The last time we saw Tracy Morgan on TV, he was making his triumphant homecoming on Saturday Night Live. Now, a year and a half after the car accident that nearly killed him, the comedian appeared on the Tonight Show with his old castmate Jimmy Fallon and was even more on fire than usual.
Right off the bat, Morgan congratulated Fallon for beating David Letterman in the ratings. When the host informed him that the former Late Show host is no longer on the air, Morgan joked, “I liked that dude! I’m going back in the coma.” Another bit of news that has Morgan thinking he might be better off unconscious? “Donald Trump is leading in the polls.”
The former 30 Rock star also weighed in on the new Star Wars movie, saying of John Boyega’s character, “One black dude in the whole galaxy? I’m pissed off, man! That was Lando Calrissian’s nephew. He pulled some strings to get him in the cadets.” He added, “They got him doing that crappy job. He left a good union job as a Stormtrooper!”
But while he was in the hospital, Morgan said he mostly just watched The Godfather. He got the biggest laugh of the night—at least from The Roots—with this line: “Let me tell you something, Sonny would have lived if they had EZ-Pass.”
Things turned surprisingly sentimental when Fallon brought up Morgan’s baby daughter, who was with him backstage. “That’s the reason why I survived, for her, her and my wife,” Morgan said. When he was in a wheelchair and saw his daughter take her first steps at 14 months, he said, “It inspired me to get out of the wheelchair and take my first steps.”
His accident, which left him with a traumatic brain injury from which some doctors predicted he would never recover, has evidently provided Morgan with a whole new batch of stand-up material. For instance, he told Fallon, “I saw the white light, but I didn’t go to it because I thought it was the police.”
After testing the waters with SNL last fall, Morgan is getting back to work for real in 2016, with a North American tour titled “Picking Up the Pieces” and a just-announced pilot with FX written by Key & Peele’s Jordan Peele. In the untitled show, Morgan will play a man who gets out of prison after 15 years and has to contend with modern technology and a more politically correct society than he left behind.
Asked if he’s nervous to get back on the road, Morgan said, “I never use that word ‘nervous.’ I’m excited.” He added, “People who act nervous can’t wait for it to be over. I can’t wait for it to start.”