Currently starring on NBC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning show “30 Rock,” Tracy Morgan appears opposite Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin as Tracy Jordan, the unpredictable star of a hit variety show.
So far, the life Morgan is living now has turned out to be a hit, but it wasn’t always so.
“I grew up in a rough neighborhood in New York,” says Morgan, set to take the stage tomorrow at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside. “Growing up, I was an angry kid. But I was also a funny little kid, and so I think comedy was always inside me and just had to find the right time and place to come out.”
And when it finally did, there was no turning back. Encouraged by a friend who urged him to try his talent on the stage, Morgan took the advice to heart and began building a stand-up career.
Building his act on the things he knew best — like the difficult situations he had to deal with in his life — one of his performances was seen by “Saturday Night Live’s” Lorne Michaels, who decided to audition the young comic for a spot on the popular TV show.
Not only did Morgan do well in his audition, but he secured a spot on the show and stayed there for the next seven years before moving on to other things, such as starring in his own comedy series, “The Tracy Morgan Show.”
Although his show didn’t do as well as he had hoped, Morgan was able to turn his talents to other things, including landing significant roles in a handful of feature films. And in 2006, he found his niche on “30 Rock,” the sitcom created by fellow “SNL” alumna and longtime friend, Tina Fey.
“SNL was like a university for funny for me,” Morgan recalls. “But I had to let my guard down to let the writers in.”
And so he did. And three years later, Morgan received his first Emmy Nomination for his role in the sitcom in the Supporting Actor category. He’s also been nominated for a Supporting Actor NAACP Image Award, and has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Morgan also headlined in New York’s famed Comedy Festival, and rounded out his list of great comedic moments with his first HBO Special, “Black and Blue,” among other things.
But Morgan claims to have reached new heights with the publication of his first book, “I Am The New Black,” a compilation of anecdotes and some of the more serious moments that shaped him, his life and his career.
“I wanted to tell my own story before someone else could tell it,” Morgan explains. “I’ve never been the kind of person who asks ‘why,’ but rather ‘why not?’ I’m somebody who came from the ghetto and learned how to make it. Somebody had to do it, so why not me?”
And when he takes the stage at the Keswick, Morgan said he hopes his audience reacts to him as a stand-up performer, and not the performer they are used to seeing on television.
He says, “When I get up on stage I just want to spread my love and do it all live. What I do on television has nothing to do with what I do as a live performer. On stage it’s all straight up with no chaser.”
And today, the anger that ruled his life for so many years as a teen has all but gone. “That little, angry 17-year-old has grownup. I am a man now. I was angry when I was younger but I’ve had to let it go. I’ve left the cocoon, and now I’m a beautiful, black butterfly.”
For times and ticket information, call (215) 572-7650.
LOS ANGELES — However riotous the Eddie Murphy stories from Arsenio Hall, Tracy Morgan, Adam Sandler and Russell Brand, the highlight of Spike TV's tribute to Murphy was the comedian's duet with Stevie Wonder.
Murphy joined the subject of one of his most classic impressions for a rousing rendition of Wonder's 1973 hit "Higher Ground" during the taping of the Spike TV special "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," which is set to air Nov. 14. The Roots served as the house band.
Jamie Foxx, Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock and Keenan Ivory Wayans were also among those paying tribute to Murphy Saturday at the Saban Theater.
Accompanied by a pretty blonde, Murphy beamed throughout the two-hour program, saying he was touched by the tribute.
"I am a very, very bitter man," he said with a beguiling smile. "I don't get touched easily, and I am really touched."
Morgan called Murphy "my comic hero" and came onstage wearing a replica of Murphy's red leather suit from his standup show "Delirious."
"He set the tone for the whole industry a long time ago," Morgan said before taking the stage. "He inspired me in a fearless way."
Sandler was still in high school when he first saw "Delirious," which he described as "one of the most legendary standup specials of all time."
"Everybody on the planet wanted to be Eddie," he said. "He funnier than us. He's cooler than any of us."
