How Tracy Morgan Finds Comedy In Tragedy

Fist Fight - Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and Charlie Day

Since Tracy Morgan’s tragic automobile accident back in June of 2014, he has since recovered and is funnier than ever. Morgan hits the silver screen playing a high school football couch in the upcoming comedy, Fist Fight.

Screen Rant caught up with the actor at the film’s L.A. press Day to talk openly about life since his accident, upcoming projects, and how he’s been turning tragedy into comedy since day one.

Welcome back, it's good to have you back Tracy.

Tracy Morgan: Thank you.

Are you still finishing your tour?

Tracy Morgan: We're all done; the special will be on Netflix May 16th. It's called, Staying Alive. The tour was called Picking Up the Pieces because after the accident that’s what I had to do with my life day by day. Right Lou? I used to talk to Lou on the phone in the hospital. Matter of fact he's the man that called my wife when it happened and told her, “your husband’s to the hospital.” That's my publicist but beyond that, we transcended that many years ago. That's my brother. Took care of my family when I was on my back. (Chokes up)

I know. I'm sorry about that. That means he's got a lot of love for you that's good.

Tracy Morgan: Can you hand me a tissue? He knows how I feel about him. We were picking up the pieces after something like that, you have to. We named the comedy special Staying Alive and it's funny. You got to see the opening it's basically, remember Saturday Night Fever? When he’s walking on the street? That's me! Same clothes, same shoes, everything. Same street, same pieces shot, everything. We had the paint cans. I had a Wal-Mart bag. And I’m going to the first store and I buy fur and I pull a whole bunch of money out of the Wal-Mart bag. Now my people are nervous about it.

Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell in Fist Fight

Right, I was just thinking that.

Tracy Morgan: But I didn't hit Wal-Mart, they hit me. But you don't have to do nothing wrong to get sued all you have to do is have deep pockets. I said I wish they would, I wish they would. You mean to tell me you hit him after doing a show for 3500 people, killed his friend, and then you turn around and sue him? Are you for real? Because everything that ever happened bad to me in my life, my mother my father splitting up when I was six, my brother being born with cerebral palsy at 14 months, my dad dying of AIDS, all of that I turned funny. So this is supposed to happen and I'm not supposed to say s**t?! I'm not supposed to turn this funny, the biggest thing that ever happened in my fucking life and I'm supposed to sit on it like my fans are stupid? Like my fans are f***ing stupid. My fans are not stupid. Everybody in the f***ing world know I got hit by that truck and I'm not supposed to turn it funny? Two biggest car crashes in history were mine and Princess Diana's. She was a princess and they were Wal-Mart. The second biggest corporation in the universe. Under Exxon Mobil. And I'm not supposed to say s**t?

But you've been going through tragedy since the beginning.

Tracy Morgan: Since day one, since day one.

That's what I'm saying so before comedy when you didn't have the stage -

Tracy Morgan: I had my sense of humor to help me survive it. ALL. That's the gift god gave me. To survive my tragedies, was my sense of humor. Because if you don't laugh about it you're going to cry about it. And I'm just done crying. So I turned it funny.

For your fans who look up to you and go, "okay I'm going through the same thing..."

Tracy Morgan: Turn it funny! Turn it funny! Find a way, make it funny. Going through the same f***ing thing, everybody got childhood tribulations, even your pretty ass. You go through s**t, no struggle no progress.


Tracy Morgan: You struggle. We all do. It starts with life, do you know what childbirth is? It's a struggle, right? (Points) She got a baby four months old; it's all a struggle. This is where the struggle starts; the struggle starts at the club. When I see you. Then I got a struggle to get your ass to the f***ing bar. Then I got a struggle to take these drinks. Then I got a struggle to get you home, then I got to struggle to get some on the way to the house. Then I got a struggle to get the pants and them panties off. Then I got a struggle to put it in. While I'm humping all that struggle. Then when I, “AHHH!!” That's a struggle when it comes out. Then the sperm has to struggle to the egg then the sperm has a struggle to get in the f***ing egg. Then the egg as a struggle to develop. Then the egg has a struggle coming down the tube. Then when the doctors tell you to push that's a struggle. "Push," "AHhH.!" That's all struggle. Then your baby has to struggle to come out. Then when the baby comes out the struggle has just begun.

Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan in Fist Fight

Good perspective, I never even thought about that.

Tracy Morgan: Now the struggle has just f***ing begun.

How is your baby girl speaking of?

Tracy Morgan: She's growing, she's learning, she's incredible she's a sponge she's like every other baby on this planet. Just growing.

Congratulations on your star by the way!

Tracy Morgan: Thank you darlin', thank you.

What's that going to be like?

Tracy Morgan: That day is going to be awesome!

When is that coming?

Tracy Morgan: Well that's my publicist right there and we spoke about it, and we're probably going to do it the premiere of my TV show.

The one with Jordan Peele?

Tracy Morgan: Yeah. The week before, or right around there.

What can you tell me about that [the show] with Jordan Peele?

Tracy Morgan: Oh it's incredible.

I'm so excited about that.

Tracy: It's a series. It's going to be grounded, it's going to be funny, it's going to be real. And it's going to be on TBS. And part of my healing process after I came out the hospital was watching Key and Peele. Yeah watching that every day all day.

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock SNL 40

Because it’s funny but they also get dark!

