Hi Sundy Best Family –
This week’s blog is very special. It’s a surprise for Trae, Corey and Drew from me… their manager, Nat. Yuh – I got the password (insert rolling my eyes at Corey). I just got off a plane from Montreal, so apologies for the delay in putting this post together for Sundy Best readers. Thank you to Corey’s mom, Drew’s wife and Trae’s sister who wrote such heart felt messages for our boys and their beloved readers and fans.
Tomorrow the boys will wake up (except Corey, he’s certainly awake at all hours on account of the pills/cheese and will see this first) and they will read these letters from their loved ones who wrote in secret this week. I told the boys that I would gather promotional materials for the book for Sundy Best but instead I thought to surprise them with this, as tomorrow is the last deadline in the huge accomplishment of having written a book. Before they turn in final chapters to their editor, I hope each of them will read this and know how much they are loved and appreciated. I couldn’t think of anyone better than family to give readers insight to the wonderful, intelligent, kind men that you have all come to know and love online and on tour.
Well, surprise, surprise! Bet Corey’s nervous …his mother is writing a blog post for all his “beloveds” to see. His old, conservative, Christian, southern mother. So, you aren’t going to get any political views from me, just love and memories. That’s what moms are for anyway right? Well, cookies and chicken casserole… but you guys aren’t interested in that. You want “Cofo” stories. So, let’s get started.
Corey was our first child, he was a perfect baby and toddler. We knew very early on that he was very intelligent and had a fabulous sense of humor. He excelled early in school, but became very bored around the 5th grade. Evidently, educators were not as happy to hear Corey’s jokes and opinions as you sweet people. He’s always been a performer and the world has been his stage. So, as you can imagine, school was not his happy place. Saying he didn’t excel in school is not really fair …he was tops in socializing, friendship and keeping the students entertained at the teachers expense. We live in a very small town. We’ve all met, so there isn’t much that’s kept secret, not for long anyway and Corey had his little share of (I’ll just call them childhood mischievous moments), but really no more than most young men around here, he just seemed to get caught the most. One thing I can say is that during any activity, large or small, he was the entertainment. He loves his friends, he loves people …and they love him. Corey never meets a stranger and he will go out of his way to make you feel comfortable …as if you’ve been one of those lifetime friends he values so much.
He’s not impressed by bank accounts, careers (unless you are a comic) cars, jewelry …you get what I’m saying. He will love you for you, he can see through you too. He’s complicated, impatient, can never leave the house without returning for something he’s forgotten, indulgent, passionate, loves animals, babies, gourmet food (he’s an excellent cook), loves his sister more than life itself, worshipped his grandmother (and she him) and trucker hats. There’s more …but it’s a blog, not a book.
If Corey is anything he is driven, I realized that after spending two weeks in Chicago with him as he studied at “Second City”. This was when I knew that this “comedian stuff”, wasn’t just kid talk. He was one of the ones that knew from an early age what he wanted and wasn’t going to settle for anything else. There has never been a plan B. Oh, don’t think his father and I didn’t try to sway him or even bribe him. I’m not ashamed to say it, I didn’t want my son out there living the life of a “carney” never knowing if he was eating, sleeping on a sidewalk, being rejected by strangers and people who wouldn’t even take the time to see his talent. I’m his MOTHER!! I also knew that there were others that thought Corey was lazy, had no ambition. Since he didn’t finish college and pursue life the way all the others usually do. I heard the whispers and giggles and he did too. Corey studied life differently than most and when you live in a small town, where everyone knows you …different is not easy. It was hard for us, I won’t lie. We had all the confidence in Corey’s talent, it’s just the industry I was worried about. Corey wasn’t worried, he has spent years honing his craft. Endless road trips to comedy clubs and bars, where he would often only be paid in food or drinks. Taking odd jobs, never making much money. He only worked jobs that never interfered with his comedy. That was his first and only priority. He finally took off to New York to follow his dream, walked the streets of Manhattan until he found a job and moved in with a burlesque dancer. He ate ramen noodles, cheese and crackers and God only know what else, but my little boy did it. He learned a lot too … I’ll not tell you everything, he will need all those stories for his memoir one day. He did return home and started right back at it again. We are not far from Atlanta and he was getting several “gigs” here and again. He was continuing to write and develop new ideas, then, the next thing ya know …Gold …Texas Tea …a bubbling crude, well something like that …the “WellRED Comedy Tour” was born. The rest is history …I hope!
