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Very Live Wire: Tracy Morgan

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Tracy Morgan is returning to Saturday Night Live—sort of. The longtime SNL star, known for characters such as the blithely clueless animal-show host Brian Fellow and for his eerily dead-on Star Jones, is co-starring with Alec Baldwin in Tina Fey’s SNL parody-homage, 30 Rock. Morgan plays a superstar black actor named Tracy Jordan, whose manic antics and well-fed ego suggest a combination of Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and, well, Tracy Morgan. Emma Rosenblum spoke to him about the parallels—as well as the difference between pork and coleslaw.

How closely does your character resemble the real-life you?
Well, I’m not unstable like this guy. We do have similarities, such as charm and sense of humor, but he’s a superstar and America loves him. I’m not a superstar.

What about Martin Lawrence?
Yeah, people also compare him to Martin Lawrence, but I tell them, “Martin didn’t corner the market on meltdowns!” My uncle Frank ran down the street in his drawers seven times, and twice without no drawers on! This could be Robert Downey Jr., this could be Margot Kidder, it could be anybody.

Some of Tracy Jordan’s antics seem like they could have been ripped right from one of your shirtless appearances in “Page Six.”
Those papers like “Page Six” are always writing about me when I’m in the club—that’s the atmosphere where I go to have fun, you know. I came to the club to get my drink on and dance and meet girls, just like anybody else! But because I’m on the dance floor, dancing, and because they see me on TV, they think I’m going off the deep end—no, I’m doing the hustle!

So do you think the tabloids treat black actors differently from white actors?
Absolutely. You don’t see the paparazzi chasing us down the street. Why is that? But when we do something bad, they’re sure quick to put that in “Page Six.”

Is Tina Fey going to write in some scenes featuring your old SNL characters?
Yeah, I hope. My fans would love to see Brian Fellow come back. I love my fans. And they like my edge.

Your edge?
Yeah, I have an edge. It’s all about having an edge now. White people say it all the time—“He’s edgy.” White women love me ’cause of my edge. And I love white women. I can leave that pork alone, but I can’t leave me some white women alone. I love me some coleslaw.

[Laughter.]
You laughing? That’s how America’s going to laugh come October 11, Wednesdays at 8. That’s what up, bitch.

30 Rock
NBC, Wednesdays, Premieres October 11, 8 p.m.


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