The Unbreakable Tracy Morgan

The comedian discusses his tragic accident, new sitcom, and what motivates him.

Few things have come easy to Tracy Morgan. Growing up with a terminally ill father, the actor and comedian worked hard to develop a career that was nearly cut short by a catastrophic car accident. Healed and fiercer than ever, the funnyman is back on his feet and ready to take the region by storm during an October 13 performance at Connecticut’s Ridgefield Playhouse.

For Morgan, comedy has always been a family business. “My father was a very funny man, and, like any kid, I wanted to be like my father,” explains Morgan. “He was a comedian during the Vietnam War; that was the legacy he left that I wanted to continue.”

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Morgan certainly made good on this mission, appearing as a Saturday Night Live cast member from 1996 to 2003 and as a leading character on Tina Fey’s award-winning sitcom, 30 Rock. Morgan has also graced the silver screen, starring in the Kevin Smith buddy movie Cop Out and The Other Guys.

However, a tragic 2014 car accident that took the life of Morgan’s friend and former Westchester resident James McNair almost claimed the comic, as well. Following intense rehabilitation, Morgan rocketed back into the spotlight, with a 2015 hosting gig on SNL, as well as a brand-new Netflix special, Staying Alive. “You can’t stay grieving,” says Morgan.

The comedian is also making major waves with his upcoming role as actor-producer for the new TBS sitcom The Last O.G., which was created in part by Get Out director Jordan Peele. “When I was recovering, I was watching a lot of Key and Peele,” says Morgan. “And when I felt better, I told my agent I wanted to meet [Peele] and be a part of his magic. We have the same sense of humor, the same comedy sense. We met one day in California, and I told him about an idea I had; he really gravitated to it, and we came up with this new idea.”

The show’s concept is one close to Morgan’s heart. “It is about a guy who comes out of 15 years in prison, and his world has changed,” says Morgan of his character, Tray, in The Last O.G. “I see that kind of thing every day where I come from. It is the whole fish-out-of-water deal.”

As for what drives his desire to succeed, Morgan insists that his comedy begins and ends with his family. “My daughter, my kids, my wife — they inspire me. I know I have to do my thing every day, because when I am not on point all day, every day, guess who it affects? My family.”

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Morgan, who notes that pain from the accident has largely subsided, is quick to insist that his future work will surpass all his prior endeavors. “My best pieces haven’t come yet,” he says. “I am only 48. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I just hope that whatever I do, people enjoy it.”

Other Top Acts Not to Miss…

photo by Paul Mobley

Andrew Dice Clay

Get ready — the Diceman cometh.  The first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row, Andrew Dice Clay has been a force to be reckoned with for nearly 40 years. With a second act that includes such acclaimed films as Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and the upcoming Bradley Cooper vehicle A Star Is Born, Clay has proved himself to be a truly multidimensional performer. No surprise audiences are ready to roll on the Diceman’s upcoming appearance.
Sept 13, Paramount Hudson Valley, Peekskill

Tom Segura

While podcast star Tom Segura may not look familiar, his voice will likely ring a few bells. Segura regularly makes radio appearances on The Ron and Fez Show and The Bob and Tom Show, not to mention Comedy Central and BET standup programs. But he is perhaps best known for his award-winning podcast, Your Mom’s House, which he created and hosts with his wife, Christina Pazsitsky. Now is your chance to put a face to the voice. Nov 9, The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester

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Lewis Black

The lovingly loud Daily Show alum is bringing his brash routine to the region during his Rant, White, and Blue tour. With two HBO standup specials and a dozen comedy albums under his belt, Black is as celebrated for his standup as he is for his work on films like Inside Out and Accepted. Local audiences can get an earful of the award-winning wit when he hits Stamford this fall.  Oct 26, Palace Theatre, Stamford

Vic DiBitetto

A seemingly constant presence on the New York comedy circuit, DiBitetto knows a thing or two about cracking wise. His YouTube video Bread and Milk has been viewed more than 13 million times, and he even took home the $10,000 grand prize on an episode of America’s Funniest People. Catch the comic in the flesh this fall when he descends upon the region with his locally sourced laughs. Nov 10, The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield


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