Tracy Morgan took the stage at Funny Or Die’s party at the Scoot Inn on Monday March 14 as part of the on going festivities at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Once again the entrance line ups were around the block and countless people trying to get into the special event. People were ready to laugh and have a good time. Besides Morgan – DJ R-Rated spinned tunes during a fun happy hour that included haircut & beard trims, games and other food at the Scoot Inn Austin event location.
Tracy Morgan is best known for his eight seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (1996–2003) and for his role as Tracy Jordan in the comedy series 30 Rock (2006–2013). He’s won an Emmy and has also appeared in various films as an actor and voice actor.
“We had a short list of names and Tracy was at the top of it,” says Patrick Starzan, senior vp marketing and G.M. social media at Funny or Die. “We reached out to his management and they were really into it. It worked out in terms of the timing for him as he’s getting back into touring and stand-up.”
The set opened with Marc Theobald a stand up comic and Tracey Ashley, a really funny lady who was a finalist on Last Comic standing. These two warmed up the audience in preparation for Tracy Morgan, bring up biracial marriages, dating and funny weight jokes. The audience was good and warmed up but the question on everyone mind seemed to hum. Would Tracy talk about the accident?
As most people know in June 2014, Morgan was a passenger in a minibus that was involved in a six-vehicle crash in New Jersey. It was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer driver from Walmart. Morgan’s friend James McNair was tragically killed. Morgan suffered a broken leg and femur, broken nose, and several broken ribs. He was also in a coma for almost 2 weeks. This Funny or Die show was only his 12th appearance since the accident. His return to the comedy stage began last year with a turn as host on Saturday Night Live and an appearance at the Emmys.
Not a few seconds into the set, the question was answered – Constant no holds barred detailed jokes about the accident.
There were jokes about his grandmother and meeting god, his fiance when he woke up from the coma and countless more that brushed right through the concern that was on everyone’s mind. He was fearless. This was certainly not a PG show, and one shouldn’t expect it to be. Morgan went into his sexual preferences, racist comments, the taste of breast milk and his time spent as a crack dealer. He said he went to heaven but didn’t stay long, because you don’t go toward the white light if you think it might be the police. He laughed and joked with the audience members and had large wide smiles and giggles to himself many times.
Morgan would switch between standing and sitting on a chair which made for a more intimate feel and likely recovery of the broken bones that still must cause pain. It was very relaxed and it felt like he was hanging out with you. Morgan brought a sheet of paper with his jokes listed to help keep him focused. Many times he went off and made up quite a few really funny bits on the spot. I tend to think those were his funniest moments when he just let the comedy take over him again. There was many laugh out loud moments and Morgan more than one time commented on how he “was back”. The audience and really loud applause with a long standing ovation, agreed.
The evening ended with Ghostface Killah & Raekwon closing out the night to an awesome show full of hiphop classics. The crowd rushed in, singing and dancing along to much delight.
Funny or Die at SXSW continues to be the event that people are seriously trying to get into, and this year with a coming back Tracy Morgan did not fail to disappoint.
All images by Rebecca Adler – @rarphoto unless otherwise noted.