Tracy Morgan’s Weekend: Apologies and Then an Award

by | June 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM | 30 Rock, TV News

Tracy Morgan (Photo: Getty Images)

Tracy Morgan (Photo: Getty Images)

What a weekend it’s been for Tracy Morgan, who offended so many people when he raged against homosexuals as part of his standup act.

Apparently, he issued this tirade back on June 3, at a performance in a Nashville comedy club, but it took a few days for it to come to light – exploding this past Friday. Morgan issued an apology, and then his “30 Rock” producer, Tina Fey, and his network, NBC, issued apologies.
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Tracy Morgan Apologizes for Shocking Homophobic Rant

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Fey’s statement – reported here — was particularly eloquent. “Stand-up comics may have the right to ‘work out’ their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience,” Fey said, “but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT community. It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.”

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Watch Tracy Morgan drive Tina Fey crazy in this past season’s final episode of “30 Rock”:

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The thing Morgan reportedly said that drew the most attention was his contention – delivered in the context of a standup comedy act – that he’d be so incensed and upset if he had a gay son that he would “pull out a knife and stab” him. Yes, it’s pretty strong stuff.

At some point, fellow comedian Chris Rock first sided with Morgan in a Tweet in which he defended freedom of speech for comedians. But when the activist group GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) – plus a lot of other people – condemned Rock, he withdrew his support for Morgan, according to this story in the Hollywood Reporter. Also in the story: Wanda Sykes, a comedian who just happens to be a lesbian, weighed in with her opinion of both Morgan and Rock. Spoiler alert: She disagrees with both of them.

Then, the story continued as Morgan received an award at a television festival in Monte Carlo (though it wasn’t clear if he was there to receive it personally). In fact, this particular award – Best Actor in a Comedy Series (in what? The entire world?) – would not even have received much attention in the U.S. media if Morgan hadn’t become so recently embroiled in this controversy. Now, the award is reported with words such as “despite” or “amid controversy – as in “despite deeply offending many with recent remarks in which Tracy Morgan seemed to condone violence against gay people, he received an international honor over the weekend.” That’s the approach this story on Deadline.com took.

We’ve been wrong before about these things, but we happen to think this incident will blow over before it ever has a chance to adversely affect “30 Rock,” which isn’t even returning until next winter because Tina Fey is pregnant. However, Morgan ought to be more careful – the livelihoods of all the people he works with on “30 Rock” depend on it. And many of them are gay too, as Tina Fey pointed out.

Said she: “I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers on ’30 Rock,’ without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.”


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