Tuesdays with Morgan: Tracy takes on Spaulding

by Rebecca Leffler | 4/20/04 5:00am

Hollywood funny-man Tracy Morgan has a new hit television show ripping up the ratings on primetime, has appeared in many films including "Half Baked" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and will forever be remembered as one of Saturday Night Live's most talented players. So why is he coming to Hanover, New Hampshire? "I'm coming to Hanover because I was invited. Whenever you're invited you always want to be there," Morgan said.

Tonight, Morgan will be providing some Hanover "haha" as he brings his act from the Hollywood Hills to Spaulding Auditorium. According to Morgan, the show will be "for adults" and will feature Morgan's personal experiences and observations of daily life. "Basically, it's gonna be about me," he said.

Though Dartmouth might be different from his usual late-night adult crowds, Morgan won't change his act a bit when he crosses the New Hampshire border. " I don't change my act for anybody. I try not to compromise my act for anybody," Morgan said.

He noted, though, a distinction between younger and older crowds. "The thing about older crowds is they've been through stuff. They've lived life. It's a matter of experience. The younger people don't have the experience that older people have. That's what separates us and I speak about experiences. With the younger crowd, I'm more hands-on."

During his seven years on Saturday Night Live, Morgan spoofed everyone from Mike Tyson to Maya Angelou to Star Jones. Despite his stint on a show famous for its impersonations, Morgan told The Dartmouth, "I never liked impersonations. I like to create original characters." In fact, Morgan distinguished himself from fellow SNL cast members with a streak of hilarious standout characters. Morgan is constantly creating original characters rather than simply mocking the works of others. "Anyone can imitate someone else. I think that sh*t is so lame," he said.

Morgan has recently been making headlines with his self-titled primetime television sitcom, "The Tracy Morgan Show." Having made the jump from late-night to prime time, Morgan is enjoying every minute of his newfound success. "I love prime time. Sure, I miss my friends and the show but we move on. It's a good thing for SNL and it lets people know that the show produces stars," he said.

On "The Tracy Morgan Show," Morgan stars as a hardworking family man living with his wife and two children and trying to get by on his wit and street smarts. In real life, Morgan, a husband and father of two, must also balance his role as a father and his career.

"In real life, I'm a family man and I'm a business man. I'm a husband and a parent. Sometimes I can even be a big kid. I'm regular," he said.

Morgan cites his family as his greatest motivation to succeed: "My wife and my kids inspire me to move forward in life."

Morgan claims to have been influenced first and foremost by his father. "My dad was the most funny person I ever met in my life," Morgan said. He also cites Richard Proy and Martin Lawrence among many entertainers who have had an effect on him.

Like many comedians, Morgan said he thinks that he was born into his career. "Comedy got into me, I didn't get into comedy," he said. "I'm a naturally funny person. I was born into it. But the business part of it was the hard part of it."

Morgan was introduced to the business side of comedy when he first got involved in the Uptown Comedy Club in 1993. "I started to make money doing what came naturally to me," he said.

But Morgan isn't the 24-hour funny man that one might think after having watched his act or television appearances. In fact, he admitted that "I'm only funny about five minutes out of a day."

Morgan claims that he and his wife, "don't live in that comedy world, that show business world. We are regular people. We have family nights. I just don't wake up giggling and laughing. We [comedians] tend to pull back offstage." But Morgan also added that when a comedian goes on television, "that's your personality. You're showing America you. Ninety percent of this stuff is personality."

Morgan said he is excited about performing for the Dartmouth crowd and left us with this message: "Buckle your seat belts. This is gonna be an experience. That's all I have to say. I look forward to coming. It's gonna be a beautiful experience. Some people are gonna love it, some people are gonna hate it."

See for yourself when Morgan takes the stage tonight at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium.

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