Morgan Miller, Human Funny Machine

Interview Conducted by Gary Miller
We had the opportunity to talk to a quirky turkey named Morgan Miller, currently she can be seen performing all over as a stand up comedian and improv performer. She might not be the most famous Miller right now, as network television has been hogged by the likes of her sibling Denver Broncos Von Miller as of late. She’ll get out of her brother’s sack dancing show soon enough. She was recently featured in a hilarious video on Above Average that blew up a bit online. We suggest you check it out.
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Still Courtesy of Above Average

We wanted you to get to know her before everyone else does. Enjoy a cup of coffee and get to know Morgan Miller.

When did you first begin doing comedy?

“I really have been doing comedy my whole life.  I remIMG_9612ember sneaking out of bed with my brother to go watch Steve Martin’s stand up special when I was a kid.  I always loved making people laugh and started doing it in theater in middle school.  I really starting to dive in my senior year of college when I quit the lacrosse team (major athlete here haha) and joined the improv team.  That was the best decision I’ve ever made and I’ve literally never looked back.  As soon as I graduated I moved straight to New York to dive into it hard and fast.  I started taking classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater and hit the stand-up scene hard, doing 15 sets or so a week.  The first year was extremely difficult, not to say that it still isn’t, but I’ve gotten a hold on the “scene” and have a pretty good foot hold now!”

What are some memorable shows you have done?

“Oh BOY!  This is a very tough question because there have been more than I can count honestly.  I guess my first show on a UCB house team on lloyd night and then my first show on Harold night were very, very memorable.  Certain independent shows stick out as well in the improv scene with my first few indie teams Pulley and Pigeon Collision.  Traveling with UCB TourCo, there are just too many to remember that stand out as some of the best shows I’ve ever been a part of.  Stand-up wise there have been many as well.  Performing in my hometown of Denver at the Gotham Comedy club in front of over 600 people.  Opening for my brother on the road all along the east coast.  I guess I’m rambling a bit here… but that’s because I’ve had so many memorable shows.  That’s the incredible thing about comedy and the high you get after performances.  I guess I should also say I’ve remember some of the times I have really BOMBED as well.  That’s all part of the game tho.  Can’t learn unless you also bomb and grow.  But I can say that bombing has become much easier, although not less frequent”

 What’s your general writing process?

“Writing is an interesting question.  In improv of course you don’t write anything.  In stand up I always carry a notebook and when I think of an idea I write the idea.  I’m not very good at writing out full bits or sitting at a cafe and hammering out stand up sets.  I usually write the idea in my notebook and then hit the open mics to flesh it out and get the bit just right.  I record all my sets and go over them to see what hits and what doesn’t.  But my writing process I would say is very improv based because I like to figure it out on stage and in front of an audience.  As for sketch writing… I have a writing partner, Mike Kelton, who is not only one of the most talented comedians I’ve come across but also an extraordinary human and best friend.  We write sketches and it just flows, building upon each other and always saying yes to ideas.  There is nothing like meeting your writing partner you’re meant to be with and I feel lucky to have found mine.  In a lot of ways its the strongest relationship I’ll probably every have… Although don’t tell that to my future spouse ;)”

What’s a source of inspiration for you? Are you more external or internal?

“Inspiration comes from everywhere.  Why limit it to being external or internal.  Life is insane and shit is crazy… I like to make all that comedic and funny.”

How does it feel to be the funniest person in your family?

“Well that would be debatable by all family members.  My father would say it is him (and I may agree here).  My mom would say she has her moments (and I also agree here).  And My brother (Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller), who is also a comedian, would say I am by far the funniest but I often believe he is a genius when it comes to life and to comedy.  I come from a very smart, funny, and extremely driven family and I believe I owe most of my work ethic and success to them.  They are everything to me and to what makes me a comedian.”

 What’s it like performing with your improv group Mermaids, and could you tell us a little bit about performing across the country with UCB Tour CO?

“So a little correction here… Mermaids is my house team at UCB.  So that team does not travel, but we perform every Tuesday at the the Chelsea theater.  They are wonderful and in the time we’ve been working together truly believe we’ve grown into an incredible Harold team.  As we would say, I’m very proud to be an aMERMican. 😉  I travel with the UCB Touring company with three boys (Yoni Lotan, Keaton Patti, and Stefan Schuette).  Traveling to do comedy and getting paid to do improv is the most magical and unreal experience I’ve ever been a part of.  My three teammates have become like brothers to me.  Doing venues and colleges with a less structured form is honestly beautiful.  It makes you feel inspiring to those watching you, confident in who you are as a comedian, and free to jump into any scene/character/set with zero fear because you have 3 people who have your back no matter what.  I feel that I am my craziest, but my truest comedic self on the road and I owe a lot of that to my teammates who allow and love who I am.  It’s a lot of the time trying to make each other break… At the end of the day though the students and people that come are inspired and in aw of what we do and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was pretty fucking cool as well.”

 What makes you laugh?

“Oh gosh… What makes me laugh!?  Banana peel falls, having sex and cumming to the sound of power tools

a woman who things she’s a kangaroo and that a dingo ate her baby, Mike Kelton, ass-less corduroy pants.  A lot of things make me laugh… but in general the more crazy and absurd, the harder I’ll laugh.”

What was growing up in Denver like for you? Was there a culture shock in coming to New York?

“I loved growing up in Denver.  It’s the best place to grow up and raise a family and honestly I miss it every day.  It’s beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the majority of my family is still there.  Denver is still a city, but of course it’s no New York… What is right?  I wouldn’t say it was a culture shock coming to New York, but it was a struggle.  Struggle to find friends, find what art form I was supposed to be a part of, and ultimately who I was as a human being.  The past four years have been a major growth period for me, not only comedically but as a person.  I owe that to the toughness of NYC and to the fact that it doesn’t take anyone’s shit.  You gotta grow up and get tough to live here and do comedy and as soon as you do, you can start being a cucumber on stage and people LOVE it.  I love NYC and wouldn’t have rather started comedy anywhere and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in my life at this moment.”

Any advice for beginning improvisers and stand ups?

“Work harder than anyone else. Do more, make more, and trust yourself.  If you haven’t found your voice, allow yourself time to find yourself and it will come.  At the end of the day, do what makes you laugh the hardest not what you think will make others laugh.”

Tell us a little bit about your latest projects if you can.

“Hmm.. Well I have a LOT going on right now.  I just signed with my commercial agent at Stuart Talent and so am auditioning nonstop and trying to book that.  My writing partner Mike Kelton and I wrote a script and are trying to sell it to some branded content.  I just filmed a short sketch (Folgers Incest) for Above Average that has blown up on the internet .  I just finished writing a two woman show with another partner of mine, Molly Gaebe, that I hope to be putting up at the theater come the new year.  I’m still touring with UCB TourCo and loving it.  So that’s all that is currently in the works… I guess in the future I’m hoping to break into film and television!  So look into that :)”

Check out Morgan at her website and follow her online, like a good little person.