“Comedy is my first life. It’s my love. And I get jealous when I see other comedians fucking the shit out of her.”
“I’ll paint a picture in your mind and you’ll see it. Now you can see it one of two ways. you can laugh about it or you can feel bad about it, but that’s on you. If you give a child finger paint in kindergarten and let them do their thing, now you gonna look at that painting one of two ways. You’re gonna say ‘oh, he made a mess’ or you gonna say ‘that’s the mind of a child genius’. That’s masterpiece. That’s all on you. That’s all on your intent. Why you coming to the show? Do you want to laugh? Or are you coming to judge?”
“Making people laugh is temporary. It’s transferable. Making people care? That’s forever.”
As part of our new podcast sharing select archival episodes of Ron Bennington’s epic interview series Unmasked, this week we are going way back to 2014 to share a fascinating hour: Unmasked with Tracy Morgan.
The Unmasked series which began in 2008 with a brilliant hour with Patrice O’Neal has taped nearly 200 episodes since, documenting the careers of the most interesting comedy writers, directors, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, satirists, political comedians, comedic musicians and of course, stand up comedians in the business. It is a veritable archive of the greatest comedy of our time. Past Unmasked guests have included Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Amy Schumer, Dan Aykroyd, Simon Pegg, Paul Feig, Jim Jefferies, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis C.K., David Brenner, Brian Regan, and over 150 more comedy greats.
Tracy Morgan is an American institution. He got a big break from Martin Lawrence, with a guest appearance on Martin, and had a role in a sketch series before being snatched up by SNL in 1996 where he spent eight years. His Saturday Night Live characters, especially Astronaut Jones and Brian Fellow, were fast classics. It wasn’t long before NBC wanted him back, and Tracy Morgan became Tracy Jordan for eight more years on 30 Rock. Beyond television, Morgan is loved for his stand up, and has had quite a few movie roles.
Back in 2014, Ron Bennington sat down with Tracy in front of a studio audience at the SiriusXM studios. It was only two months before a gruesome collision with a Walmart truck would leave Tracy severely injured.
During the hour, there were tears, there was philosophy, and even some emotional breakdown moments. Tracy talked about women, comedy, God, reincarnation, his father, growing up in poverty, and his comedy idols, and how Martin Lawrence changed his life. The hour was taped just prior to the debut of his comedy special, Bona Fide.
This episode is a favorite because it is so unique. Tracy is at his most sincere, and he is 100% Tracy in this interview. Some parts sound absolutely nuts leaving you wondering– is he for real or is he playing us? Other parts are so touching, so sweet, and so thoughtful, that you find yourself getting a little emotional. Tracy goes back and forth- sometimes talking about God, and the human condition, and his soul, but then moments later, he could be talking about the importance of titties.
This hour doesn’t have a single slow moment– and of course, it was all done with Tracy Morgan’s unique style. The feedback on this hour when it originally aired was tremendous. Some members of the audience went through some emotional moments and were captivated by some of the strange talk. Others were confused by the Tao of Tracy. But as Tracy said, its up to you on what you see and hear.
Fans and comedians will love this hour. Share it with anyone who loves comedy.
Recorded on April 15, 2014 in New York City, at the SiriusXM headquarters, this is Unmasked, from the Archives, with Tracy Morgan and Ron Bennington.
Don’t use iTunes? Download the episode here.