Corey is genuine, he’s an enigma of sorts …a small town southern boy who is liberal, open minded, will say anything to make you laugh, loves his country, momma, granny, cornbread, talks dirty, thinks dirty, can cook anything and is super intelligent. He stays totally current on all world events, can pick out a buttery Chardonnay and serve it with the best Vienna sausages the “Shop Rite ” has to offer. He’s my boy… you don’t love him like I do, but thanks for loving him the way you do.
Hey, y’all! I’ve been asked to talk a bit about Drew and since he’s my favorite person in the entire world, I’m thrilled to oblige. I know you folks come here to read funny things, so let me just state right off the bat – I’m not a comedian. But I hope you enjoy it anyway.
I’m originally from a teeny tiny place in East Tennessee called Huntsville – which is about a 20 minute drive from an even tinier place called Sunbright, where Drew is from. Growing up, all I could think about was getting out of my hometown and being an actress. I felt trapped there — I knew what I wanted to be doing, but I couldn’t while I was there. So when it was time to go to college, I couldn’t leave fast enough. I showed up to Maryville College a bright-eyed, determined little country bumpkin. Nothing was going to hold me back. I was cast in my first play, and showed up to the first rehearsal literally bursting with excitement. And then this cute, mysterious dude walked in wearing a leather jacket and motorcycle boots and my heart stopped. That dude was Drew – who was a senior at the time. The director had asked him to be in this play after one of the actors dropped out and since he wasn’t playing football that year, due to an injury, he agreed. We gravitated towards each other very quickly. I was smitten — he played guitar, loved poetry, had studied abroad in South Africa where he met Nelson Mandela….and then, he told me he grew up in Sunbright. I couldn’t believe it. Here was this witty, intelligent, worldly guy and he was FROM WHERE I WAS FROM. He understood…he knew what it was like to feel like an oddball. We spent the majority of those rehearsals making out in the costume shop. That hit pretty hard for both of us. We didn’t start dating until a year later (aka: he wouldn’t date me, my heart was broken, he graduated and went to Australia for a few months, then FINALLY wised up).
A year into our [actual] relationship he headed north to attend Boston College Law School. As with most Southerner’s, family has always been important to Drew. His dad is a lifelong railroad man – who worked his way up the chain of command. And his mom (who is, no exaggeration, the sweetest person in the entire world), got her College and Master’s degrees while raising two sons AND holding down a teaching job. Hard work and follow through come naturally to Drew, and he’s always wanted nothing more than to make them proud. Which, he will tell you, is part of the reason he went to law school. He could have chosen to go into some kind of big money, corporate law but he decided that he wanted to be a public defender — the exact opposite of big money, corporate law. I think that says a lot about the kind of man Drew is. Or, at least, it said a lot to me. Now that I think about it, Drew’s life has kinda played out like a Lynyrd Skynryd song….he’s a “heart on his sleeve-fight, for what you believe in, proud son of a working class Southern family, with a tobacco chewing Mamaw that just LOVES HIM.”
During his last year of law school, we got engaged, he accepted a job at the Miami Dade County Public Defender’s office, and back in Sunbright his brother was arrested for murder. In a matter of months our lives changed very drastically. We moved to Miami, as newlyweds, and Drew began the very demanding job as a Juvenile Public Defender. He cared so much about his clients – who, I will emphasize, were KIDS. He believed the system had failed them, that society had failed them, and that Florida was actively failing them. He had over 100 cases at any given time, and he put everything he had into all of them. It was hard on him, especially with the added worry about his brother and family back home. It was hard for him not to be there with them, and the irony of him being a criminal attorney and feeling helpless for his own family was certainly not lost on him. During that time in Miami, he started watching a lot of stand-up specials and was constantly quoting his favorite bits for me. Then he started writing his own jokes, and doing them for me in the living room. I saw that he clearly had an interest in this, and thought it would be good for him to have some kind of brief respite from all the stressful shit going on in his life, so I signed him up for a stand up comedy contest. Sometimes we have to give people a little nudge….or give ’em a swift kick in the ass. He ended up getting second place in that contest and, just like that, it became more than a pipe dream.
