Tracy Morgan returned to the Stern Show on Monday, connecting with Howard and co-host Robin Quivers from his 30,000-square-foot house in New Jersey. The actor and comedian is quarantining at home right now, like so many others since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but still feels like he has a critical job to do.
“This is God’s way of testing all the comedians,” Tracy told Howard. “I know why I’m here. I’m here to bring hope and laughter to people who sit in front of that fucking TV all day long and count bodies. I just want them to forget about it for a minute.”
Unlike most people self-quarantining right now, the amenities in Tracy’s legendary mansion include everything from a bowling alley and indoor movie theater to an aquarium and basketball court. As much as he enjoyed describing his tricked-out house for Howard, he remained humble when asked about the headline-generating kindness he’s shown since COVID-19 has taken hold.
In mid-March, someone published a Facebook video showing Tracy at a Chinese restaurant as he beguiled the other patrons with jokes and encouraged them to continue supporting local business as best they can in the age of coronavirus. He even reportedly bought food for about 20 customers. “It was amazing,” a witness wrote in a caption accompanying video footage of what went down.
Howard asked Tracy on Monday about that extraordinary act of generosity, but the comedian refused to take much credit. “They gave me political asylum and some shrimp rolls,” Morgan joked of what happened at the restaurant.
As it turned out, Tracy’s quarantine group on Monday included not only his wife but also his masseuse, one of his fellow comedians, and even his barber.
“I just sterilized my house two days ago and they had space suits on. So, we good,” he said.
His protective measures also included gloves and a face mask, the latter of which Tracy turned into a makeshift bra at one point. “This look like a training bra in Cancun, right?” he said while showing off his stuff.
Unfortunately, covering up one’s face sometimes leads to misunderstandings. Tracy recounted his recent run-in with a masked woman who appeared quite beautiful—at first. “She took her mask off and her mouth looked like Leon Spinks,” he joked. “She had three teeth and two of those were in her pocket. She looked like the Tiger King’s husband.”
With so many people going into and out of his house, though, Howard wondered if gloves and a mask were enough. “I’m not worrying about corona, okay? Personally, I’m worried about another Walmart truck,” Tracy laughed, referencing his near fatal accident in 2014.
After taking a moment to reflect on how much money the settlement from that crash netted him, however, Tracy decided another encounter with a truck owned by a multi-billion dollar company might not be all that bad. “I want Amazon this time, baby,” he joked. “I’m going for the big boy. I’m out on that turnpike every day.”
But Howard still wondered if his guest was taking the disease seriously enough. “I’m not being cavalier, I just can’t live in fear all day long,” Tracy explained at one point. “It’s exhausting.”
Furthermore, he believes laughing is more important than ever during these turbulent times. “My sense of humor is a gift to the world to take our mind off things for a minute, just for a minute,” he said.
While the comedian served up a smattering of jokes Monday morning, he also made several serious points. “We must be and let these people find a vaccine and a cure,” Tracy said. “We must stay vigilant and we must pray for those who passed on from it or are getting sick.”
“To the nurses and the doctors and the first responders and everybody involved: man, you’re my hero. I love you. Keep working hard. We need you and, really, that’s coming from my heart. Fuck show business. These people are out there, man. They’re on the frontlines dealing with this shit. And to the scientists that’s trying to really quickly come up with a cure: we’re here, we’re waiting,” he continued. “Everyone is trying to do their part.”
Tracy is certainly doing his part, having recently filmed the long-anticipated sequel “Coming 2 America” and also the upcoming third season of his hit TBS sitcom “The Last O.G.”
In “Coming 2 America,” set for release in December, Morgan co-stars as Reem, a Queens hustler who also happens to be the uncle of Eddie Murphy’s long-lost son. “It’s gonna be awesome. I always wanted to work with one of my idols,” Tracy said. “I got an opportunity to work with him and we did it at the right time, baby, because when this is all over—yo, listen, that’s going to be the thing to do: go see ‘Coming 2 America.’”
Murphy has famously performed a spot-on impression of Tracy Morgan in the past and Howard wondered what that felt like to watch. “Yo, that’s like Michael Jackson writing a song just for you. That was iconic,” Tracy said.
Tracy and comedian Tiffany Haddish star on “The Last O.G.” which this season features retired boxer Mike Tyson. “How is Mike as an actor?” Howard wondered.
“He’s hilarious. He’s funny. He’s one of the smartest men I’ve ever met in my life,” Tracy said, explaining that Mike and his “Coming 2 America” co-stars Murphy and Arsenio Hall have each helped make him a better person. “They give me knowledge, they give me wisdom, and they give me understanding.”
Before signing off, Tracy offered one final message of hope for Howard and his Stern Show listeners. “Everybody please stay safe out there, and stay home, and—since you’re quarantined—watch ‘The Last O.G.’”
Tracy Morgan’s “The Last O.G.” returns Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.