Samuel L. Jackson said Murphy "changed the course of American film history" by giving Jackson his first speaking role on the big screen, in 1988's "Coming to America."
"If it weren't for Eddie, we might not have all the wonderful films that I've made," Jackson quipped.
"He is a true movie star," Jackson continued, lauding Murphy's performance in "48 Hours" and "Beverly Hills Cop." ''You became an inspiration for all young African-American actors."
The program featured clips of Murphy's standup shows, his film appearances in "Shrek" and "Nutty Professor" and his work on "Saturday Night Live."
Murphy insisted before the tribute that he is retired from performing.
"I'm just a retired old song and dance man," he said, adding that he only makes rare appearances these days. "That's what you do when you're retired: You come out every now and then and talk about the old days."
The 51-year-old entertainer took the stage at the conclusion of the tribute to say he was moved by the honor.
"This is really a touching moving thing, and I really appreciate it," he said. "You know what it's like when you have something like this? You know when they sing happy birthday to you? It's like that for, like, two hours... and I am Eddied out." – (AP)
The outrageous Tracy Morgan will be a special guest when Canadian crooner Michael Buble’ hosts “A Michael Bublé Christmas,” his first holiday variety show, airing at 8 p.m., Dec. 6 on NBC.
Presenting music from his new holiday album simply titled “Christmas,” Bublé, the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, will sing classics such as “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Jingle Bells.” He will be joined by guest stars Justin Bieber, Kellie Pickler, Thalia, Oscar the Grouch, The Puppini Sisters and Naturally 7.
“I feel like Christmas has come early for me … I’m really proud of this record so this is icing on the fruitcake. Thank you America and Happy Holidays,” said Bublé, who described his “Christmas” CD as “the album I dreamed about making my entire life.”
“A Michael Bublé Christmas” will also include comedy shorts featuring Bublé and NBC stars Ed Helms and Tracy Morgan, who in 2009 received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” for his portrayal of Tracy Jordan on the NBC series “30 Rock.” That same year, Morgan, who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” from 1996 to 2006, joined his fellow “30 Rock” cast members in accepting the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.”
The Billboard Music Awards, airing live from the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8 p.m., Sunday on ABC, will take a definite walk on the wild side this year, enlisting the services of outrageous funnyman Tracy Morgan to host the show. The comedic actor, who spent eight seasons on “Saturday Night Live” and seven on “30 Rock,” also starred in a sitcom bearing his name.
“I’m honored to be a part of one of music’s biggest nights,” Morgan said. “When you look at the artists who have come up through Billboard over the years, it’s incredible. And how can you say no when Prince is going to be there?”
Indeed, Prince, a 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will be honored with the Billboard Icon Award, following the 2012 Icon recipient, Stevie Wonder. Madonna, another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will receive the Top Touring Artist Award.
Taylor Swift, fun and Maroon 5 lead the finalists for the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, and after scoring 18 category appearances in 2011 and 13 more in 2012, “Diamonds” superstar Rihanna once again lands double-digit finalist slots by competing in 10 categories this year, including Top Artist.
The star-studded event will include performances by Ne-Yo, Miguel, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, the Band Perry, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Ed Sheeran, Akon, David Guetta and Icona Pop.
The dazzling list of presenters includes Kelly Rowland, Kid Rock, Cee-Lo Green, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ke$ha, Hayden Penettiere, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, PSY, Jennifer Nettles, Sky Blu, Alanis Morisette, Wiz Khalifa, Florida Georgia Line, Chloe Grace Moretz, Alyssa Milano, Jennifer Morrison, Gabriel Mann, Stana Katic and Emmy Rossum.
The awards reflect Billboard’s chart rankings based on key fan interactions with music, including album sales and downloads, track downloads, radio airplay and touring as well as streaming and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Vevo, YouTube, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Entertaninment and Next Big Sound. The awards will be based on the reporting period of Feb. 27, 2012 through Feb. 24, 2013. Tops artists will be recognized in a variety of genres, including R&B, rap, pop, country, rock, Latin and alternative.