A truck crash nearly killed Tracy Morgan, but it revived his comedy career.
“I got hit by a truck, it was a great story. So that’s what happened. I had a story to tell,” Morgan, 48, told People on Monday. “When anything ever badly happened to me I made it funny and I turned it good. This was a bad thing that happened to me. I wanted to tell my story, but I also want to continue my standup career because all the great things that ever happened to me in my life came through standup.”
Morgan’s Netflix special “Staying Alive” was released Tuesday on the streaming service.
“All the great things came through standup. I’m just continuing it,” he continued. “Why would I stop? [The accident] wasn’t going to stop me. As long as I could stand up and grab the mic, I was going to tell my story.”
In 2014, the “30 Rock” star was severely injured when a Walmart truck hit a van carrying him and fellow comic James McNair, who died in the accident, as well as comedians Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton, who were also seriously injured in the collision. Morgan reportedly pocketed $90 million from Walmart when they settled their lawsuit in 2015.
“When you look at my earlier work, this is growth. This was me growing a thousand years at the speed of light,” Morgan explained of his comedic evolution. “I look at my old stuff and then I look at this stuff, and I say, ‘Damn. I’ve grown a lot.’ And that’s what it was. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy and some of my greatest material came out of it to date. I don’t know what’s going to come next, hopefully nothing tragic happens like that.”
Morgan’s work ethic was also transformed by the experience.
“I worked hard to come back,” he said. “I’m not talking about just standup, I’m talking about getting up out that wheelchair. To get up off that walker, I was working hard. I was working hard when I was in a coma. I have a young daughter, I have a wife and I got sons, I got to be here. I’m a fighter, and I fought. That’s what I did with this standup, I fought to do it right.”
“The reason I work so hard is I’m afraid to be corny,” Morgan added. “I’m not going to go into no big speech about it. I just don’t want to be corny. My need to help others and my need to love others, that’s what has changed. I know it has. Me as a person changed.”