Morgan in 2009
November 10, 1968 |
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Medium||Stand up, Television, Film|
|Genres||Musical comedy, Cringe comedy, Character comedy|
|Subject(s)||African-American culture, Race relations, Racism, Marriage, Family, Self-deprecation, Recreational drug use, Sex, Current events|
|Spouse||Sabrina Morgan (1985–2009; 3 children; divorced)|
Tracy Jamal Morgan (born November 10, 1968) is an American actor and comedian known for his eight seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and for his role of Tracy Jordan on the NBC TV series 30 Rock.
Morgan was raised in a housing project in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the second-oldest of five children of Alicia (née Warden), a homemaker, and Jimmy Morgan, a musician who returned from military duty in the Vietnam War recovering from addiction to heroin, causing him to leave the family when Morgan was six. Tracy, the target of bullies as a child, attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1985, his sophomore year, when he was 17, he learned his father had AIDS; Jimmy Morgan died November 1987, at age 39. Tracy Morgan had married his girlfriend Sabrina that year and dropped out of high school four credits short of a diploma. Already raising their first son, and living on welfare, Morgan sold crack cocaine with limited success, but began earning some money performing comedy on the streets after his best friend was murdered. Tracy said in 2009, "He would say to me, 'Yo, Tracy, man, you should be doing comedy.' A week later, he was murdered. And that for me, that was like my Vietnam. I had my survival guilt when I started to achieve success. Why I made it out and some guys didn't." Morgan embarked on a standup comedy career, successfully enough that, he said, "I finally moved to a nice community in [the Bronx neighborhood of] Riverdale from a run-down apartment next to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx...."
Morgan made his screen debut on Martin, where he played Hustle Man. The character sold various items he had from the "hood," always greeting people with his trademark "What's happ'n, chief?" and had a pet dog that he dressed as a rapper. In the 2003 Chris Rock film Head of State, Morgan appeared as a man watching television, often questioning why they are not watching Martin.
Saturday Night Live
Morgan joined the cast of comedy show Saturday Night Live in 1996, where he performed as a regular until 2003. He returned to host on March 14, 2009 and reprised his roles as Brian Fellow and Astronaut Jones. In December 2011, he also made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live's Christmas show, hosted by Jimmy Fallon.
He performed a variety of characters on the program, including:
- Brian Fellow
- Uncle Jemima
- Dominican Lou
- Bishop Don "Mack" Donald
- Astronaut Jones
- African Andy
- Benny the Bengal
- Branden Alonzo
Morgan is also credited with impressions of:
From 2006 to 2013, Morgan was a cast member of the NBC television show 30 Rock, playing the character Tracy Jordan, a caricature of himself. His work on 30 Rock has been well-received, being nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at the 2009 Emmy Awards.
Morgan had his own show, The Tracy Morgan Show, in 2003, which was canceled after one season.
Morgan appeared in a stand-up special entitled "One Mic" that was shown on Comedy Central. He also was the host of the first Spike Guys' Choice Awards, which aired on June 13, 2007. In 2003, he was on an episode of Punk'd in which his car was towed from the valet parking. He can be heard as "Spoonie Luv" on the Comedy Central program Crank Yankers and as Woof in the MTV2 Animated Series Where My Dogs At?.
Morgan acted in commercials for ESPN NFL 2K, ESPN NBA 2K, and ESPN NHL 2K, where he co-starred with Warren Sapp, Ben Wallace and Jeremy Roenick. He appeared in the movie The Longest Yard, starring Adam Sandler, as a transvestite inmate.
Morgan has hosted the VH1 Hip Hop Honors for two consecutive years and hosted the third season of Scare Tactics, the Sci Fi Channel's hidden camera show that pranks people by using their worst fears against them.
Also, on June 20, 2012, Morgan appeared on the 2012 NHL Awards show, ridiculously imitating a New York Rangers fourth liner. According to the fans, the producers decided to put him with the Rangers due to the behaviour of Head Coach John Tortorella, since Morgan shouted at the coach during his speech: Coach, I'm on the phone with my wife!
