Q&A with Sam Morril
While Carolines is known for presenting the biggest names in comedy, the club is also known for discovering and developing the next generation of comedy stars. The club’s popular monthly “Break Out Artist Comedy Series” showcases the talents of New York’s many rising stars who are quickly making names for themselves and achieving headliner status. One of those fast-rising comedians is Sam Morril, who has earned a reputation as one of the best joke writers on the scene today. Sam has performed on a Friar’s Club Roast, was highlighted in a four-page feature story in the Daily News as one of the four funniest comedians in New York, won the Laughing Skulls festival in Atlanta, was recently named one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch,” and performed in the prestigious New York Comedy Festival. His comedy can be heard on Sirius XM Radio’s Raw Dog Comedy Channel.
Sam headlined his own night at Caroline’s on June 27, and we sat down with him before the show to talk to him about his budding comedy career.
Q: You were born and raised in New York, and although you have traveled all over the country for shows, you have settled here. What is it about the New York Comedy scene that has made you want to stick around?
SM: It’s the best comedy scene in my opinion. There are the best comics here, and I want to be around that. Also my family is here so that always helps.
Q: You’ve earned a reputation as being one of today’s top young joke writers. Is there a sense of pressure to constantly top yourself?
SM: Yeah, of course. I’m never happy; I never write as many jokes as I think I can. They never come as quickly as you would wish they would. It can be frustrating and there’s always pressure to keep achieving.
Q: You are a fan of legendary comedians like Rodney Dangerfield. You have been quoted saying that you are a “fan first.” Is it weird now to have fans of your own?
SM: I don’t know if I have real fans, I mean who knows, maybe. I don’t know if that quote is right…I definitely am a fan, but I think now I’m a comic first. I still love comedy and I love watching it. If I here someone saying something funny I’ll go listen.
Q: Who inspired you to go from watching comedy to actually performing?
SM: I don’t know if any single comic inspired me, I watched a lot of great comics but I don’t know if any one inspired me to think, “oh I can do that.” I would make my friends laugh, and in high school I made a community service project and I turned it into a stand up thing. I mean people in my high school already thought I was funny so I kind of had a built in advantage, but then it went really well and I started doing open mics which was a much harder experience.
Q: How has your career changed since you first started? You’re headlining your own show at Carolines on Broadway. Does a performance like this in a place like Carolines make you feel like you’ve made it?
SM: This is great. I remember performing at Carolines when I wasn’t headlining, and now that I am it just feels like a whole other level. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’ve made it, I just want to continue doing stand up and get better and better.
Q: Some comedians embrace different characters that they have created, where as you go on stage as yourself. Do you think that is a better way to deliver comedy?
SM: I don’t think it’s a better way. I love characters. I was working with Yannis Pappas here last week, and I loved working with him. I think comedians that do different voices and stuff, not necessarily characters but different personas is very enjoyable to watch.
Q: Where do you see your career going? Do you want to do TV or film?
SM: Yeah I would definitely want to do TV or film. I don’t know where my career is going; I really have no idea. I’ll definitely always be doing standup, hopefully that will always be number one for me. If I get a TV show or a movie, I would definitely do it.
Photography by Phil Provencio