Comedian Sam Morril is soaring to stardom with his ‘Class Act’ comedy tour, selling out shows nationwide. He’s known for his hit Netflix special ‘Same Time Tomorrow’ and has been featured on ‘That’s My Time’ with David Letterman. Not to mention, Morril is also hosting two podcasts: ‘We Might Be Drunk’ alongside fellow comedian Mark Normand and ‘Games with Names’ with NFL legend Julian Edelman. In an exclusive interview, I sat down with Morril at the Olive Tree Cafe, located above his home club, the Comedy Cellar, to delve into the fascinating story behind his very own whiskey brand – Bodega Cat, as well as his insights into the world of comedy.
Discovering the World of Spirits
When asked about his first drink, Morril reminisces, “Probably wine. The good thing about being a New Yorker is when you first start drinking it’s either house parties or the real first move is to go to a Chinese restaurant because they don’t care what age you are.” As for his first choice of beverage, Morril admits to being drawn to whiskey early on because of the allure associated with it. “That’s what Bogart drank and that’s what they drank in the old west. They’re not ordering two spritzers in a John Wayne movie,” he jests.
The Birth of Bodega Cat Whiskey
Morril, along with his fellow comedian Mark Normand, hosts the podcast ‘We Might Be Drunk,’ and during one of their episodes, they realized that whiskey was their drink of choice. Inspired by celebrities who have their own alcohol brands, Morril and Normand decided to venture into the world of spirits themselves. The idea of creating their own whiskey came to life during their podcast discussions. Morril recalls, “I put it out there in the podcast and we got so many emails we just went with who felt the most legit.”
The Fascinating Story Behind the Name
The name “Bodega Cat” holds a special meaning for Morril and his whiskey brand. He explains, “Late at night you go into the bodega — maybe you’ve had a few drinks and you’re looking for a snack — and a little cat will pop outta nowhere. And you just pet the cat, it’s this weird bonding moment. You’re always happy to see a bodega cat — that’s how we want people to feel about our whiskey.”
Additionally, Morril finds joy in the fact that some people may not immediately grasp the name’s significance, drawing a parallel to the Whistle Pig brand, which may also puzzle those unfamiliar with its backstory.
Interacting with the Audience
During his stand-up shows, Morril often engages with audience members, and one of the ways he starts the banter is by inquiring about their drinks. He believes that their choice of beverage can reveal a lot about their personalities. “If someone’s having a fruity drink, I’m assuming it’s been an easier day. If someone’s drinking a Long Island Ice Tea, I’m like what are you running from?” he quips.
To show appreciation for their participation, Morril often buys them a drink after poking fun at them. However, when it comes to doing shots, he prefers to avoid sugary concoctions. “If I’m doing a shot, I want to feel it,” he emphasizes.
Insights from Touring Across Different Cities
As a touring comedian, Morril has visited numerous cities across the country, and each place has left a distinct impression on him. He shares his observations, saying, “Missouri will let you ride with anything. They don’t get offended unless you call Missouri a s$#!-hole. They have that state pride.”
On the other hand, Portland is a city he finds to be easily triggered, which creates a unique energy during performances. “Sometimes other places have that reputation, like Salt Lake City, but they’ve gone so far in the other direction. So now they laugh at the darkest stuff and they’re screaming out ‘more dead baby jokes.’ And I’m like I’m giving you plenty, settle down,” he humorously notes.
The Importance of Touring for Comedy
Morril strongly believes that touring is essential for a comedian’s growth and success. It provides an opportunity to refine material by testing it with diverse audiences. “If you’re only doing your act in New York or Los Angeles, I can tell. I’ll do New York jokes in my special, but I better make sure they kill in Kansas City or else why am I putting out something that’s released for everyone,” he emphasizes.
Addressing the State of Comedy
Regarding the claim that now is a tough time for comedy due to an alleged oversensitivity among young audiences, Morril disagrees. He states, “Personally, I don’t think it’s a tough time. This is the best my career’s ever been. So when people say it’s the worst time, I’m like well I’m having fun.”
He acknowledges that some older comedians might feel challenged, particularly when performing for younger crowds, but he believes that it’s essential to adapt to the changing times and relate to the audience’s experiences.
In this exclusive interview, we gained insight into the world of comedian Sam Morril – from his early experiences with spirits to the birth of Bodega Cat Whiskey and his interactions with the audience during his performances. With a successful comedy career and a growing whiskey brand, Morril is undoubtedly an exceptional talent in the entertainment industry.