Just two days before his 45th birthday, 30 Rock star and SNL alum Tracy Morgan will headline the Miami Ultimate Weekend at the Magic City Casino this Friday, Nov. 8. We spoke with the candid comedian about rediscovering his voice, cleaning up his act, and the one thing he asks of his Miami audiences.
Now that 30 Rock has wrapped, how does it feel to be doing your own material again?
TRACY MORGAN: It feels great. Like I've always said, it feels great to hear my voice again. If you just take Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, that's 14 years of me doing other brilliant characters and working with brilliant writers. At the same time, I got a lot of writing tips from those guys.
How has your comedic voice changed over the years?
TM: I've grown through my experiences. We all evolve. I'm a new dad again. All the ups and downs and the life turnarounds are the things that I've gone through. I can talk about those things because I survived them.
You've gotten some heat over things you've joked about, and for using "excessive" vulgarity. Where does that come from?
TM: When I was on these shows, kid and family shows, I would tend to get on stage and be a little bit more vulgar because you tend to think that you're losing your edge. After being off the show for a minute now, I found my voice again. I'm starting to move away from all that vulgarity because you don't want people to focus on the vulgarity over the funny. The funny is coming out a little bit more again.
In your ideal comedic world, would anything be taboo?
TM: In comedy, everything should be discussed. I think we got away from that because a lot of people are super sensitive. And now we have social media. People will take things you say in concert and tweet it out. We're living in different times now. I don't think a show like Diff'rent Strokes or an Archie Bunker or The Jeffersons would be able to survive right now. We were making fun of our bigotry in those days, we made fun of things. But now people are just ultra sensitive. You can't say anything. It's like political correctness has become censorship.
Do you think some of your jokes have been taken out of context, then?
TM: Absolutely. I'm in a comedy show, not a sandwich shop or an airport. I'm on stage telling jokes. Those are characters that I'm doing and stories that I'm telling. Unfortunately, some found it offensive and I apologized to them for that.
What advice would you give to aspiring comedians?
TM: Be who you are. Just be free.
What element of the Miami lifestyle provides the most material for your standup?
TM: The nightlife. It's over the top. It's ridiculous. Miami is a swinging town.
What message do you have for your Miami audiences?
TM: I just want to let Miami know, when you come see me, please put away your camera phones and your recorders and just enjoy the show! Put it all away. Everything has its place, and that's not the place for social media.
Tracy Morgan will perform at the Magic Casino on Friday, Nov. 8, at 8:30 p.m. General Admission tickets are $50. 450 N.W. 37th Ave., Miami, 305-649-3000