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Tracy Morgan is back and better than ever. Nearly four years after sustaining critical injuries in a New Jersey car crash, the comedian is making his triumphant return to TV on Tuesday night in the TBS comedy The Last O.G.
Though Morgan is grateful for what he considers “a second chance,” he told The Hollywood Reporter that he is “continuing where I left off” — meaning fans can expect more of his signature raunchy humor. According to the Saturday Night Live alum, he had no reservations about bringing his show to cable TV, where some four-letter words are off-limits.
“I’ve been doing this kind of comedy my entire career, and I was on network television for a while. TBS felt like the perfect home for The Last O.G.,” he said while promoting the series during a recent screening at the William Vale in Brooklyn, hosted by the Cinema Society. “They gave me a lot of creative freedom and the freedom to express my type of comedy.”
Proving his point, Morgan added with a laugh: “I tell dick jokes. I say ‘motherfucker,’ even though it might get bleeped, whenever I want. You know, you can’t stop me. TBS has been great.”
On The Last O.G. — which originated at FX before moving to TBS in late 2016 — Morgan plays Tray, an ex-con attempting to rebuild his life and win back his ex Shay (Tiffany Haddish) after a 15-year prison stint.
Before it was produced, the single-camera comedy, created by Jordan Peele and John Carcieri, was the subject of a multiple-network bidding war, with TBS edging out Comedy Central for the series. FX had ordered a pilot but ultimately passed; Peele and Carcieri rewrote the script once it was picked up with a 10-episode order at TBS.
The Emmy-nominated Morgan went on to say that, throughout his decades-long career, he’s figured out how to make people laugh regardless of the FCC’s somewhat restrictive guidelines. “I feel like I’ve mastered the art of doing that kind of comedy on TV,” he continued. “So I wasn’t worried about what I could or couldn’t do.”
While The Last O.G. is full of dirty one-liners, Morgan told THR that he also put “a lot of heart” into the show’s script. The former 30 Rock star is hoping that Tray’s story, which he said is loosely based on his own life, will leave viewers with a newfound sense of compassion for others.
“We’ve all made mistakes in life, right? This show is all about redemption and forgiveness. If I can forgive the truck driver who hit me and killed my friend [comedian James McNair], then there’s hope for everyone,” Morgan explained. “I want you to laugh hard, but I really want you to love hard, too.”
The Last O.G. premieres Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on TBS.
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