Tracy Morgan is one of the most respected comedians in his field. Starring for seven seasons each on NBC’s 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. Even after two career-defining jobs, Morgan hasn’t faded from the spotlight. He recently earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is getting ready for a second season of his sitcom The Last O.G., and will star on the big screen in the movie What Men Want. Oh, and his stand-up tour comes to the Musikfest Cafe pres. by Yuengling for two shows on Saturday, February 23!
Before Tracy Morgan returns to Bethlehem, we spoke to the hilarious, successful and team-oriented comedian on the phone from his New Jersey home…
ArtsQuest: Hey Tracy! We’re looking forward to having you back in Bethlehem on February 23!
Tracy Morgan: I love that room. It was one of the last rooms I did with Jimmy Mack. I remember it like it was yesterday.
AQ: Oh, wow. So it will mean more for you this time around.
TM: Yeah, it means I’ll get to be with him. That was my brother, my comrade, my O.G.
AQ: Before we get into your performance here, we’ve never been able to ask this to someone before: how are your sharks doing?
TM: Oh they’re doing great, man. I was just up there with ‘em in their tank and they’re doing great.
AQ: How big are they now?
TM: I think they’re three feet or four feet. They’re babies, they’re puppies. They’re growing, I just fed them.
AQ: You’re like a sea daddy.
TM: Yeah, I am a sea daddy. I take after my great-great grandfather Jacques Cousteau.
AQ: Your new film What Men Want opens on Friday, February 8th. What did you enjoy most about doing this movie?
TM: It was the people I worked with. Working with (director) Adam Shankman was awesome. It was like family, it was fun. It was a whole bunch of fun filming. I got to work with some of my favorites and Taraji (P. Henson) is awesome. Very funny and high-energy. We had a good time.
AQ: So you feed off of each other on set?
TM: Absolutely, absolutely. All day, every day.
AQ: We love seeing you in The Last O.G. on TBS. Season 2 premieres on April 2nd. What do you enjoy most about being a leading man?
TM: I most enjoy leading my cast, my crew, my production the right way. That’s what I love doing. I’m happy for everyone involved. I’m not just happy for me. I don’t consider myself a leading man. I consider myself part of the cast and the production. Team man. And we’re doing a great job playing with each other.
AQ: What can we expect from the new season?
TM: Aw man, some more blasts from season one but better! We’re gonna visit a lot of places with the characters.
AQ: You, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz and Chris Kattan have done multiple incarnations of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” on Saturday Night Live. What are you thinking about as the character in that sketch?
TM: I’m the dancer from that perspective. I’m just the dancer but I don’t really know how to dance. I keep the groove and I keep the beat.
AQ: Is there any dancer you’re trying to emulate in that?
TM: No! What dancers dance like that, man. C’mon, please.
AQ: The one and only!
TM: But when I’m not dancing I’m working in a warehouse somewhere. That character leads a very boring life.
AQ: Many folks know your career on TV and the movie screen, but what do you love most about getting on the road to do stand-up?
TM: All three are different muscles: TV, movies and stand-up. It’s just me on stage with my mic and my audience. You know stand-up is different than doing acting and TV, you know. It’s more personable for me.
AQ: You like that connection you get with the audience that you don’t get in front of a camera.
TM: Of course. It’s live and it’s right there in front of you.
AQ: What can fans expect from your two stand-up shows here in the Musikfest Café pres. by Yuengling on February 23?
TM: Funny. Funny. Funny. It’s funny.
AQ: It’s almost Valentine’s Day. With your character from The Last O.G. being from Brooklyn, what would be the perfect Brooklyn date for the holiday?
TM: Movie and a dinner. Keep it basic.
AQ: Any places in Brooklyn you recommend?
TM: No. I would take her into the city. On a special occasion take her into the city. Take her to Junior’s in Manhattan.
AQ: Great advice! We appreciate you taking the time to talk.
TM: Thank you!