May 16, 2014

Coming Soon: Tracy Morgan


"I do what I do. There are too many personalities that I have to deal with. Everybody don't like Cap'n Crunch, some people like Chex Mix, I get that. I'm not upset with anyone. But I'm gonna tell my story, how I do it."
-Tracy Morgan

You know, the season may be over, but that's no reason to sing the summertime blues at The Paramount. Come to think of it, there's nothing blue about summers in Austin at all. Temperatures climb, and some people have been known to get crazy from the heat (It helps keep Austin weird, after all). Like an oasis in the desert, The Paramount Theatre is a perfect way to escape those sky-high temps. However, an upcoming show may only offer a respite from the heat while keeping the crazy. Why, you ask? Because we got a whole new brand of insanity coming to the stage, and his name is Tracy Morgan.

Yes, that Tracy Morgan. You know the guy: successful yet polarizing comedian, film star, voice actor, wild card, joker. Emmy-nominated for his role as Tracy Jordan in the critically-acclaimed "30 Rock," Morgan is loud and outrageous, but also crazier than a bag full of cats. Get ready, Austin. We're taking weird up a notch, and there's no telling what could come out of this guy's mouth. Chances are, it'll be cray cray.

A staple of the stand-up circuit for years, Morgan grew up in Brooklyn and performed his comedy in his way. After some small but memorable parts in movies and TV shows, Tracy hit the big time when he landed a gig as a regular Saturday Night Live cast member. While his comedy proved to be an "acquired taste," it wasn't long before Tracy began to bark his way into American pop culture.

In 2006, Tina Fey launched a pet project of hers, a prime-time comedy, and brought Tracy Morgan with her. On "30 Rock," he then took his game to a whole new level. Morgan was hilarious as Tracy Jordan, a loose cannon comedian who is called upon to anchor a show but keeps everyone on edge because of his loud and unpredictable tendencies (sound familiar?). At first, I always felt that Morgan was playing a caricature of Martin Lawrence (the meltdown running-in-the-street Martin Lawrence, mind you) and that made for an interesting character during the first season. Yet as seasons went on I realized that Morgan was actually playing an exaggerated version of himself. It's not easy to stand out on a show that showcased the talents of so many, but Tracy set himself apart in a boisterous way only he could pull off.

Alas, Morgan is no one-trick pony. He's parlayed his success into other ventures. Morgan wrote an autobiography a few years ago and has provided voice work for the Rio animated movies. Tracy also co-starred in Cop Out, an action/comedy also featuring Bruce Willis. A throwback of sorts to old buddy action movies like 48 Hours, Morgan played the "Eddie Murphy role" (if, you know, Murphy was louder, sweatier and even more raw and delirious).

Soon Tracy will be bringing his game back to TV screens in a FXX comedy produced but the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" gang. If his work on NBC pushed the envelope of restraint, then his appearance on a network like FXX will likely put that envelope directly into the paper shredder.

Not that Tracy Morgan is all play and no work. He's worked to offend and isolate many throughout the years, often by "going too far" in expressing candid opinions in interviews. While surely his remarks are simply meant to play for laughs, he's certainly ruffled some feathers. It's sometimes kind of amazing that he hasn't burned bridges left and right through his career.

Tracy, it seems, was born without the filter that most of us have in place before we speak our mind. You know how you see something that irks you and for a split second you wanna rant or otherwise verbally throttle them? Then, after that momentary flare, you realize that you a sane and respectable member of society and dial your reaction back to an eye roll or exasperated exhale. That's completely normal. And yeah, um... that's not Tracy. When he speaks, you're most likely to laugh, but every now and then you're just as likely to gasp and briefly recoil. Maybe you're even laugh in spite of yourself.

And truth be told, that's part of Morgan's appeal. It's simple, and yet it's more than Morgan just "keeping it real." At time of our lives he all have had that friend that is exactly like Tracy Morgan. You remember the guy. He was in college, or a former co-worker, or an in-law. Heck, they may be your relative right now. They speak their mind, you cringe, then giggle or guffaw because you can't believe what you just friggin' heard. And even though you were sometimes shocked, you still liked the guy because he was funny. Because he was crazy.

Tracy Morgan is coming y'all. Come on Saturday, June 28th at 8:00 p.m. and see him turn it funny. Come for the initial laughs and then stay... for the cray.


1 comment:

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