Drew possesses all the qualities I love in Southerners – he’s stubborn, hard working, generous, and completely honest. In fact, he’s the most honest person I’ve ever met in my entire life. I really don’t say this lightly. I’ve never once had to wonder what he was thinking – he’ll tell you, trust me. And while it’s hard to hear the truth sometimes, it’s pretty awesome to have someone in your life who will always tell you. I’d even go as far to say that Drew’s biggest fault is that he HAS to be honest, which has gotten him into trouble sometimes. Seriously, y’all, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said, “Drew, do not go tell that person (insert unnecessary truth telling here).” But he’ll always do it…even if it’s a cop….actually, especially if it’s a cop. He’s an extremely loyal friend who will simultaneously tell you to get your shit together and then turn right around and defend your honor to the death. He’s also super competitive and never does anything half assed…..which can be seen in this picture from our wedding where he annihilated my face with cake.
I feel really fortunate to have a partner like Drew. His honesty, drive, passion, loyalty, and courage for his family, friends, and career inspire me every day. But also, he’s helped me re-discover my connection to my heritage. When we first met, as that little country bumpkin freshman in college, I was bitter and ashamed of where I came from. I felt like I had to reject and deny who I was and where I came from in order to ‘make something’ of myself. “You can’t talk with that accent to be successful”, “People will think you’re dumb”, and other lies I told myself. But he has been a big part of my journey in falling back in love with my Southernness, in understanding that I am who I am BECAUSE of where I come from, and learning how to not give a single fuck about what anyone else thinks. Drew has never been ashamed of where he came from. In fact, he’s always wanted to elevate it, and do right by it. I’ve been so proud as I’ve watched him apply the same relentless work ethic that helped him pass three bar exams, into his comedy career. He studies the craft of comedy like it’s a mathematical equation, while at the same time making it all very personal and very true to himself. I’ve watched Drew go through some really difficult times, but he never quits. I’m so excited that he’s out here (along with Trae & Corey) representing us Southern folks who have at some point felt unrepresented and ostracized for thinking a slightly different way. In my mind, there’s no better man for the job…cuz let me tell y’all….Drew Morgan truly, honestly, genuinely has a heart of Southern gold.
Trae is 3 years older than me – that’s 3 years, 1 month and 2 days to be exact. He’s my brother and absolutely my favorite person in the world. We’ve always been exceptionally close, so I am happy to try and tell everyone a little bit about where we come from and why Trae is such an amazing person.
Words cannot express how proud I am of not only his accomplishments (and here are many) but who Trae is as a human. It’s been really emotional seeing the affect Trae has on so many like-minded people who probably share a similar background to us. I know that his voice speaks for so many others who feel they can not speak or haven’t found the right words to say how they feel. It takes a lot of courage to be different and to defend the rights and perceptions of others so publicly. He’s ALWAYS had my back, and I’ve had his. I guess to get started we can go back to the beginning.
Weirdly, I can remember being a toddler. I remember lookin to Trae to come play with me because he was my favorite from day one. I would holler at him from the play pen and beg him to come take me out. I couldn’t say “Trae” so I’d cry, “Tae, Tae!” He was fun to be around – when he was paying attention.
When we were a bit older, Trae LOVED nintendo. He was either playing video games or in his room readin and when he was in the zone on a video game he was so deep in it that he’d ignore me. I remember one time, he wasn’t payin’ attention so I ran up behind him and bit a chunk outta his shoulder. He’d torture me too… one time when I was still potty training (seriously my memory is wild), Trae wouldn’t let me into the bathroom and I pissed myself. I was madder than hell and still might be, a little bit. For as much of a little asshole Trae could be, I loved him like no other.
Some of my earliest memories of Trae are of him teaching himself to read. In Celina, TN you don’t really learn how to read until 1st or 2nd grade, so in his first year of school Trae was mistaken for being a smart ass. On the first day of school, Trae’s teacher said she was going to read the class rules and Trae promptly told her he had already read em. She sarcastically told him to “read em out loud then” and let’s just say that ain’t the first time someone was gonna do some learning bout Trae.
He also taught me how to read and spell, much in the same way he taught himself. That kid literally read the encyclopedia. Seriously. I mean, he also read books about dinosaurs and stuff but they weren’t just kids picture books, they were facts and history about dinosaurs. I think the first thing he ever wanted to be was an archeologist. One of the first words I can remember Trae teaching me to spell is encyclopedia, because he would make up little songs to help me learn the words. Trae would sing the letters in a melody and it stuck. I don’t know how he knew to do that but it worked and we had a lot of fun as kids. We were always make up games and songs together. As adults, Trae and I are both creative and artistic, just in different ways but it’s been like that since we were babies.
