When comedian Sam Morril encounters a heckler, something that happens when he performs on the road, he knows he has to tread carefully at first. He wants to make sure the crowd knows there’s a problem.
“We notice the problem in the room way before the room does,” Morril says. “We have this ‘spidey’ sense because we do this so much … I can sense when someone is going to be a problem and so you don’t want to be too mean too quickly. You want to let the crowd see it.”
Morril takes being a comedian seriously, judging by his popularity. He’s performed at venues all over the country and on television, including Conan and Last Comic Standing. On Thursday, April 14, he will take the stage at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for the annual Men’s Night Out, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.
Just don’t heckle Morril. That’s asking for trouble.
“You think you’re helping the heckler by giving them a chance?” Morril asked. “Really, they’re just going to ruin the show even more and a lot of people paid a lot of money to see the show and they deserve to see a good show. I care about each show. I try to make each show good.”
Morril says that although what you see onstage is an intense version of himself, you can’t believe everything he says, especially when he discusses his family and his phone.
“People sometimes forget you’re making a joke,” he said. “We’ve made an agreement that I’m going to be silly for this show. I’m going to be hyperbolic and over the top. People get upset about that [grandpa] joke, but no, I love my grandpa, but I’m obsessed with my phone. You have to make an extreme comparison to make a comparison.”
Still, Morril’s jokes begin with some facts.
“On some level you’re giving the audience a wink,” he says. “But there are elements of truth in most jokes.”
As part of the event, the MENtor Award will be given to Bobby Present, who has taken an active part in mentoring the leaders of the Young Men’s Group and has helped to form a new group called The High Life, an organization for Jewish men who are in their mid-30s to their 50s.
“I think we all know Bobby’s a very fun-loving individual,” says Michael Shiner, one of the event organizers. “He brings out the best in people and always creates a very warm environment and people enjoy being around him.”
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner and beer. The event costs $36 to attend and is open to men 30 and older who have pledged a minimum of $180 to the Federation’s 2016 Community Campaign, to men younger than 30 who have pledged a minimum of $36 and to students who have pledged a minimum of $18. To RSVP, visit jfsa.org/mensnightout or call Karen Graham at 577-9393, ext. 118.