How Stand-Up Comedian and Improv Actor, Steven Morgan Plays for a Living

Get ready to explore the world of stand up and improv with the multifaceted Steven Morgan! You’ll be hooked from the get-go with our password-themed dad joke, before diving into the delightful juggle that Steven masters daily—balancing a conventional day job with his night-time escapades in stand-up comedy and improv. His financial stability doesn’t chain down his creative charisma, allowing him to handpick only those projects that dance to the beat of his heart.

Steven recounts his adventurous leap into a new country and the new world of making others laugh. Eavesdrop on our chat as we peel back the curtain on the unpredictable thrills of live performance, the craft of comedy writing, and the epiphanies that come from embracing the winds of change. His approach isn’t just about delivering punchlines; it’s about discovering newfound freedom and opening doors to exhilarating opportunities.

The episode ends with a conversation around the dynamic energy exchange between a performer and their audience in the spontaneous world of improv comedy. We get real about the strategies that keep performances fresh and authentic, such as mixing with the crowd pre-show and vibing off an audience member’s energy. Then a game of Survey Says, capping off a session brimming with insights on the essential role of playfulness in life. Join us for this playful episode that might just inspire you to sprinkle more joy into your daily grind!

(00:13) Joke of the Week with Steven Morgan

We kick off with a hearty laugh as we share a dad joke about passwords, setting the stage for a playful chat with the multi-talented Steven Morgan. We explore the balance between having a conventional day job and pursuing passions like stand-up comedy and improv, as Steven shares his journey of juggling both worlds. He opens up about the joys of having a creative outlet that isn’t driven by financial necessity, allowing him to selectively pursue projects that truly resonate with him. We also touch on the unique experiences and challenges that come with having a “double-life,” where one’s professional and personal personas don’t typically intersect. Through our conversation, we highlight the importance of maintaining a sense of playfulness in life, no matter what path you’re on.

(11:53) Embracing Change Through Comedy and Improv

Steven reveals the transformative journey of moving abroad and the subsequent discovery and pursuit of comedy. We explore the reasons behind the big move, the initial struggle with leaving a previous life behind, and the eventual realization that the old routine no longer provided fulfillment. The focus then shifts to comedy, highlighting the joy found in performing and collaborating with others. We touch upon the challenges of writing and planning but find that improvisation and spontaneity are where true passion lies. This personal evolution demonstrates the liberating feeling of shedding old commitments and the exciting possibilities that come with starting anew in a foreign land.

(19:27) Finding Balance Between Structure and Creativity

Mike explores the balance between structure and inspiration in creative endeavors, particularly in improv and stand-up comedy. We examine the importance of rules and common language in the beginning stages of improv to ease into the art form, while acknowledging that these guidelines are not always strictly applicable as one’s experience grows. Steven shares insights on his process in stand-up, highlighting that material often evolves on stage before being committed to paper to capture the natural delivery and timing. Additionally, we discuss the benefits of working backward from a live performance to written content, rather than the other way around, to maintain authenticity and avoid sounding robotic. The episode wraps up by emphasizing the organic nature of content creation and the flexibility required to truly engage an audience.

(22:57) Connecting With Audience Through Improv

This chapter kicks off with a reflection on the admirable discipline and vision required for artists to create long-term projects, like sculptures, which require a clear upfront vision to avoid wasting time and materials. We then pivot to the art of live performance, emphasizing the special magic that comes with spontaneity and the challenge of creating genuine fun on demand, drawing parallels to the forced merriment of events like New Year’s Eve parties or wedding receptions. We explore strategies for avoiding performance pressure in improv comedy, such as blending in with the audience before a show to gauge the vibe and identifying an audience member to play off during the performance. Sharing insights on the importance of the first few seconds on stage, we discuss the value of reading the room and adapting to meet the audience where they are, eventually leading them along in the experience. The conversation transitions into a game of Survey Says, where Steven answers survey questions, offering a light-hearted end to the show.