Morgan Finally Gets His Chance to Shine!

24 02 2010

After spending a couple days with funnyman, Tracy Morgan, you get the sense that he is like an overgrown kid in a man’s body whose unbridled joy and utter unpredictability make him a joy to be around. The recent Emmy nominee is set to make his big-screen debut opposite the iconic Bruce Willis in the buddy comedy, “Cop Out.”

From the moment Morgan enters the room, the energy and anticipation instantly heightens anticipating what he describes as his “real moments.” The native of the boogie-down Bronx, Morgan has been honing his signature comedy style since he was discovered doing stand-up onstage of the Apollo in 1984.

Success was not immediate for Morgan, who cut his teeth as performer until he got his first big break playing Hustle Man on “Martin.” While that show gave him visibility, Morgan’s real bread and butter was working as a cast member for the sketch comedy show, “Uptown Comedy Club.” Usually outfitted in a beanie cap with propeller, Morgan practiced brining the funny and often looked the part.

His epic battles with upcoming comedians caught the eye of Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels who invited Morgan to become a cast member in 1996. For the next seven seasons, Morgan displayed his unique brand of humor playing a variety of colorful characters including Brian Fellow(s), Uncle Jemima (Uncle Jemima’s Pure Mash Liquor) and Dominican Lou.

Despite appearing in sixteen films since 1998, Morgan has always been a featured player, never the star. With his latest film, “Cop Out,” Morgan finally gets his chance to shine alongside Willis in the Kevin Smith buddy comedy. In the film, Morgan and his partner, Willis are two dysfunctional cops who are dealing with their insecurities along with looking for a baseball card-thief and trying to stay ahead of a vicious Mexican drug cartel.

While trying to stay ahead of the bad guys, Morgan’s character is constantly jealous of his hot wife played by Rashida Jones. The two developed a bond off-screen dealing with the grief and loss of Michael Jackson. We were filming during the time he passed. She grew up with the man. Her father produced “We Are the World” and “Thriller.” We would be on the set and I would ask her how it was and she was like “he would come over and spend the night at the house when he was a kid.”

But his most treasured memory was working with an actor of the magnitude of Willis. For Morgan, every moment seemed like a learning opportunity.

“When I’m around Bruce, I’m learning how to do this stuff,” said Morgan. “When we were shooting, we just went toward the funny. We had a good time and didn’t worry about stuff like buddy cop or who we were going to be compared to, we transcended all of that and just wanted to make you laugh.”

While Morgan found Willis, “totally professional,” his real inspiration for getting into acting was another SNL alum. “The King is Eddie Murphy,” stated Morgan emphatically. “I remember watching “48 Hrs. and that’s what made me want to do comedy.”

Only time will tell if Morgan’s foray into leading manhood will be successful but one thing is for sure, he’ll never leave stand-up comedy behind. “TV makes you a household name, standup gives me my edge, and movies give me freedom! As I said, TV helps me with my filter, movies help me with my confidence because you have to have that when an audience is not there,” said Morgan.  “There is nothing in the world like live entertainment; it lets you know in the first three seconds if they’re going to like you or not.

But Morgan who has been nominated for two Emmy’s for his work on the funny, “30 Rock” understands that he has a long way to go. “I’m still a work in progress; I still have to work on my discipline and focus on a daily basis so that young people can see that and follow that trek.”

Could Morgan someday find himself on the other side of the camera, it sounds like it could be a possibility for the multi-talented performer. “If God gives me the time, I want to produce and direct but right now, I’m embracing this; the whole process and making people laugh,” says Morgan. Our main objective was to make you people laugh!



One response

26 02 2010
Reel Shorts | Cop Out « FilmGordon

[…] featuring action-hero icon Bruce Willis and funnyman Tracy Morgan, director Kevin Smith’s latest film, “Cop Out” feels like just that. This generic and average […]

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