Leanne Morgan stands on a stage, lights shining behind her. She wears a long dress, and is speaking into a microphone.
Comedian Leanne Morgan performs at her Lexington, Kentucky stop on the "Big Panty Tour." (Photo via Netflix)

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Our profile of comedian Leanne Morgan has been popular lately, and word on the street is that it has something to do with her new Netflix comedy special, “I’m Every Woman.” While we knew this rurally-grown comedian had something good going for her when we interviewed her in 2020, it’s been great to see her receive the wide recognition she deserves recently. What makes Morgan special goes beyond her upbringing in Adams, Tennessee (current population: 634), although undoubtedly small-town roots lend a unique bent to her sets.

No, what struck me while watching “I’m Every Woman” is that it’s witty, hilarious, and irreverent, and yet, it’s also so subtly tasteful it doesn’t really register as such until the camera pans across the audience’s final applause. This is not to say that Morgan shies away from topics that have, historically, been avoided in public spaces. Far from it. She takes-on menopause, perimenopause (not to be confused with premenopause for those of you out there wondering!), and the strains a pandemic can put on marital relations of all types with honesty, humor, and gusto. The key here is that never in her seventy-five minute set does she rely on crass humor to drive home a punchline. In fact, she largely refrains from cursing, instead intimating certain expressions on occasion without actually saying them out loud.

Amid a sea of (largely male) comics mining lewd situations and shocking language for laughs, Morgan’s approach is refreshing. Come for the relatable small-town charm, stay for the bits about “driving beat-down vehicles until they break down on the interstate” (I don’t know about you but my first car was a 1996 Geo Prizm so this is eminently relatable), and anecdotes about the time Morgan’s son raised a baby beaver in his college dorm room.

The other thing that I mused about while watching Morgan deliver tight takes on life from where she stands, is the way the title she’s chosen, “I’m Every Woman,” is a perfect encapsulation of her set. Sure, she leans on some specific personal experiences for material, but instead of the shocking individualistic antics that some comics describe, it’s the relatability of her humor that makes the whole package compelling. Much of her material is borne of the life experiences women in their 50s and 60s enjoy/endure. But even as a young woman, I could relate. Morgan speaks about the follies of youth in a way that resonated deeply with me — haven’t we all made some questionable decisions? As I round out my 20s, I’m beginning to see some of my own all too clearly. And, Morgan’s approach to the trials and triumphs of motherhood is the same. I can imagine what she describes would land with even more impact for moms of all ages, but the fact that I’m not a mom certainly didn’t stop me from a good chuckle or two.

In a world that often lauds youth above all else, and writes women above 40 as “past their prime,” Morgan, an elegant, articulate woman finding wide success in her fifth decade is disrupting the status quo, and she’s doing it with grace.

As Whitney Houston croons in her 1992 song “I’m Every Woman” (do we think this synchronicity is a coincidence?)

“I’m every woman
It’s all in me
Anything you want done baby
I do it naturally”

Leanne Morgan really does seem to do it naturally.

Oh, and did I mention this was filmed live in Lexington, Kentucky at the last stop on her “Big Panty Tour”? That alone may be all the incentive you need to add it to your watch list.

You can watch Leanne Morgan’s “I’m Every Woman” streaming on Netflix.

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