Morgan hosted the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.
On October 20, 2009, Morgan's autobiography I Am the New Black was released. The book includes stories from his life living in Tompkins Projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to becoming a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Morgan appeared on National Public Radio's Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross, at times tearing up about his former life in a New York ghetto.
Morgan claims to have a number of tattoos, including: a peace sign; a happy and sad face; a cross bearing the names of his wife and three sons; the name of a friend he played football with in high school who was murdered; the words ME, MYSELF, & I on his back; and the phrase Stove Top.
Morgan married his high school sweetheart Sabrina in 1985. They have three sons together: Tracy (b. 1986), Malcom (b. 1987), and Gitrid (b. 1991). The middle son's name has also been published as "Malcolm" and "Malcomb". Morgan filed for divorce at Bronx Supreme Court on August 7, 2009 after 23 years of marriage. Morgan credits one of his sons with having saved him from his alcoholism. Morgan said in 2009, "I'm estranged from my own mother and most of my family, and I'm not sure that's going to change much."
Morgan said in September 2011 that he and model Megan Wollover had become engaged six months earlier in San Francisco. Morgan announced in January 2013 he and Wollover are expecting their first child. On July 2, 2013, Wollover gave birth to their daughter, Maven Sonae, in New York.
In 1996, he was diagnosed with diabetes, but says he never took it seriously, refusing to take medication or change his diet. After running a 104-degree Fahrenheit fever on the set of 30 Rock, Morgan decided to finally comply with his doctor's orders. He is now very cautious when it comes to the condition. With his consent, many of Morgan's own troubles have been incorporated within episodes of 30 Rock.
On January 22, 2012, Morgan collapsed at an awards ceremony for the Sundance Film Festival. He appeared disoriented while giving a speech, and he was escorted out of the building before collapsing outside. Hospital officials stated that no drugs or alcohol were found in his system. His publicist attributed the incident to a combination of exhaustion and altitude sickness.
On December 2, 2005, Morgan was arrested in West Hollywood on impaired driving charges after police stopped him for speeding. On February 17, 2006, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of drunken driving and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, fined $390 and ordered to attend an alcohol education program.
In November 2006, Morgan was arrested for DUI after police spotted him driving erratically and was also charged with probation violation. In April 2007, Morgan entered a guilty plea where he had to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet and perform five days of community service.
On January 27, 2011, Morgan appeared on the NBA on TNT pregame coverage of the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks nationally televised live basketball game. During the appearance, commentators Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith asked Morgan to choose between Sarah Palin and Tina Fey on who was better looking (Fey portrays Palin on Saturday Night Live and is a coworker of Morgan). Morgan said Palin was "good masturbation material". The comment led TNT to apologize for his remarks on live camera.
On June 3, 2011, during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee, Morgan made offensive remarks against gay people, reportedly including that, if his son was gay, he'd better speak to him like a man or he would "pull out a knife and stab" him. Morgan apologized, saying that he had "gone too far". NBC Entertainment head Bob Greenblatt stated, "I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind, and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance... Unfortunately, Tracy's comments reflect negatively on both 30 Rock and NBC — two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations — and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated." Tina Fey, Morgan's boss both in fiction and in real life, said, "I'm glad to hear that Tracy apologized .... but the violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the LGBT community...the Tracy Morgan I know, ...is not a hateful man and [would never] hurt another person. I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket."
On June 25, 2011, during a show at Caroline's in New York City, Morgan made derogatory comments about disabled children, saying things such as, "Don't ever mess with women who have retarded kids," and referring to a woman as "a cripple." Peter Bernes, CEO of The Arc, an organization supporting people with disabilities, stated, "Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately. This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Mr. Morgan has an incredibly powerful platform from which to fix this, and if he's learned anything in the last few weeks, he can't bomb this apology."
On April 13, 2013, during an "expletive-ridden" show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, more than 50 members of the audience walked out of the sold-out event, which was deemed as "disgusting" and "truly awful".
