Friday, October 16, 2009

Tracy Morgan Dishes on "Tracy Morgan"


A few reviews have expressed concern that "30 Rock" may have jumped the shark at the beginning of its 4th season. I surely hope not, 'cause Liz, Jack, Kenneth, Jenna, Pete and all of the other folks at "Tracy Jordan (and the Girly Show)" have made Thursday night such a great destination as you approach the end of the week. Well, as we saw in an earlier season, when Tracy "borrowed" his "friend's" yacht to throw a bash for all of his TV buddies, if the show does in fact jump the shark, one of the definite survivors, maybe the first man overboard, will be the endlessly fascinating comedian - actor Tracy Morgan.

Tracy has a new book coming out, "I Am the New Black" from Random House. Some great stuff here, both sweet and sour, as he riffs and philosophizes on his life, his roots and his career to-date, and, according to some items in the tabs, apparently dishes on some of his experiences and co-workers while on "Saturday Night Live."

A small sample from a talented and creative guy, with life lessons for everyone: The new black is impossible to define—and so am I, because I am the new black. You know my characters on television and films, and some of you know my stand-up. Which one of those is me? Who am I? Tracy Jordan? Biscuit? Astronaut Jones? The truth is that I'm all of them. They all live in me and I live through all of them. If you want to know the truth about Tracy Morgan, that truth is that like the new black, I'm impossible to define. Black isn't the absence of color, it's the presence of all colors. That's why I'm the new black. I'm everyone you've seen me be and just myself at the same time.

We are in a new era, with a black president. Racism definitely still exists, and the new black knows this, just like the new black knows that now is the time to stand up. The new black is something that our American society needs at every level, because the new black isn't about race, it's about trying. In this era of the new black, you have to try because there's no more excuses. We've got to take responsibility. We've got to raise our children. And people! This book is going to take your excuses from you. If I could get to where I am from where I came from, so can you. Being the new black means you can get there if you try. No more excuses. If your life is hard, you gotta start laughing so you don't cry, and you've gotta try or you'll get nothing. We can make a change if we put in the work.

As on 30 Rock, Tracy's persona seems that of the Happy Man, a talented shaman and wildman in the halls of the the most conservative of commercial media, network TV, as it allows some creative anarchy and toys with the half-century rule of Established Standards and Practices, in search of an audience and survival. One would imagine that NBC and its parent corporation, the Sheinhardt Wig Company, still need 30 Rock, even as it continues to attempt to define -- or re-define, or even un-define-- itself. And then there is Tracy Morgan, clearly a force unto himself, perhaps another contender for the mantle of "King of All Media." We watch wondering if "Tracy Jordan" is Tracy Morgan, or if, for that matter, "Tracy Morgan" is Tracy Morgan. While it isn't clear if "I Am the New Black" will offer any definitive clues, it promises to be a fun and interesting read. Due out October 20.
--Brooklyn Beat

Read an official excerpt from Random House (and maybe send some Tracy Morgan post card), here.

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Current Reading

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