It was obvious since Trae was little that he was a special kind of intelligent. He chose not to skip any grades because he didn’t want to leave his friends. I swear, every year 1st day of school i got ask the same question by my teacher who was always one of his teachers in the past. It always happened during roll call “Paige Cr…Crowder? (grinnin all big). Now are you as smart as your brother??” “Not. At. All.” I would reply. People ALWAYS said he was gonna be famous, we just didn’t know how.
Trae gets agitated pretty easy, but he dont get like MAD hardley ever.
My friends and I were getting roughed up by some boys at school when I was in 8th grade. Trae caught me rifling through his room after school because I was lookin for a paperweight or something that wasn’t like a real weapon but I could fight back with if I needed to. When he asked what the hell I was doing tearing through his things, I told him what was happening. Trae called up Skybone who I kid you not was probably 6’5” and 350 lbs. and told him what was goin on because they had been making racists comments and Skybone’s younger sister was in my grade. Celina, the way it was, is that if you were a boy and not super redneck, you’re basically considered a “wigger”. Trae didnt wear boots and “nuthuggers”, he prefered Lugz and a jersey.
Trae showed up the next day at my school. He was supposed to just talk to the teachers about me getting bullied, but he walked in and saw me crying after getting shoved around by a boy who said “tell your pussy ass faggot brother we ain’t scared of him!”.
And that’s when it all happened… just like in a movie. I remember my friend said “Trae’s here…” and the hallway parted. Trae, who was a foot taller than the rest of us in middle school, came rushing at the kid who was pushing me around. He tackled him to the ground and threatened him, screaming in his face, “don’t you ever mess with my sister again, or I will MESS YOU UP!” As he was escorted down the hall, I remember on the way out it was completely silent and the little sister of Trae’s black friend gave him a fist bump. Seriously.
See, Trae didn’t really beat on that bully because he was so much smaller and younger than him. Even when defending me, he knew what was fair. And in turn, Trae didn’t even get in trouble because he was so beloved in school for being a good guy and a smart kid.
I’ve actually gotten into a few fist fights over my brother when we were little. When I was a kid I got ganged up on because they wouldn’t let Trae play hide and seek with us, and I wasn’t havin that. Trae watched them pile on top of me and when I asked him “what do I do, Trae?!” he told me to use my fists and coached me though fighting for myself. So I did and sent em all home crying. Again, he wouldn’t beat up on little kids but he showed me how to defend myself.
It probably sounds like a lot of fighting but it was mostly fun. And a lot of rap music. Every morning I woke up at 7:15 to barking from Trae’s alarm clock which he had set to play DMX. We both love rap music and Trae kills it hard at karaoke. He’s one of the most fun people I know and he loves to party. In college he graduated with a 4.0 but pretty much left an impression on everyone as the hardest partying genius and anyone ever knew.
The first time I saw him do stand up was in college sororitys talent show (Mr. Anchorsplash pageant). It was the very first time he ever held a mic and went on some sort of stage. He did it a little bit and people begged for more – he was crowned Mr. Anchorsplash. Later when he started doing real shows at open mics (what he considers his real first time), it was like with pretty much everything else. Trae was seriously good at it. No disrespect, but it blew my mind because everyone else was usin’ notes and Trae was just up there making us laugh. It was obvious he was going to be great at it. He was just so natural up there – everyone said that.
My favorite thing about Trae is how much he reminds me of our daddy. My daddy was the sweetest, most chill, awesome person and Trae is exactly like that. Well, Trae is more business-man assholish than daddy but he’s always been like that. He would save all his birthday money and when we borrowed it, he would charge interest. What kid even knows what interest is? Our daddy showed us absolutely unconditional love – literally anything else in his life didn’t matter as much as me and Trae. When we were together, we were happy. Trae is just like that. And as he gets older he looks just like him and it makes me cry, because I love them both so much.
What most people probably don’t realize is what a good job Trae does of balancing work and family. He excels in everything and is able to take on a bunch of stuff and be awesome at it. Everything he does, he’s so damn great at it. I actually think it’s the stress and bullshit that drives him to be where’s he’s at in life. His kids are his world, just like we were to our daddy. Trae is literally the best dad. I mean, he could be a little stricter but he loves those boys and his family like no other.
As much as it makes me proud to see all the amazing comments, reading bad stuff that people say online in response to his videos is hard for me. It SERIOUSLY gets my red up. If those people really knew how we grew up, no one, not a single person would truly be able to criticize him. I see comments where people from our home town say things like they will pray for Trae’s boys, as in insult, and it breaks my heart.
