Sunday, January 3, 2010

My favorite quotes from Tracy Morgan's autobiography

I am the new bald.

And, in an effort to read as many books about stand-up comedy as I possibly can before school starts up again tomorrow (boo, I mean, yay!), I stayed up late cramming in Tracy Morgan's autobiography, "I am the New Black."

Though I'm quite sure that I'm not the primary target audience for this book ("I see you brand-new white, blond, blue-eyed 30 Rock fans!" says Morgan on page 176), I got some laughs out of it, and read it in record time: even less time than the few hours it took me to read Paul Shaffer's book.

I'm a fan of Morgan's stand up. In comedy writing class each year, I like to point out that he is the only comic I know who becomes funnier as his delivery becomes more stilted, so I was delighted to find out how Morgan explains his delivery himself.

That quote, and these others, are my favorites from the book:

1. On his comedy style

"My (comedy style) was to elevate my insult by acting it out. It's like putting an accent on top of an accent and then telling a joke. If you don't get what I'm talking about, then you probably don't understand what's funny about my funny at all."

2. On white versus black audiences

"When you do comedy in front of a white audience, and you're not good, they just sit there. Black real loud and usually they throw stuff."

3. On reality TV

"The kind of easy fame that comes from reality TV has made fame crackheads out of people who might have had a normal life, and it's made people without talent think they can be stars. Handing fame to someone like that is like giving a drug addict your bank card and PIN."

4. On the Tracy Morgan Show being cancelled

"After sixteen (episodes) aired, NBC pulled out. Here's how I found out: I was waiting for the show to come on one night, and a fucking infomercial came on instead."

5. On a woman hating you versus being fed up with you

"Once a woman is fed up, there's nothing you can do to regain her love. If she hates you, that's fine, you've still got a chance. Fuck that; if she hates you, you're still in!"

6. On meeting Chaka Khan

"Chaka Khan tried to tongue-kiss me. I'm serious - Chaka just leaned in and went for it, and her breath smelled like Bacardi and franks. When she came back from the bathroom, I pointed at her and said, "See! There she is! She just tried to kiss me!"

7. On meeting Prince

"I grabbed him by the back of his neck, pulled his face close to mine, looked him right in the eye and said, "I have to tell you something, man. My father loved "Condition of the Heart."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Prince said. "Motherfucker, get out."

8. On why his character on 30 Rock works

"Tracy Jordan is more familiar to people than some of the other characters on the show. How many people who watch 30 Rock are friends with top network executives? Not many. How many people know crazy black motherfuckers? A lot!"

9. On comedians

"Comics are not happy clowns. They are dark people, all of them, no matter how they grew up or what color they are. Anyone who has devoted his life to comedy and making people laugh wants to see that joy reflected back at him by rooms full of people, because he's never seen that kind of happiness anywhere else."

10. On other big-name comics

"Anybody can be Ray Romano, anybody can be Seinfeld. It's easy to find the middle of the road when the highway is eight lanes wide. I grew up on Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and fucking Eddie Murphy."


  1. Just commenting to say the last two posts were great, I'm looking forward to getting into the three, especially the "Showbiz" one.

  2. Thanks Dave.

    There's something good in all of the books, but I like I'm Dying Up Here best.

  3. Was watching eddie Murphy Delirious yesterday. Lend me this book!!!! I can't afford to buy it. Interesting trades?

  4. Great review. I'd definitely like to read this -- Tracy is my favourite thing about 30 Rock. Liz and Jack are funny, but nothing cracks my shit up like Tracy.

    "I don't believe in one way streets. Not between people, and not while I'm driving."

  5. The book is written in the same voice he uses on the show: his!

    He says that Tina Fey is the only person who understands that for him to be funny, he needs to be himself.

  6. My wife is reading this book right now and she cracks up constantly with Morgan's sense of humour. His life has never stopped being interesting. I'll be reading it after her as time allows.


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