Tracy Morgan Explains Why He Never Makes Fun Of The Audience (Video)

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Tracy Morgan is healing wounds in more ways than one. This morning (October 13), the 30 Rock veteran and SNL alum sat down with The Breakfast Club to discuss how his near-death experience has matured him. In the interview, Morgan speaks on his ability to transform pain into laughter and his intention to spread love, as is claimed to be the way of his Brooklyn, New York roots. He also touches on his comedic inspirations and legacy, as well as the honor of being impersonated by Eddie Murphy on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last month. “In the world of comedy, that’s big,” says Morgan. “That’s like Michael Jackson writing a song just for you!”

As Kimmel mentioned on that specific show, everybody attempts a Tracy Morgan impression—but no one makes more jokes at the comedian’s expense than himself. In fact, one might argue that Morgan has made a career out of performing his own caricature, from his time as an SNL cast member, ordering producer Lorne Michaels to get him a soda, to his portrayal of the oddball Tracy Jordan character on 30 Rock. As he told Angela Yee, Charlamagne and DJ Envy on Power 105.1 this morning, this approach to comedy is more altruistic than one might assume: “I don’t use the stage as a bully pulpit to tear someone else down and make them feel bad… I got enough messed up stuff about me. I could [make fun of] me all day long. You got time?” Morgan also expresses his distaste for insult-based comedy. “Hurt people hurt people,” he explains. “I’m not into hurting people. I’m into people feeling good.”

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Morgan’s somewhat self-deprecating, yet still feel-good sense of humor is indicative of his views on the nature of pain and its relation to comedy—which he argues are really just opposite sides of the same coin. After briefly referencing Morgan’s problematic upbringing, having been born to a teenage mother and a father with PTSD who died of AIDS when Morgan was only a teen, Charlamagne asks, “How did funny come out of that?” Morgan simply replies, “Pain.” Later in the uplifting interview, Tracy elaborates on his understanding of struggle and humor: “That’s how I’ve dealt with all my shortcomings and tragedies in life — turn it funny… Comedy ain’t nothin’ but pain turned inside out.”

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Tracy Morgan will perform live at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on November 5, as part of his Turn It Funny Tour.