By the time it concluded earlier this year, the television comedy series 30 Rock had amassed a sizeable fan base thanks to a nonstop barrage of intricately crafted jokes and patently bizarre plotlines that subverted typical sitcom conventions. Of the ensemble cast, none embodied the show's absurdist glee quite like Tracy Morgan portraying his own ridiculously erratic alter ego, Tracy Jordan. Pampered and egotistical, the fictional Tracy was a cartoonish live wire, spouting such memorable non sequiturs as "heavy is the head that eats the crayon" as he worked toward the rarefied goal of achieving an EGOT (a.k.a. winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). The real-world Tracy, by contrast, has spent years in the trenches of comedy. Finding in standup a means to escape the poverty of his childhood, Morgan obtained small parts in movies and television before gaining national recognition as an eight-season cast member of Saturday Night Live. Morgan's supposed success story, however, has been shadowed by a number of deeply regrettable choices, including a notoriously ill-conceived standup bit that was deemed violently homophobic, and another criticized for ridiculing the disabled. Though Morgan apologized for both instances, the damage to his reputation still hasn't been completely repaired. Nevertheless, audiences at Morgan's upcoming performance shouldn't expect anything less than candidly risible material drawn directly from a lifetime of absurdities that exceed even his fictional counterpart's wildest imagination. (Photo by F. Scott Schafer courtesy of NBC)
Wed., March 20, 7 p.m., 2013
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