Tracy Morgan is known as the funny guy to most, but when a tragic car accident left him injured and his friend James McNair dead, the world changed for him, and now the comedian admits that getting back on his feet was tough.
In an interview with GQ, the “30 Rock” star revealed his intense therapy sessions. While he doesn’t remember anything from the first few moments he woke up from his coma, the actor says it took him 10 months to feel like himself again.
“I wasn’t in a good place,” Morgan said. “I didn’t get into a good place until maybe 10 months later. I started to remember and think and all of that stuff. They taught me how to walk again, and stand up and sit up again, and it was really painful for a long time. I did therapists, did cognitive, what do they call it? Did cognitive therapy. Still doing it … That therapy, the psychiatrist had to keep going back to see me. People look at you like you … excuse me …”
The man who has made his living making people laugh broke down in the interview before he talked about his friend James McNair, a.k.a. Jimmy Mack, whom he lost when a Walmart Truck Driver hit their car on the New Jersey Turnpike in July of last year.
“I’m here. And — always been spiritual,” he added. “Physical death is so permanent, so final, but when we are on a spiritual level, that means we transcend. Yoko Ono said it best when John Lennon died. She allowed herself to grieve. Grieve. Grieve a few months. I don’t feel sorry for Jimmy. Jimmy was a good man — I know he home. We still dealing with this shit down here. Jimmy’s home. Jimmy’s with us. He wasn’t a sorry person. He was a good man, I know he with God, I don’t even worry about that.”
Morgan added that one particular moment of his recovery reminded him of the death of his father, who died of AIDS when Morgan was in high school.
“For all of us, something tragic and crazy had just happened,” he said about his accident. “It shook up the house, and I had to get my house back together. Let everybody know: ‘I’m here. I’m here. Daddy’s here. Daddy’s OK.’ One time I was walking up the stairs with my son, who was always right there with me … and I almost fell backwards. I was just learning how to walk, and he grabbed me and took me upstairs, and I started crying. He said, ‘What’s wrong, Dad?’ And I told him, ‘I remember when I carried you.’ And when my dad was dying of AIDS, I carried him.”
The two moments were nearly identical.
“I carried him all the way upstairs, and he started crying,” Morgan recalled of his father. “I said ‘What’s wrong, Dad?’ He said, ‘I remember when I carried you through the door.’”
His father had a big impact on Morgan’s life — after his death, Tracy fell in with a bad crowd, dealing drugs and dropping out of school four credits short of graduation.
It was Jimmy Mack who got him back on his feet in 1993, when Morgan went to the Uptown Comedy Club to try his luck at making people laugh. Mack owned the place, and the Uptown Comedy Club was the stepping stone for Morgan’s entire career.
With Mack now dead and Morgan working to put his life back together, the “Saturday Night Live” host counts his blessings every day.
“Tough times don’t last,” he says. “Tough dudes do.”
Most recently, Morgan used his October hosting gig on “SNL” as a way to let people know that he’s back.
“I’m going to take my sense of humor to the next level, my life,” he said. “I faced death and all that shit. It’s my responsibility to come back and come back strong. It’s going to take more than a Walmart truck to take that gift away. I can’t wait to make you all laugh.”
The December issue of GQ hits newsstands nationally on Nov. 24.