routines. Some of us read, some of us watch television, some of us count sheep. And some of us – the lucky ones – drift right off to sleep.

Not among the lucky ones, I try to read at least one chapter of a book (which at present is Andrew Sean Greer’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Less”) before turning on my iPad to watch YouTube comedy routines.

Reactions to comedy, of course, vary widely. The list of my favorite comedians includes Jimmy Carr, Nate Bargatze, Taylor Tomlinson, Kevin Bridges, Ricky Gervais, Anthony Jeselnik and Tom Segura, and that lineup may be far different from anyone else’s. Not everyone loves snarky sarcasm.

Regardless, I’m always open to new experiences, which is what occurred the other day when my wife turned me on to a YouTube video featuring a standup comedian I’d had only a passing familiarity with. And the routine, titled “My New Obsession,” was hilarious, describing as it does the comic Leanne Morgan’s concerns about Taylor Swift and “that big old Kelce boy.”

Which then led me to check out her 2023 Netflix special, “Leanne Morgan: I’m Every Woman.” And which reminded me that one great thing about streaming services is that they tend to hold onto their material for extended periods.

Here’s what I know about Morgan: A 58-year-old native of Tennessee, she came to standup comedy relatively late. She didn’t start performing at open-mic nights until 2001, and in 2008 was invited to be part of the Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

These days she barnstorms the country, doing as many as 100 shows a year, entertaining her audiences with stories about her family – and the occasional commentary on celebrities such as Swift and Travis Kelce – all narrated in her trademark Tennessee twang (imagine pronouncing the word “ten” with two syllables.)

As with the best standup performers, Bargatze certainly and even blunt-speaking Burr, Morgan doesn’t shy away from making herself the butt of her jokes. She’s perpetually talking, for example, about the “horrible” things she did while attending the University of Tennessee.

And she isn’t afraid to comment on gaining weight, which she attributes to having downed a lot of sugar-laden Jell-O while taking care of her mother, her “little mama,” who was on a soft-food diet.

“I sat there and ate all that with my little mama,” she said, “and all of a sudden my stomach was laying on my legs.”

Her comedy is almost exclusively personal, much of it involving her frugal-but-hard-working husband, her three “precious” children and now a grandchild. This latter disclosure sets her off on a family dynamic that many new grandparents can relate to.

“When my boy and his wife found out about this precious baby, they would say ‘Their baby,’ ” she says, twisting her expressive face in confusion. “And we would say, ‘Our baby.’ ” More confusion … and a pause.

“And then they started using words like ‘boundaries,’ ” she says.

With that line, which causes her audience to roar with laughter, Morgan could have dropped her mic. As it turns out, though, it was only one of many.

Which at least one of her new fans, even if sleep-deprived, certainly appreciates.