Tracy Morgan: Then one day I called my agent Smooth, and I said I want to be a part of that it's funny. And Smooth said I know him. So then about two weeks later we came out here, and I sat down with him at the Four Seasons on Doheney. And I met him. I met him. And he said, "man you don't know what you are to me. I watched you at Uptown Comedy Club doing biscuit and all of that." So from that moment, I told him what I had in mind as far as a series and he took it and he ran with it. And we went back-and-forth with ideas and we still do that today. I don't call him during the day or during the evening I call him at 3 o'clock in the f***ing morning. I do it on purpose. What time do you think Bruce Lee called Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to tell him about the Game of Death? Called him at three in the morning! I'm doing a flick, doing a karate flick. Kareem said yo motherf***er it's three in the morning, I'm in! And that was it! I'm in!  Then we had the Game of Death. That's when we call friends at three or two in the morning because that's when the juices are flowing, the best creativity.

And it's nice that you both respect each other in that sense.

Tracy Morgan: Yeah but I had to find him. Do you know what my Jewish friend told me one day? All the best diamonds are at the back of the cave you got to keep digging. When your man found you he found a diamond. He was digging for a long time. That's the language of love. Over here is courtship. Where you and him were talking to each other every day all day you thinking about him he's thinking about you you guys are gratifying each other's needs down here. Can you move up here which is intimacy. Ya'll sharing each other's darkest secrets that nobody else in the world knows, protecting each other's vulnerabilities. Up here protecting you got to protect those secrets. Then you come down here where it's the most important part.

Make repair. When you and him argue he get on your nerves oh he will frustrate you and he will hurt you and you will frustrate him and he will hurt him fix it. Fix it. Because if you look at those couples have been married 4050 years they get a long history of making repair. The language of love.

I Feel like you don't sleep and you don't stop thinking is that true?

Tracy Morgan: I don't.

I feel like you just go, go, always.

Tracy: I'm always the last to go to sleep I watch over my family when everybody sleeping bedded down for the night. Then I'll go to sleep. And sometimes my wife awake up and watch me sleep. Because she almost lost me. And that's the way we are in our household. You always have the four deadly horseman that will destroy a relationship. Criticism complaint blame and condemnation. The man she was with before she met you motherf***er you were there you had nothing to do with it if she would've met you before she met them she would've never met them and then women that he was with? Before I met you you had nothing to do that you weren't there. If you would've met you before he would've met them he would've never met them. So that's what it is you can't condemn.

Tracy Morgan in Top Five

"Answers phone"

Hangs up

Tracy Morgan: Like to be engaging. It's all personality she said I feel you don't sleep you just think. Ghandi did the same thing. Ghandi did the same thing. Mandela did the same thing Martin Luther King did the same thing Malcolm X the same thing all great man in the world they think. And then I think some more.

Does that drive you nuts? Do you get anxiety about that? I struggle with that.

Tracy Morgan: No, no. Stop with the anxiety. You know what you're forgetting to do?

Be present?

Tracy Morgan: No.


Tracy Morgan: Breathe. You're holding your breath waiting for the f***ing world to change for you. Breathe. Your anxiety you're gonna have a touch of it because that's nature.

It's fear based.

Tracy Morgan: Well it's got to stop. What are you scared of? That's only because your faith is weak. You need to go in your bathroom at night when it's just you, and talk to him. Forgive me. Too much TV, Ricky too much of the Kool-Aid. Because when you got him in your life you have no fears. Your faith is strong you got to keep your faith in him and out and Trump or Hillary or Obama. He's the king. When your room is ready your room is ready take it from me I know. That's where it's coming from you at the stop whatever you're doing in your life and point where the f**k is this misery and anxiety coming from? Oh this is the source.

It's tricky; it takes a long time to figure out for some.

Tracy Morgan: No it don't. You just got it.

You vibrate higher.

Tracy Morgan: Well then you just have to transcend.

Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan in Fist Fight

I know. It's hard, Tracy.

Tracy Morgan: No it's not. That's what's wrong. You keep saying it's hard. Get that s**t out of your vocabulary because it ain't. I just gave it to you. Breathe. That's where anxiety comes from you hold your breath waiting for the f***ing world to change. No rain. You got to pray. Change your come about through voting they come about through prayer. He hear you. Keep on rockin. He hear you. But I got to be all right at some point. What the f**k are you scared for? Think about it not here when you're alone and your quiet time you have to stop you're too noisy. Too much noise got to relax man. Your man should be there telling you. Gotta relax.

Meditate. You have to relax. You didn't get hit by no f***ing Wal-Mart truck. What are you upset about what are you worried about your young? I'm 48 years old. You were young. You wait to you start your family. It's going to be brilliant you could be a great mom incredible mom you're gonna love your f***ing daughter and son so much you have no time for the bulls**t and you can't give them that fear. What do you call that, inflictions. Who passed that infliction down to you? About it you don't have to answer now somebody pass that infliction because you look brave like a motherf***er. So if you don't even go with you. Because that's out of character. You're a go-getter aint nothing wrong with that. You ain't hurting nobody. You ain't out here selling drugs in front of the school yard so what's wrong? But you're a good person. You're a good person. You're not a bad person. Get outta here. You are a bad person, I would let you interview me.

(Laughs) I just like hearing you talk I appreciate it thank you so much Tracy.

Tracy Morgan: You're a good person man.

I appreciate it.

Tracy Morgan: Hey, you're going to be fine.

Thank you. Hey! Are you doing that Richard Pryer biopic or is that not happening?

Tracy Morgan: I want to do it! I want to do it.

Alright, I’ll look for you on TBS then.

Tracy Morgan: Yes ma'am I'll see you later.

NEXT: Charlie Day Interview For Fist Fight

Key Release Dates
  • Fist Fight (2017) release date: Feb 17, 2017
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