Tracy Morgan’s comedic style forces us to examine a tough question: Is this guy even from the same planet as us? The highly condensed ball of unstable comic energy has proved his talents as the outlandish Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock and as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Now that 30 Rock has wrapped, he’s refocusing on his standup career, which is heavily influenced by his upbringing in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. 

 

What should fans of 30 Rock expect from your standup show?
I’m talking about where I come from. I come from the ghetto. Poverty. And there in poverty, we don’t have money, all we have is each other. Poor people, we use sex as a sedative. So growing up that’s all I knew. We never discussed politics; sex was always on the menu.

When did you realize you wanted to be a comedian?
My dad was really funny. My dad was a comedian, and he was Richard Pryor funny in the projects. I seen him make people laugh, and I said I want to do that.

Where does your wild unpredictability come from?
A great artist doesn’t keep adding clay, he strips away until he gets to the bare essentials. So I’m on a journey of knowledge, of self, too. I’m peeling back the layers with them up there, no matter how painful it might be.

What aspects of standup do you prefer over scripted TV?
A standup and a scripted show is just two different muscles. I love both of them. I’m contemporary wit. I don’t feel I’m sardonic. I cut the monster, but I don’t cut too deep. I cut just enough for us to look in and laugh. If I cut too deep, I’ll kill the monster, and we need the monster.

Why do we need “the monster”?
Because. There’s people in this world doing a lot of heinous, crazy, evil stuff, and all I want to do is make people laugh. Okay, I’m talking about X-rated subjects. Don’t be mad at me, I didn’t create that. I see myself as a Tony Montana of comedy. You need me. 

 


Tracy Morgan
Neptune Theatre, June 14, stgpresents.org

 

Published: June 2013