Laughs and winces as Tracy Morgan returns to stand-up with Netflix special ‘Staying Alive’

Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive
Comedian Tracy Morgan, critically injured in a 2014 road accident, returns to the stage in the Netflix special “Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive.” (Cara Howe)

In June 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan, formerly of “Saturday Night Live” and lately late of “30 Rock,” was returning to New York from a show in Delaware when the minibus in which he was riding was struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck. Fellow comic James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed; Morgan was hospitalized with broken bones and a brain injury. He was briefly in a coma.

Almost two years later, Morgan made his return to the stage with his Picking Up the Pieces tour; an October appearance in Red Bank, N.J., not far from where the accident happened, was filmed for Netflix, which has been investing in high-profile stand-up specials by comics including Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, Maria Bamford and Jim Gaffigan. Morgan’s premieres Tuesday for streaming, under the title “Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive.”

The special begins with a filmed opening, with nods to “Saturday Night Fever,” as Morgan cruises Brooklyn with a Wal-Mart bag full of settlement money; he buys three slices of pizza instead of two, and he eats them piled one on top of another. A gag transports him into a John Travolta white suit and onto the stage of the theater, which is set with a table and armchair into which he occasionally collapses. One suspects this may be a matter of necessity, but mostly, he is on his feet and moving, encouragingly, and carrying an hour of material in his head.

There is a shape to it; with a few video projections and lighting cues, you could call it a theater…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

More from Around the Web

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from our network of site partners.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest