Comedian Morgan Rees dishes on turning 30, his cartoon daddy crush & being thirsty (for life)

Comedian Morgan Rees dishes on turning 30, his cartoon daddy crush & being thirsty (for life)

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Morgan Rees | Photo Credit: Rachel Sherlock

Morgan Rees is here to set the record straight—err, here to set the record bi, that is.

The emerging London-based comedian has gained notoriety through his unfiltered stand-up sets, his hilarious web videos (on TikTok and Instagram, where he has hundreds of thousands of followers), and for loudly and proudly identifying as bisexual, helping bust myths around sexuality with laughter.

“I try and make queer comedy for everybody,” he recently told the BBC, noting that he does often find himself performing to straight people at comedy clubs (where he kills). And part of that means he’s frequently confronting misconceptions about bi people—that they’re untrustworthy, that they’re promiscuous, that they’re just going through a pahse.

“Bisexuality is not a stepping stone for me,” Rees has said. “It’s my final destination.” The comic first came out at as bi at 22 and never looked back. Having recently entered his 30s, he’s got a new lease on life and has vowed to be his most authentic, happiest, funniest self.

Now, he’s bringing that newfound thirty-something energy with him on the road for his first-ever U.K. tour, “Turning Thirsty,” hitting up some iconic venues in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales from May through July of this year.

(And, if you’re not in the U.K., don’t sweat it: You can still get plenty of Morgan Rees through social media, his weekly podcast Chatting With Cherubs, or you can find him in your email inbox thanks to his upcoming, recently announced Substack!)

While preparing for his big tour, Queerty snagged some time with Rees and invited him to be the latest guest in our rapid-fire Q&A series, Dishin’ It. In our conversation, the comedian opens up about finding an escape in queer comedy, taking inspiration from his 80-something grandparents, and the musical festival that just might’ve changed his life.

Is there a piece of media—whether a movie, TV series, book, album, theater, video game, etc…—that you consider a big part of your own coming-out journey, or that has played an important role in your understanding of queerness? Why does it stand out to you?

In Long: Queer stand-ups such as Alan Carr, Rhys Nicholson, and Tig Notaro were my window into queerness, because while I was closeted, I felt uncomfortable watching any LGBTQ+ related drama. In hindsight, it’s because the drama was centred on trauma whereas stand-up was joy. Queer joy was more palatable to me, and i lapped it up.

I love stand-up for some many reasons: the underlaying theme of play, the eureka moment of cracking a joke, the delicate marriage between performance and writing. But notably I adore how stand-up can make the un-relatable feel relatable. All because the craft is about identifying the human element in any scenario. So while i was closeted, all these queer experiences that these comedians would talk about suddenly felt so trivial. Meanwhile, my self-hating brain thought these queer experiences were monumental. I think sometimes we can over-hype comedy, but these comedians really did, probably unknowingly, helped me begin to accept myself. And more importantly, be myself. 

In short: stand-up

As a comedian, you’ve performed for thousands and thousands of people all over the country and beyond, but do you have any stand-up horror stories of a “gig gone wrong” that you can share?

I do but many of those of stories are not repeatable. There’s a good reason that they’re in the “horror” folder.

The one I can tell you about is when i did the Hammersmith Apollo opening for Nigel Ng. It had always been a childhood dream to perform at the Hammersmith Apollo, after spending my youth just watching my heroes’ “Live At The Apollo” sets. So the day before the show, I moved to London ready for my life to change. This show was going change it all.

There is a well-known and much shared piece of knowledge amongst comedians about opening at the Apollo: it’s tough. No one had told me this. Due to the sheer size of the venue, most of the audience are still looking for their seats while you perform, but towards the end of your set, the punters are seated and the gig becomes electric. However, the previous 7 years of performing, I had been performing to audience sat there waiting eagerly for the show. So I was ill-prepared for 3000 people not staring at me, but at their tickets and empty seats. Important to note that my set length was cut by half because of unforeseen time constraints on the day. So I died on my hole.

There is a much longer version of this story. Buy me a pint, and i’ll tell you.

Your upcoming tour is called “Turning Thirsty” and you’ve said it’s going to deal with turning 30 and having a lust for life. Now that you’ve entered a new decade, what are some ways you hope to be more “thirsty” and “lustful” in your 30s?

Lust and thirsty for something new is important me. My grandparents are in their 80s and still learning new languages, traveling to new places, and eating new food. I have dedicated my 20s to putting my foot in the door in this industry, and getting to grips with my craft. Nevertheless, this has been to a fault. I haven’t travelled, missed important moments, never nurtured relationships. And now my 30s is about grabbing those back. So my 30s is about traveling and improving.

Where’s one of the first spaces you can remember that made you feel a part of a queer community?

Primavera Sound in 2022 with Olga Koch and Leo Reich. The music festival was an unintentional queer event. Dua Lipa, Charlie XCX and Meghan The Stallion on one line-up. What did they expect? It was queer to the extent that i saw a 6’5″ man march out of a nightclub because someone was wearing the same thong as them—it was heaven. I actually went on a massive personal journey, where I view that holiday as a major milestone in my quest of self-acceptance. I’m writing about it for something at the point. Let’s just hope it gets made.

Who’s a fictional character you had a crush on at a younger age (or maybe still do!)? What do you remember loving about them?

Goku from Dragon Ball Z. Simple as. Ripped, daddy and sometimes had a tail. Didn’t know that was thing until I wrote this, but it is. 

Who is a queer or trans artist/performer/creator that you think is doing really cool work right now? Why are they someone we should all be paying attention to?

I have to give a shoutout to my best mate in comedy and out of comedy, Josh Jones. Not only is he one of the most genuinely kind and hard working people i know. He is just intrinsically funny. And his work is important. Josh talks about every-day things in his comedy, and he excels at making those funny.

It’s remarkably refreshing to hear a queer person do comedy about the every day, because queer people are part of the every day. We’re not scuttled away, we’re just amongst as our straight counterparts, and Josh’s comedy illuminates that. Like my heroes, Josh makes both straight and LGBTQ+ people laugh about queer experiences, it’s a testament to his empathy and comedy. So check him out, he’s going places


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