Tracy Morgan has earned a reputation as a wild card in his performances. But there’s also a serious side to him, one that often comes out in interviews. This was not one of those interviews.
The serious questions we prepared for him quickly became irrelevant. He spent most of the interview half-yelling, straddling the line of is-he-serious-or-not as only he can. You can laugh (or not) when he plays the Improv this weekend.
How’s it going Tracy?
I’m good, how are you?
Okay. I got girl problems.
Whaaat? You got 99 problems, man. Girls can’t be one. If you got girl problems, you got 99 problems.
You got any advice?
Yeah. Put your girl in check, man. That’s all I got to say. Put her in check, brother. Put her in check tonight. It’s my way or no way. We have to see things eye-to-eye. If we don’t see eye-to-eye, there ain’t no point in our love affair. Otherwise, just bounce. You’ll find another one, brother.
After all these years, what keeps you coming back to stand-up?
I never left. I do stand-up every weekend, it’s the foundation of my career. It’s entertainment. It keeps people laughing. It’s nothing else. Just people laughing. All my life I’ve been making people laugh. I make my father laugh, my family laugh. When we were little kids I made people laugh, then I got older and I made people in my high school laugh, then I got older and went into show business and made people laugh. That’s what it is. Being a little kid, entertaining the uncles and aunts in my house, to going to high school and making the kids in my class laugh and going onto show business and making my audience laugh.
Who is the hardest person for you to make laugh?
A person that don’t want to laugh.
Do you get that? Do you get people going to shows not wanting to laugh?
Sure. Some people just want to go see who you are. Some people want to laugh and some people want to see where you are coming from. Everybody at a comedy show ain’t there to laugh, some just want to see where Tracy Morgan is coming from. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. The hardest person I know to make laugh is me. Everything don’t make me laugh, man. I ain’t that gullible. Everything and everyone don’t make me laugh. I’m a human being.
What’s something that’s always funny to you?
The things I think about. Because if I don’t laugh then it’s not funny. I’m a freethinker. I don’t care about what you laugh at. I’m a freethinker. I’m going to laugh at what I think is funny. What’s funny to me. If I’m in a comedy club and everybody else is laughing at one thing and I laugh at this one obscure thing and I’m the only one in the audience laughing, I’m a freethinker. I’m not out there laughing at what the whole audience is laughing at. I’m laughing at what’s funny to me. That’s the problem with this world anyways. People need to mind their damn business. We have all 24 hours in the day to mind our business. Our own business. If I’m going to a comedy club, I’m not going to laugh at what everybody else is laughing at. I’m laughing at what’s funny to me. I take what I need, I pick some, and I give some away.
If you have a show and nobody laughs, is it OK?
There is no show where everybody laughs. There are too many high expectations that people put on a comedian. Do you make everybody laugh? Some people might think you aren’t funny. And that girl of yours, I bet she ain’t laughing at [bleep] you say. The way to her heart is through her laughter. You need to sharpen up on your sense of humor, brother, or you’ll always have girl problems. You just need to [bleeping] make your girl laugh sometimes. Think about you right now. You probably aren’t making her laugh right now, you are probably stressing her out right now. The same thing I do. But you are going to laugh when I make you laugh, [bleep bleep] it. She’s going to have your ass sleeping at Occupy Wall Street.
Have you been to Occupy Wall Street?
I ain’t Occupying Wall Street, I got money. There’s no way. I’m going to Chicago, and they got a big pile of money waiting for me. A big ol’ bag.
What do you like about Chicago?
They got that money. They’re going to put me in the fiscal budget out there in Chicago. They’re going to have to fire some people because that money is coming to me.
So I read on the Internet the RZA said you want to play ODB in a movie. Is that true?
I want to play Ol’ Dirty Bastard. That is correct. I was cool with him, he was cool with me. We hung out a few times, and there’s nobody in the world like Ol’ Dirty. Osirus. Big Baby Jesus.
Dirt McGirt. Ason.
[Morgan begins rapping most of “Brooklyn Zoo.” I join in.]
You get the RZA to contact me, he is correct, I do want to play ODB.
If you could play anybody, who would you play?
Tito Jackson in the Michael Jackson story. I want to be Tito. I look just like him. But I want to play ODB in a movie, so get back to RZA and put that on the internet that Tracy wants to play ODB. I’m going to tweet it out. I’m tweeting it out right now. Get on Twitter and tell RZA I want to play ODB.
I’ll tweet him right now.
It’s going on Twitter right now. [Morgan tweeted, “Yo Rza this is Tracy Morgan, I knew ODB the god. I wanna play him in a movie! Peace!”] Yes, yes y’all!
If you could get anybody to play you in a movie, who would you get?
I don’t know, man. I don’t know, dude. I think my son could do it.
What’s something you want to do that you haven’t had a chance to do yet?
I want to see my grandchildren. I don’t have no grandchildren right now. I would love to live to see that.
Scott Bolohan is a RedEye special contributor.