Tracy Morgan to Headline Funny or Die Lineup at SXSW (Exclusive)

Best: Tracy Morgan's Return
Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

"It's been a long road back. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days," said Tracy Morgan before presenting the final award of the night. "When I finally regained consciousness, I was ecstatic to learn I wasn't the one who messed up. Only recently I've started to feel like myself again, which means a whole lot of y'all women are gonna get pregnant at the after-party."

Ghostface Killah & Raekwon are also performing.

Tracy Morgan will make his SXSW debut as part of Funny or Die's annual festival lineup. 

The funnyman is set to perform March 14 as part of Funny or Die Junction, a two-day lineup of comedy and music at Austin, Texas' Scoot Inn. 

The event kicks off Sunday, March 13, with a comedy show featuring Baron Vaughn, Rory Scovel, Jay Larson, Barry Rothbart, Joe Pera and Sam Jay. The evening will be headlined by music acts Penguin Prison and Alison Wonderland. The next day, DJ R-Rated will spin tunes during the afternoon before Morgan takes the stage for an evening set. Ghostface Killah & Raekwon will close out the night.

Morgan began a U.S. tour this month following his recovery from a 2014 car accident that left him in a coma for two weeks. His return to the comedy stage began last year with a turn as host on Saturday Night Live and an appearance at the Emmys. 

"We had a short list of names and Tracy was at the top of it," says Patrick Starzan, senior vp marketing and G.M. social media at Funny or Die. "We reached out to his management and they were really into it. It worked out in terms of the timing for him as he's getting back into touring and stand-up."

Funny or Die — the online comedy network founded by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy — has had a presence at SXSW for the last seven years but three years ago expanded its efforts with a lineup of entertainment. In 2014, the company booked Bill Cosby to headline the event. The following year, Hannibal Buress and Tig Notaro performed.

This year, Funny or Die has brought on partner Shake Shack to provide an afternoon of free food and water bottle maker S'well as a presenting sponsor during its Sunday party. 

"SXSW is a unique event in terms of the types of people who are there from the entertainment, tech and media worlds," says Starzan. "It's important for us to interact in the Venn diagram of people because we work in all of those worlds."  

He adds that Funny or Die is making a push into the events space, having hosted a comedy tent at the Treasure Island Music festival in San Francisco last fall and adding Comic-Con to its lineup this year. "For us to have an activation to show what Funny or Die can do in a physical location is important for us," he says. "It's another great brand extension." 

Funny or Die will also roll out a multipronged social media strategy to connect its viewers with the live events happening during SXSW. This includes behind-the-scenes interviews on Periscope with talent, Snapchat stories from inside Scoot Inn and other content from the streets of Austin.