Speaking with … Tracy Morgan

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
November 7, 2003

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tracy Morgan likes Andrew Dice Clay, does a mean impersonation of Oprah Winfrey and more than held his own against camera-hogging guest stars like Britney Spears. He may be gone from the ensemble cast, but the Not Ready for Prime Time Players lost Morgan to prime time. He’s currently working on his own sitcom, “The Tracy Morgan Show” for NBC, which is scheduled to debut this winter.

Phoning after rehearsals from Los Angeles, Morgan chatted about his favorite skits, why he never complains and how the Rat Pack inspired his work.

HERE’S WHAT MORGAN HAD TO SAY:

Unlikely hero: I love Andrew Dice Clay. He’s one of the reasons why I decided to do comedy. He’s balls-out. He’s a legend to me.

Leaving “Saturday Night Live”: The time was right. Now it’s all about my new sitcom, “The Tracy Morgan Show.” It’s looking fantastic and I’m just excited to be doing it. It’s basically just good old-fashioned television.

On not complaining about not getter a bigger piece of the “SNL” pie: Who would give a f— what I complain about? I wouldn’t.

Your comedic approach: I try to keep the “fun” in funny. When you take the “fun” out, you just have “ny,” and I never want to be “ny.”

On getting a “Best of Tracy Morgan” episode of “SNL”: That was monumental for me and my career because that means I’m in the books. I’m grateful for that.

Your favorite “SNL” creation: Astronaut Jones. The Rat Pack era inspired me to do that sketch.

On Chicago audiences: I get a lot of love in Chi-Town.

Favorite Chicago museum: The one with those two lions outside [the Art Institute]. I want to go see those lions.

Favorite Chicago events: Going to a Bulls or Bears game.

Your Chicago itinerary: I plan on doing some good eating there.

Favorite sports team: All the New York teams. I live in Los Angeles now but I’m a New Yorker at heart.

Last good movie you saw: “John Q.”

Book you’re recommending: [Deepak Chopra’s] The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams [Amber-Allen Publishing, $15]. I’ve read it three times to get a full understanding of it.

Worst advice you ever got: A single guy told me, “Cheat on your wife.” He’s not a friend anymore.

Best thing about being you: Everything.

The secret to raising good kids: You have to have a woman who is wise. Mine is.

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii. Maui.

Vacation must: Scuba dive! My oldest son and I are both certified divers.

Person most likely to follow in your footsteps: My 12-year-old son. He wants to be like me. If I had my way, I wouldn’t want any of my kids to follow me into show business. It’s rough.

Final words: I love Chicago and am so happy you guys invited me. Let the show begin!

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