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Arts and Entertainment

Tracy Morgan's Touching & Heartfelt Speech In The Emmys' Media Room

Tracy Morgan at the media room at the 2015 Emmy Awards (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
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It's good to see Tracy Morgan back on stage. The former SNL and 30 Rock cast member made his first appearance on stage at the Emmys tonight since he was badly hurt in a deadly crash that took place last year. Not only was his speech on stage touching, it was also his talk in the media room that left him choked up.

Morgan gave a bittersweet speech while presenting an Emmy at downtown L.A.'s Microsoft Theater, interspersing serious comments with jokes. The crowd's reaction to seeing him get on stage was uproarious. "I’m honored to be here at the Emmys," Morgan said. "It’s been a long road back. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days, and when I regained consciousness I was ecstatic to learn I wasn’t the one who messed up." The crowd laughed.

"Only recently have I started to feel like myself again," Morgan continued, "Which means a whole lot of women are going to get pregnant at the afterparty."

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In the media room, Morgan sat in a chair while talking to reporters. When asked how it felt to be on stage, he said: "It had been 15 months (referring to his recovery period). When I got on the stage it was overwhelming for me. I just had to not be so emotional at that moment and I just wanted to let them know I missed them very much."

Morgan also talked about the extent of his injuries, saying that you could still see the scars on his head, and that when the crash first happened, he couldn't see or walk. "Months and months went by and part of my therapy was seeing TV and seeing my friends and saying to them I'm coming back," he said. "My wife made sure of that. My therapist... It was bigger than TV for me at that moment. I wanted to walk my wife down the aisle with no cane. I'm going to go back."

When asked if there was ever a time that he wanted to give up, he credited his wife, Megan Wollover, for keeping him going. He also mentioned Jimmy McNair, the comedian who died in the same crash that happened on the New Jersey Turnpike in June 2014 when the driver of a Walmart truck crashed into a limo carrying Morgan, McNair and others. "Well, my wife wouldn't let me do that. My son wouldn't let me do that. My own daughter wouldn't let me do that. I just hope my tragedy and Jimmy's death isn't in vain. I hope the the thing that happened to me can be prevented now—from people just dying on the road."

He continued, getting choked up. "I don't give up. My father was trapped in the Vietnam when he was 17. I never saw him give up. So I wanted to be like my father. He had AIDS, he never gave up. So, we don't do that as Morgans!"

A reporter asked Morgan how he was able to go through this experience and still make it funny. "I'm here," Morgan said. "If God can get you to it, he can get you through it. We'll get through it, and that's all my wife can say: 'We'll get through it. You'll get to the funny again.' And we did that tonight."

He recalled when he was a cast member of SNL when 9/11 happened, and he, too, wondered how they were going to get funny again after this tragedy just occurred. He credits SNL creator Lorne Michaels for showing the cast the way. Morgan said Michaels said, "'Let's bring Mayor Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York City at the time, come on TV and tell the world it's time for us to start laughing again?' That's what we did."

Morgan then told a joke. "I want everybody to know that Will Farrell said, 'You know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice.'"

When the crowd laughed, Morgan said, "See?! 18 wheels! It's going to take more."

As for who wrote his Emmys speech tonight, Morgan said it was him, his manager Lewis Kay, and comedian Jeff Stilson who got together to pen it. "We just sat down and it just came from the heart. I just wanted to say to my peers and my comrades in TV land, thank you very much."

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