Interviews / Music

Morgan Jay Presents a Night of Seductive Absurdity in New Comedy Special, “Live At The Village”

Morgan Jay’s penchant for comedy arose from his innate mediation skills. A young boy’s desire for validation soon transformed into concrete artistic ambition. “Being the youngest, I think it’s up to you to diffuse tension at the dinner table for family gatherings, etc,” he says. “I was a class clown in high school. I mean, these are classic reasons and they’re all true, but also I think I just wanted attention and girls to like me. But there was definitely a transition in the way I thought about my craft when I actually realized my motivation and I dove deeper into ways I could elevate a normal comedy show.” Bored with the rat race of stand up, he decided to take a risk and add music to his sets. After all, he could hardly expect his audience to have a good time if he wasn’t. “I was doing stand up for six years before implementing music.The change happened when a few opportunities fell through and I just wasn’t having as much fun doing comedy. I had always played music but never felt like I was a strong enough singer. Ultimately, If I was to continue down the path of comedy, I wanted to create a show that I would go see.” What emerged was a sort of irreverently bespoke roast concert led by audience participation. Morgan had confidence that this unique format would leave a lasting impression. “I try to treat my comedy and art like a company. I have a mission statement. Everything is informed by that. I think the benefit of having an ideal is that, one year from now, five years from now, however far into the future, you have the flexibility to evolve and change the act to serve that mission statement. For me it’s ‘Make genuine and authentic experiences and connections for audiences that they will not forget.’ If you go to one comedy show in your life, you won’t remember jokes word for word but you’ll remember when that comedian made you sing, or brought you on stage, or riffed on something about your life because it was about you and everyone in the audience feels like this night is special for them.”

His new special, “Live At The Village,” incorporates his signature silly acoustics with a more personal experience. “I’m so proud of this work. We filmed it in a legendary recording studio in Los Angeles. It was originally built for Fleetwood Mac. Because my hour is so musical, I wanted to do the show in a space that reflected that. I wanted the show to be intimate and I wanted people watching to feel like they were a part of the crowd. I feel like that gets lost with a lot of really big specials where there’s two thousand people in the crowd.” He doesn’t miss a chance to credit his amazing team with the carefully crafted aesthetics of the show. The visuals are as smooth as Morgan’s lyrics. “Surprisingly, the only thing I really contributed was the material and the idea I had in my mind for how I wanted it to look. I had one conversation with our director, Jocelyn Cooper, about the look and then she and Sophie Bruza, our cinematographer, took care of the rest. They really achieved something special with the way this looks. I think there’s nothing out there that has the feel of this when watching. It’s warm. It’s clean. I love it.” He was undeterred when streaming services initially passed on the special. “It was a reminder to persevere. It’s really up to us these days. There’s too many outlets for creatives not to make an effort to build a fan base on their own.”

That determination paid dividends. “The feedback has been tremendous and you can see it in real time if you just look at the comments under the special. That’s the one thing I appreciate about YouTube. You can see the Yelp reviews right in the comment section below. That and the fact that it’s so easy to share.” Professional momentum is on his side. Like a true CEO, Morgan expects plenty of deliverables from his business of laughter. “I think I’ll sell out my fall tour this year. Selling tickets to bigger and bigger venues would be exciting. I think there’s a lot of possibilities for where things could go. A residency somewhere, an animated musical, an album of non-comedic songs, another special released next year, whether it’s on YouTube or any other streaming service. I try not to keep the destinations too clear in my mind anymore. That way I might end up somewhere in my career I would never have expected.” He will be slow jamming his way to comedy royalty. Watch “Live At The Village” HERE

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Morgan Jay Presents a Night of Seductive Absurdity in New Comedy Special, “Live At The Village.” Photo Credit (in order): Van Corona and Andrew Levy.