The first night of the wellRED kick off show in Knoxville I literally couldn’t talk. I honestly could not even say how proud I was because it was genuinely beyond words. If there is any way to express how proud I am of who Trae is, it’s this: he’s everything – family man, business man, tremendously talented and so smart. Trae is influencing change and that’s probably his greatest accomplishment so far. #rolemodel seriously.
I am so proud of Drew and Corey too. Even if these boys are not changing views yet – people are not as comfortable openly openly assholes. They are starting to know the shit they do and say isn’t cool. I know their book will have influence on making people realize they how closed minded they have been, and at the very least it will bring awareness. That’s a way better world for Trae’s boys to grow up in, I think.
I love you, Trae. Im your biggest fan.
The Boys’ Manager – Nat
Boys: I think you already know that I absolutely think the world of you. Working with you has changed my life and given it so much more purpose. Your exceptional work ethic, true talent, and personal triumphs drive me every day. Thank you for all that you’ve given me and the rest of your fans.
Corey: you really are the CHO (chief hittin’ officer). I am completely obsessed with you and have been since day one despite making you send me tapes and audio long after I was 100% sure I wanted to work with you. Lord knows I love a good dick joke but you are so much more than that. You are sensitive, thoughtful, so smart and hilarious even when I want you to shut up. I wish I could say it’s impossible to never be mad at you, even when you push ALL the buttons, but it’s pretty damn close. Your positive attitude, non-stop hittin’ and light spirit lift us up all the time. You’ve been through so much personal loss in these past few months and I have watched you persevere through all of it with tremendous strength and incredible humor. I know what it takes to get good as a comic in a small market and you’ve done it since the age of 16. As we embark on this national tour together, I hope you will be reminded of the countless times you drove 8 hours to do 10 minutes at an open mic in front of 6 people. You’re a true comic. You make me laugh even in the darkest of days and you make me grateful to be doing what Im doing. I love you and your gigantic bee head.
Drew: Your drive and ability to handle so much responsibility are a constant and necessary reminder for me to be analytical and fastidious in my work – except that time I misspelled y’all on twitter. Sorry. I have the utmost respect for your passion, talent and love of the process. You’ve sacrificed so much to pursue this dream and have done it the right way. You impress me constantly. You frequently challenge my perceptions and in a lot of ways you terrify me. I used to think it was your intelligence that sometimes makes me feel unworthy of working with you (though that’s probably just my shitty childhood/self-esteem), but it’s that you have garnered my utmost respect and I am your biggest fan. You’ve been a champion for doing the right thing as we have gone through this insane process of writing a book in less than six weeks. Your dedication to honest comedy and storytelling is going to leave a great impression on many people, and I’m sure at least a few kids will hear you and find the courage to pursue their dreams no matter how wild they seem. There’s endless stage humping in your future if I have anything to say about it. Love you so much.
Trae: the first time I saw you, I was sitting at the bar with a good friend – another manager who had been in this business for a lot longer than me. We both remarked that you were something special and I promptly told him to fuck all the way off as we went to meet you in the green room. Do you remember that he tried to “get you” with sports-talk? That seriously got my red up before I even knew what getting my red up meant. You inspired me to travel and see comedians in smaller markets because you were so clearly talented and unique. You introduced me to Corey and Drew online and very quickly I realized that I had found “it” – the kind of comics who were the reason I had quit managing a law firm to manage comedians. You and I now share the same anniversary of quitting our jobs and only the space fairy knows that ain’t no coincidence. While we come from opposite worlds, I was immediately drawn to your obvious talent, dedication to honesty and truly open mind. I know that is what everyone else sees too and that’s exactly what it takes to open hearts. G-d damn, that’s cheesy but Imma leave it in, because it’s true. Also, I will attest to how much you love rap, as we were once together in Huntsville with a bunch of rappers and I’ve never had more fun or seen anything funnier than you gettin’ down. You blow me away with your seemingly endless abilities and irrefutable strength of character. You have made clear the importance of prioritizing time for your family amidst all the opportunities and that is perhaps my favorite quality about you. Thank you for your hard work, uncompromising willingness to stand up for others, and humility (have you seen him? -Corey). I’ve now cried onto the new macbook that you have afforded me and this post is going up after midnight. Dammit. Love you a lot.
I am beyond proud of all of you. Also, let us always remember… C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill, y’all.