Local comedian Grayson Morris reflects on opening for Louis C.K.

Comedian Grayson Morris stands outside the Orange Peel, where she performed as the opening act for Louis C.K.'s surprise set.

By day, Grayson Morris is a preschool teacher, by night, a standup comedian. For the last five years she’s honed her craft. Most of her material comes from her everyday life: being single and poor and working with young children. This past Wednesday night, her hard work paid off. Morris found herself the opening act for Louis C.K.’s surprise benefit show at the Orange Peel.

The day before, Morris, along with a handful of other local comedians were told by the Orange Peel management that tickets would be going on sale for “someone famous.” Early Wednesday, they learned it was C.K. That afternoon, Morris discovered her name was in consideration as the opener. “I was very excited about the prospect, but I didn’t want to get too excited because I knew it could go either way.”

At 4:45 pm Morris got the nod. By then, the show had been announced on both C.K.’s mailing list, as well as the Orange Peel’s website. It sold out within an hour. The show itself was C.K.’s response to the recent House Bill 2. All proceeds went to Equality NC.

“I didn’t have jokes surrounding the law,” says Morris. Nor did she have the time to try and write any. With less than four hours to prepare for her 20 minute set, she went through her material. “I kept in mind that this would be for an audience that was there for Louis.” Fortunately for Morris, her standup complements C.K.’s own. “We both work in a narrative style.”

The set itself remains a bit of a blur to her. By the time Morris ended her final joke and turned to leave the stage, C.K. was making his way toward the mic. “He told me, ‘Good job,’” Morris recalls. “It’s not a huge deal to say that, I know, but it was nice to hear that coming from Louis C.K.”

The two comedians performed twice that evening. In-between sets, Morris had the chance to join C.K. in his greenroom, backstage. “He was very kind,” she says. Their conversation focused mostly on comedy. “He told me that you have to operate on a profound level,” Morris says. “That you can’t just be funny.”

The advice has already impacted Morris’ outlook on her material. “I have a real wish to be profound with my comedy,” she says, adding, “More profound than I have been so far.”

She’ll have that chance tonight, as Morris will once again open for C.K. in his final sold-out show at the Orange Peel. Doors open at 7 pm.

For more information on Grayson Morris — including her Friday night set at the Millroom — visit her website at http://graysonmorriscomedy.com


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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3 thoughts on “Local comedian Grayson Morris reflects on opening for Louis C.K.

  1. Reasonable

    Louis show was not in response to HB2. It had been planned for months.

    • mynameis

      No, but his donation of the proceeds from the shows to Equality NC was.

  2. Sneaky McFly

    Way to go Grayson. You are an Asheville treasure and great to see Louis supporting local comedians as well as equality.

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