- Emmy Awards
- 2009, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated
- Image Awards
- 2008, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated
- 2007, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated
- A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996)
- Half Baked (1998)
- How High (2001)
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
- 30 Years to Life (2001)
- Head of State (2003)
- The Longest Yard (2005)
- Are We There Yet? (2005)
- Little Man (2006)
- The Wild (2006)
- VH1's Totally Awesome (2006)
- Farce of the Penguins (2006)
- First Sunday (2008)
- Superhero Movie (2008)
- Beer for My Horses (2008)
- Scare Tactics (2008)
- G-Force (2009)
- Deep in the Valley (2009)
- Nailed (2010)
- Cop Out (2010)
- Death at a Funeral (2010)
- The Other Guys (2010)
- Rio (2011)
- Son of No One (2011)
- Chick Magnet (2011)
- Why Stop Now (2012)
- The Boxtrolls (2014)
- Rio 2 (2014)
- "Tracy Morgan Biography". tvguide.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Tracy Morgan Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Lipton, Michael A. (January 12, 2004). "Bowling 'em Over – Saturday Night Live, The Tracy Morgan Show, Tracy Morgan". People.com. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
- "Tracy Morgan On Being 'The New Black'". Fresh Air. October 22, 2009. NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114009203.
- Fretts, Bruce (November 27, 2003). "Is Tracy Morgan NBC's next breakout star?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
- Lynette Rice (June 13, 2011). "Tracy Morgan: 'I know bullying can hurt'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- "Uptown Comedy Club"Tracy Morgan Yo Mama Battle"". youtube.com. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Tracy Morgan Emmy Award Nominee". emmys.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Itzkoff, Dave (2008-10-28). "New York Times article on Tracy Morgan". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- "Tracy Morgan: Naughty Boy". publisher=maxim.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Tracy Morgan". Nndb.com. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
- Joyce Eng (August 10, 2009). "Report: Tracy Morgan Files for Divorce". TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
- "Guest: Tracy Morgan | PBS". Tavis Smiley via YouTube. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- "Tracy Morgan Is Engaged!". Us Weekly. September 18, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- Garcia, Jennifer (January 31, 2013). "Fourth Child on the Way for Tracy Morgan". People. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- Nudd, Tim (July 2, 2013). "Tracy Morgan Welcomes Daughter Maven Sonae". People Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Itzkoff, Dave (October 28, 2008). "For Tracy Morgan, Every Day Is a Show". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
- Ariano, Tara (December 21, 2010). "Tracy Morgan receives kidney transplant, will miss at least two episodes of 30 Rock". The Set. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Kaufman, Gil (January 23, 2012). "Tracy Morgan Collapses At Sundance". MTV. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "Tracy Morgan Charged With DWI". cbsnews.com. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "28 April 2007". tmz.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Tracy Morgan Calls Sarah Palin 'Good Masturbation Material,' Network Apologizes". Fox News. January 28, 2011.
- Oldenburg, Ann (2011-06-12). "Tina Fey:Tracy Morgan is 'not a hateful man'". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
- Yvonne Villarreal (June 10, 2011). "'30 Rock's' Tina Fey and NBC honcho Bob Greenblatt respond to Tracy Morgan's homophobic comments". Los Angeles Times.
- Le Tellier, Alexandra (June 29, 2011). "Tracy Morgan apologizes, then tries out a different offensive rant". The Los Angeles Times.
- Weiss, Shari (June 29, 2011). "Tracy Morgan under fire again for cracking offensive jokes about the mentally disabled in NYC show". Daily News.
- Bennett, Sally (April 15, 2013). "Fans walk out on Tracy Morgan's comedy show". Herald Sun.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tracy Morgan.|
- Official website
- Works by or about Tracy Morgan in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Tracy Morgan at the Internet Movie Database
- Tracy Morgan collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Interview with Tracy Morgan
- Tracy Morgan at Emmys.com