By Mary Ann Bourbeau
RED BANK – After a devastating highway accident that nearly took his life, comedian Tracy Morgan is back, and he never takes one day for granted.
“It feels great to be alive,” he said. “I’m glad I’m still funny.”
His current national tour is called “Picking Up the Pieces,” which is exactly what he has done since the June 2014 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, when a Walmart truck crashed into the limo van he was riding in. The accident left Morgan with multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury, and took the life of his close friend, comic James McNair.
“It’s called ‘Picking Up the Pieces’ because my life was shattered after the accident,” he said. “My family was really shattered too. But I’m not crying about it. The accident was only one piece of my life. I have a wife and kids and a life outside of show business.”
Morgan will talk about his experiences and his life when he performs two shows at the Count Basie Theatre on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“God gave me the gift of a sense of humor,” he said. “I love to see people smiling and laughing. On stage, when I’m making people laugh, that’s when I feel close to Him. I hope when He welcomes me into his Kingdom, he says, ‘You did a good job, Tracy.’ ”
Morgan’s recovery was a long road, but the Saturday Night Live alum, who later starred for seven seasons on the NBC show “30 Rock,” now has several projects in the works. He recently finished production on “Fist Fight,” in which he stars alongside Ice Cube and Charlie Day. He will also take on the role of comedian Redd Foxx in the Richard Pryor biopic “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?” opposite Mike Epps.
“I’m truly honored to be asked to be a part of it,” Morgan said. “I pray that Mr. Foxx will give me the strength to do him justice because he’s such an icon.”
It was announced this week that Morgan will return to television with a still-untitled TBS comedy series in which he will star along with Key and Peele’s Jordan Peele. Morgan plays an ex-con, released after 15 years in prison, who is shocked to see how much the world changed while he was gone. He is also slated to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year.
“That’s what I always wanted, to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I achieved it,” he said. “When I’m long dead, my great-great-grandchildren will see my name there. That means more to me than anything in show business.”
While Morgan will likely discuss the accident and his long road to recovery during his stand-up routine, he declined to give any specifics about the material.
“I’m not tipping my jokes,” he said. “Just come see me be funny.”
Tickets are $29 to $49. For more information, visit countbasietheatre.org.
Arts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @MaryAnnBourbeau.
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