10 Comics to Watch

Who: Murphy, 24, started doing standup during her freshman year at Loyola Marymount — and things started moving quickly for her. She braved open mics. She got laughs easily. She ventured to New York to intern for Conan O’Brian. ICM signed her.

As for her style, picture comedian Steven Wright, the master of ironic, low-key delivery, only with hair — gobs of curly red hair. Onstage, Murphy keeps her demeanor beyond blase, often telling audiences that her mom beat her with her trophies when she was a child — that’s how she learned irony. She looks down, looks up — her big red curls clash with her aloofness — and launches into the next joke.

She was still in college when “Mr. Show” writers Scott Auckerman and B.J. Porter hired her to draft a pilot, “The Offensive Show,” based on her act.

The pilot didn’t get picked up, but Murphy landed a writing job on Comedy Central’s “Crank Yankers” upon graduation.

The show’s exec producer, Jimmy Kimmel, soon asked her to write for his ABC latenight show. Murphy became the only female writer on the team. She felt at home there. Kimmel invited her to perform live standup on several episodes.

“Morgan’s fresh,” says Bobcat Goldthwait, who directed her in his new movie, “Stay.” “She’s a female comic, but she’s not up there talking about how attractive or unattractive she is, or man-bashing. You could change the gender of her material and it would still apply.”

“Morgan is one of the funniest and most unique comics I know,” Kimmel adds. “It’s hard to believe she’s only 12 years old.”

What’s going on: Murphy left “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in March, after two seasons, to focus on her own projects. She’ll pitch a pilot this summer. Meanwhile, she’s doing punch-up work for DreamWorks Animation, adding some jokes to upcoming Aardman-produced feature “Flushed Away.” And she’ll attend the Montreal Comedy Festival as a New Face 2006. Murphy is repped out of CAA and managed by Peter Safran.

Take: “I think it’s a time when men and women are on a very similar playing field, as far as if you’re funny, you’re funny. I think there was a time when it was like, ‘Come on, we need more women in here.’ Now, it’s like, ‘We need more funny people in here.’ “

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