“Â My comedy can be engaging;Â my comedy can beÂ confrontational sometimes.Â Youâ€™re gonna loseÂ some people. Everybody donâ€™t eat Capâ€™n Crunch.”Â
The usual identifying facts about Tracy Morgan â€” a Saturday Night Live alum and 30 Rock star â€” are important to mention, but sound too much like boxes to put him in. Comedic energy can be funneled into roles and moments, but the spillover in between is sprawled out and unconfined, the way humor should be. Thereâ€™s Morganâ€™s Twitter account, which is less of a feed and more of a purge, of traditions (â€œOn Fridays we eat spaghetti and fish w/ lots of hot sauce!â€); celebrity encounters (â€œThis is my cousin rod Stewartâ€); and declarations (â€œHoney Boo Boo is not my daughter dammit!â€). On a day when you can spare a few YouTube minutes, watch him on Fallon, Stewart or Stern, where he gives some of his best performances. Thereâ€™s a magnetic field around him, like walking into a crowded room and knowing instantly whose party it is.
This year, fresh off of 30 Rock, Morgan began an international stand-up tour, with a stop in New Jersey and dates still to come in New York. We got ten minutes on the phone with him, just long enough to grab a few essentials. Heâ€™s aware that his humor offends some and endears others, and maybe thatâ€™s why itâ€™s hard for him to predict what his next career moves are. Like most of us, heâ€™s gonna have to do some improv.
Coming off of 30 Rock, how has it been getting out there to do more stand-up?
TM: Iâ€™ve never stopped doing stand-up, and, you know, you never unlearn how to ride a bike. So itâ€™s like getting back on a bike.
Youâ€™re hosting the Billboard Music Awards on May 19. As an artist, how has music influenced your own work, if at all?Â
TM: My father was a musician, so Iâ€™ve been around music my whole life. You look at stand-up comedy and jazz â€” they both go hand in hand. When you have a rhythm on stage, itâ€™s the same thing as making music.
Is there anything that you would never make a joke about? Or is every topic fair game as long as you can think of something funny?
TM: You know, I havenâ€™t experienced everything in life, so what comes to me as funny, is funny. I tell it. Thatâ€™s what I do. In stand-up, nothingâ€™s taboo. You can talk about whatever you want to talk about.
Do you think that part of being a famous comedian is occasionally offending some people with your humor? Is it actually a sign that youâ€™re doing something right in comedy?Â
TM: Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s about. If you donâ€™t offend some people, youâ€™re probably not that funny. My comedy can be engaging; my comedy can be confrontational sometimes. Youâ€™re gonna lose some people. Everybody donâ€™t eat Capâ€™n Crunch. Some people like Chex. Iâ€™m not a people pleaser. I donâ€™t have a political bone in my body. I call it like I see it.
If you could bring back one comedian from the past to perform with, who would it be?
TM: Richard Pryor.
Of all the cast members from SNL and 30 Rock, who do you think you had the most comedic chemistry with?
TM: I canâ€™t pick one. I had a great time with everybody.
Youâ€™ve had pretty amazing success on television. What excites you career-wise moving forward?
TM: I gotta say, Iâ€™m just looking forward. I canâ€™t really call it right now. Everythingâ€™s happening. Iâ€™m looking forward to whateverâ€™s next.
In doing research on you, several people youâ€™ve worked with have said that youâ€™re the kind of talent who could make anything sound funny. Do you think thatâ€™s true?Â
TM: I donâ€™t know. Thatâ€™s a matter of opinion. Some people think that some of the things I say are vulgar and this and that. But Iâ€™m honored and flattered that someone said that about me.
Back to the tour for a second. What can people in the Jersey and New York area expect?
TM: Just a bunch of funny. Me personally, I donâ€™t expect anything. I accept and I appreciate. I wanna tell my story in a funny way. I hope that people see me with their hearts and not their minds. And I hope people can enjoy the things that Iâ€™ve experienced.
10 Minutes 14 Seconds with Tracy Morgan- Interview with Hoboken Digest