About Joseph Morpurgo
Acclaimed, outlandish multimedia comic Joseph Morpurgo was nominated for a highly sought after Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for his third sell-out solo show, Soothing Sounds for Baby in 2015. Making his solo character debut at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe, his previous solo shows, Truthmouth and Odessa were ambitious breakout hits and his latest conceptual special, Hammerhead, was also met with widespread critical acclaim following his first ever national solo tour.
Always innovative in his offerings, three-time Chortle Award winner Joseph Morgurgo is also an accomplished improviser, performing first with the Oxford Imps and more latterly with improvised sketch comedy troupe Grand Theft Impro. He is also co-creator and regular star of London’s West End hit, Austentatious, an entirely improvised comedy play in the style of Jane Austen, which has gained a cult-like following and a national tour for Autumn 2019.
Comedian Joseph Morpurgo’s recent television appearances include the BAFTA-nominated Harry & Paul’s Story Of The Twos, and Drunk History. He has performed and taught improv in the UK, Europe and the US, and guested with groups including The Comedy Store Players and Baby Wants Candy. So if it’s full throttle, high concept character comedy, or shows filled with audience interaction, visual gags and masterful sketches that you’re after, or if your comic palate is just craving something a little bit different, Morpurpgo is most definitely your man!
WATCH JOSEPH MORPURGO: HAMMERHEAD
Spoofing the conventions of the post-show Q&A, outlandish funny-man Joseph Morpurgo presents his multimedia stand-up voodoo. Featuring surreal set-pieces, inventive comic writing, and one monstrous thespian ego, this is conceptual comedy delivered with chucklesome clout.
Reviews and Awards
Joseph Morpurgo was nominated for the 2015 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, and is also a Breakthrough, Innovation and Comedians’ Comedian Chortle Award winner.
Has entire rooms laughing uproariously’Evening Standard
‘High concept comedy, terrifically well executed’The Guardian
‘Absolute lunatic perfection’londonist.com
‘Crackles with energy’The Telegraph
‘An exhilarating trip into the tirelessly inventive mind of an obvious talent’Time Out
Joseph Morpurgo Tickets
Information on Joseph Morpurgo’s upcoming gigs and live shows can be found here
Attending the Dame Alice Owen’s School in Hertfordshire before basing himself in London, Joseph Morpurgo (distant cousin of the War Horse author) completed a degree in English Literature before finding work as production runner on BBC’S hit show Have I Got News For You. Alongside comedy, Joseph also worked as a music journalist. Speaking to Culture Calling, he explains: “ I was in to comedy before I started doing music journalism. I started doing comedy and improve at university and then I started working with my improv group Austentatious which started in London about 7 years ago. I was balancing the two for a while and gradually comedy won out of the two. I’m definitely a superior comic than I was a music journalist, which does not say much for the quality of my comedy I’m afraid!”
As original co-creator of the show Austentatious, Joseph Morpurgo is one of the many successful comics to come out of the improv troupe, including The Mash Report’s star Rachel Parris. He told TheLatest.co.uk: “ I mean, we’re more like a band really. We set the group up – there’s eight of us in it now – we set up with six of us, some of whom we knew each other from uni and some of whom we met in London. And then we kind of added a few extra friends and close confidantes as we went…it’s got so many brilliant people in it. It’s so exciting, I think, for all of us. We all started when we were nobodies, as it were. And now there’s people like Cariad Lloyd who’s been in Peep Show and done a million things – QI, Have I Got News For You etcetera; Rachel Parris who obviously is super talented and has had this incredible moment recently; Andrew Hunter Murray, who does the QI podcast No Such Thing As A Fish which is inordinately successful. I think he’s selling out the Sydney Opera House with that next month.”
But whilst comedian Joseph Morpurgo admits that he enjoys performing improvised comedy, the experience when creating a solo show is very different. With four unique and successful solo’s under his belt, he explains to franklymydear.co.uk: “When you’re improvising, it’s a collective enterprise and you have nothing – you just play off other people…When I’m developing a solo show, the process is very different. It’s all about exploring an idea and going very deep and surprising yourself so they are two different ways of working. Inevitably when I’m doing my solo shows bits of my improv experience creep in because you always want to be attentive about what feels different about that night, what might be interesting and what you might be able to play around with.”
Praised for his innovative approach to his solo stand up work, comedian Joseph Morpurgo has certainly not followed the obvious path with his live shows and character creations. From his faux verbatim theatre spoof Truthmouth and the Desert Island Discs inspired character sketches of Soothing Sounds for Baby, to the multimedia psycho-thriller vibe of Odessa and his hilarious thespian alter-ego in Hammerhead, Joseph Morpurgo is certainly not lacking in ambition or imagination. Speaking to Wow247 he muses – “Often, if I’m deep in the wormhole of writing a stand -up show, particularly one that requires a lot of editing or making visual gags, those are extremely laborious, time -consuming, focused processes that require a lot of consideration and effort …You’re given or find something relatively arbitrary as a starting point, then see where your brain takes something that specific and unusual, going deep into that one thing…Hopefully by doing that, you get to a place that’s more idiosyncratic than if you stuck to a conventional subject.”
So with the improv background influencing so much of his work, does comedian Joseph Morpurgo feel that live stand up is a career choice, or a calling? He tells Broadway Baby “It’s certainly too haphazard and provisional an industry to ever be called a bankable career choice – but I also think there’s a lot of problems nested in that word “calling”, too. I guess you have to try and navigate some crooked path between the two. Let’s just say that, on the career-to-calling spectrum, I’m probably a 7.8.”
Get More Joseph Morpurgo
Want more of Joseph Morpurgo? You’re in luck – his full stand-up comedy special is available to watch on NextUp – a digital comedy club where you can stream instantly over 120 comedy specials from some of the exciting names in comedy. Oh, and there’s a 7 day free trial.