|Last appearance||"Last Lunch"|
|Created by||Tina Fey|
|Portrayed by||Tracy Morgan
Elijah Cook (as a child)
Donald Glover in flashbacks ("Live from Studio 6H")
|Occupation||Actor and comedian|
Donald (unofficially adopted)
|Relatives||Thomas Jefferson (ancestor)|
Ogbert "Tracy" Jordan, is a fictional character in the American television series 30 Rock, played by the actor Tracy Morgan. The character is a movie star whose personality traits and life events are taken from Morgan's own life. In the episode "Grandmentor", Jordan refers to himself as "Tracy Morgan". Entertainment Weekly named him in 2010 the 55th Greatest Character of the Last 20 Years.
Jordan has a reputation for unpredictable behaviour. In the pilot episode, another protagonist, Jack Donaghy forces character Liz Lemon to hire Jordan as the new star of her sketch comedy program The Girlie Show. To the chagrin of Liz, Jack renames the show TGS with Tracy Jordan in the show's second episode.
Jordan is a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings. Jordan was born in Yankee Stadium in 1973 but the exact date is unknown as he has no birth certificate. He was given the honorary birthday of February 24, shared with TGS Co-star Jenna Maroney in the March 5, 2009 episode "Goodbye, My Friend". He grew up in a tough neighborhood in The Bronx, though many of his claims about it sound fictitious. As a child, Jordan was a cast member on the Nickelodeon show Ray Ray's Mystery Garage. He also claims to have attended middle school in an Exxon station. He lived with his single mother in 1979, dropped out of Frank Lucas High School over his inability to dissect a frog, and was discovered after doing stand-up at the Apollo in 1984. Jordan did a Christmas album in 1998 and is a big fan of Pat Benatar. In addition to his acting career, he writes a column in Ebony Magazine called "Musings". He owns several houses but got into debt because he didn't make the payments on them.
Jordan is a dim-witted, self-centered prima donna. For instance, in "Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning" (episode number 5x12, airdate: 20 March 2011), Tracy says, "Perfection is my middle name. 'Unclaimed Perfection Baby Boy'." He aspires to own an island. Jordan is treated for a mental health disorder by Dr. Leo Spaceman, a doctor of questionable integrity and qualification, who describes Tracy's problems as "erratic tendencies and delusions brought on by excessive notoriety and certainly not helped by my (Spaceman's) highly experimental treatments." He is unable to do the same thing twice, making his employ as an actor difficult. Jordan is also a conspiracy theorist who believes, for instance, in shadow organizations or vampires. Despite all this, the character is supposed to be generally well-meaning and more intelligent than he appears. He is a stickler for grammar, in an early episode he pointed out to Twofer that "Superman does good, you're doing well," and often surprises his co-workers with his vocabulary. He is able to remember details of American history and is able to answer trivia questions correctly. He also has a sensitivity to the mistreatment of African Americans. After learning of his relation to Thomas Jefferson, Tracy develops an interest in American Revolutionary history. In "Corporate Crush", while struggling to secure funding for a Jefferson biopic, he tells Liz "You're my Alexander Hamilton!" In "Winter Madness" he argues with several Freedom Trail historical reenactors in Boston for misrepresenting the racism of the Founding Fathers and the date of Crispus Attucks' death.
A 2007 episode suggests Jordan has been married to Angie for seventeen years. They like to roleplay, including 'playing rape', when he wears a ski mask. Jordan often walks around his house naked to show his oldest male child "who got the biggest ding-dong". He has two sons, named Tracy Jordan Jr. and George Foreman Jordan (played by Dante E. Clark), as well as a fake son named Donald (played by Michael Benjamin Washington), who is two years older than he is. Tracy and Angie also have a baby daughter, Virginia. Although he "parties with women to keep up his rap credentials," Jordan claims loyalty to his wife.
Tracy refers to Liz by either her last name or her full name, for example, "Too late, Liz Lemon!" Jordan treats Liz with contempt and mimics her. However, in later seasons he begins calling her "LL", following a trend of often calling characters by their initials.
With his entourage and friends
Jordan tends to loiter around the studio with his entourage of Grizz and Dot Com. Jordan considers himself a mentor to Kenneth Parcell who willingly runs errands for him and is also a member of his entourage. Kenneth often puts himself in harm's way to help Jordan. Jordan helps Kenneth with his shyness around women. Jordan is more sympathetic to Kenneth than most of the other characters are. For example, when Tracy quit TGS after learning he no longer needed the money he earned from the show, it was Jack's threat to fire Kenneth that made Tracy change his mind, returning to the show in order to keep Kenneth employed ("The Bubble"). Kenneth acted as an asexual, de facto, on-set wife to Jordan during his brief estrangement from Angie (Season 2).
Jordan and Jenna often disagree. For instance, whether it is more difficult to be a black man or a white woman in America (Believe in the Stars). However, they have some friendly moments at times and become closer, assuming they are both "special people". There is also an increasing occurrence of the two being involved in shenanigans together.
Jordan has a reputation for being uncontrollable and his habit of insulting powerful movie executives costs him roles. However, Jordan's engagements are many and varied.
Jordan is not overly interested in politics. Jack tried to recruit Jordan to join the Republican Party, but Jordan came to realize that African-Americans would never support the GOP. In 2007 Tracy's wife objects to him playing Barack Obama because, "...we support [Dennis] Kucinich." In the 2008 US Presidential Election, Jordan voted for Ralph Nader.
The character fails in an attempt to adopt Catholicism due to, as expected, intolerance of guilt. Jordan wrote a novelty song entitled "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah", which he recorded for Geffen Records. The lyrics include "Werewolf bar mitzvah, spooky, scary! Boys becoming men; men becoming wolves!" He learns some Hebrew phrases.
Despite his personality difficulties, Jordan succeeds financially. For example, he makes $300 million by creating and marketing a pornographic video game, and then invests the profits in a company that dismantles bank signs during the financial crisis.
Behind the Scenes
In Tina Fey's original pilot script for 30 Rock, Jordan was called "Lawrence Jordan".
- Adam B. Vary (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Writers: Brett Baer and Dave Finkel (2007-04-05). "Fireworks". 30 Rock. Season 1. Episode 18. NBC.
- Writers: Tina Fey and John Riggi (2007-01-18). "The Head and the Hair". 30 Rock. Season 1. Episode 11. 5:11 minutes in. NBC.
- [dead link]
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