Tracy Morgan on Life After Deadly Accident: 'I've Changed as a Person'
"After this special airs, I’m going to take time out to study life," Tracy Morgan tells PEOPLE of his new Netflix comedy special
Speaking with PEOPLE ahead of his new Netflix comedy special Staying Alive (out Tuesday), Morgan opened up about his recovery process, why his special is so important after his accident and what keeps him motivated to continue his career.
“I got hit by a truck, it was a great story. So that’s what happened. I had a story to tell,” he told PEOPLE of coming up with the new special.
“When anything ever badly happened to me I made it funny and I turned it good,” Morgan added. “This was a bad thing that happened to me. I wanted to tell my story, but I also want to continue my standup career because all the great things that ever happened to me in my life came through standup.”
In June 2014, a limousine bus that Morgan was riding in was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike with a Walmart truck that took the life of his friend and mentor James “Jimmy Mac” McNair and left the former Saturday Night Live star fighting for his life in critical condition. Morgan wound up being in a coma for two weeks and sustained numerous broken bones.
“All the great things came through standup,” he continued. “I’m just continuing it. Why would I stop? [The accident] wasn’t going to stop me. As long as I could stand up and grab the mic, I was going to tell my story.”
“When you look at my earlier work, this is growth. This was me growing a thousand years at the speed of light,” Morgan said. “I look at my old stuff and then I look at this stuff, and I say, ‘Damn. I’ve grown a lot.’ And that’s what it was. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy and some of my greatest material came out of it to date. I don’t know what’s going to come next, hopefully nothing tragic happens like that.”
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As for why he works hard, that’s simple — the former 30 Rock star doesn’t want to be “corny.”
“The reason I work so hard is I’m afraid to be corny,” Morgan admitted. “I’m not going to go into no big speech about it. I just don’t want to be corny.”
“I have serious work ethic. I worked hard to come back. I’m not talking about just standup, I’m talking about getting up out that wheel chair,” he added. “To get up off that walker, I was working hard. I was working hard when I was in a coma. I have a young daughter, I have a wife and I got sons, I got to be here. I’m a fighter, and I fought. That’s what I did with this standup, I fought to do it right.”
One thing is for sure, Morgan feels he has changed since the accident — and for the better.
“My need to help others and my need to love others, that’s what has changed. I know it has,” he said. “Me as a person changed.”
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As for what’s next for Morgan? Well, the 48-year-old wants more babies — and soon!
“After this special airs, I’m going to take time out to study life,” the father of four said. “I want to take time out to raise my kids and I want to study life. I want more babies with my wife — two more. I’m going to make one tonight.”
“In order to have something you have to go through something. I gave you everything I got in this one,” Morgan continued. “I gave you the last three years of my life in this one. Now I got to go through some more stuff just to get to this level and standard of standup.”
Staying Alive begins streaming Tuesday on Netflix.
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