Tina Fey: Tracy Morgan is “too sleepy & self-centered” to hurt anyone

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This Tracy Morgan thing continues to be a Thing. Go here for Friday’s post on what went down. Just a quick recap – about a week ago, Tracy was performing in Nashville and he pretty stopped his comedy routine to do a full-blown rant full of ridiculously offensive anti-gay hate speech. No one said anything until a gay activist – who was in the audience – blogged about it on Facebook, and then everything went crazy. After the story came out on Thursday and Friday, Tracy released an apology. Shortly after Tracy released his apology, Tina Fey released an interesting statement:

I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to “work out” their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community.

It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.

I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.

The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.

[From Deadline]

I think Tina struck the right cord there, basically giving the impression that while she accepted Tracy’s apology, he was on notice, all while standing up for him as a friend. Meanwhile, Tracy’s 30 Rock costar Cheyenne Jackson, an openly gay actor, went to Out Magazine to release a statement: “I am disgusted and appalled by Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant. The devastating repercussions of hate-filled language manifest in very real ways for today’s LGBTQ youth. I’ve known Tracy for two years, spent many long hours with him on set, and I want to believe that this behavior is not at the core of who he is. I’m incredibly disappointed by his actions, and hope that his apology is sincere.” Other performers and Hollywood types have been tweeting and blogging about all of this too – you can see some coverage here as well. My take is that people who KNOW Tracy and who have a comedy background seem to think that this was just a comedy bit that went way, WAY off-base, and that he’s not really like this as a person.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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56 Responses to “Tina Fey: Tracy Morgan is “too sleepy & self-centered” to hurt anyone”

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  1. Sumodo1 says:

    “Sleepy?” Is that a fancy new way of saying “stoned,” Tina?

  2. SD_R_SR says:

    So basically, she’s not going to fire him and in a few days hopefully this will all be swept under a nice, big rug. Tina Fey will get to keep her TV co-star, and Tracy Morgan will keep making money pretending to be a funny, goofy guy instead of a delusional maniac who’s way too interested in what goes on in other people’s bedrooms.

  3. tripmom says:

    I’m not surprised that the 30 Rock crew is handling it this way. When Alec Baldwin went on his rant and called his young daughter a thoughtless little pig I don’t remember much of a reaction from the 30 Rock crowd then either. And everyone kind of forgot about it and went back to work and it all went away.

  4. meaux says:

    Wow, I had a look on his Wikipedia page and discovered that Cheyenne Jackson, protrayer of Danny Baker, is…is….NOT CANADIAN! Now, that’s truly disappointing.

  5. the original bellaluna says:

    I think she’s putting him on notice, in a subtle way, that he’d better straighten up his act, OR ELSE. (I think it’s a warning.)

    I won’t be surprised to read he’s been “let go” sometime in the near future. It’s going to depend largely upon whether his co-workers think his apology is sincere; and whether the public views him as a “problem” or not.

    Wait for the next season: Does Tracy no longer have funny lines? Is he going to be dressed like an ass-clown? Will his paychecks end up being made out in the wrong name? Or will they end up being for some weird amount like $12.22? And most importantly, will the ratings drop?

  6. Kloops says:

    They’re giving him the benefit of a doubt bc the show is a critical success, makes money, and a lot people’s jobs rely on its success. I think Tina handled it well. Obviously, as an outsider, it’s not as satisfying as watching him get fired, but I’m not responsible for the livelihood of an entire cast and crew and I think her response was reasonable. She put him on notice. The rest is up to him.

  7. mln76 says:

    Well it’s disappointing but not surprising that Tracy is such and idiot in real life considering his well publicized past. I think with all of his health problems and the close relationship he’s had with Tina there is no way she would fire him. Even if he deserves it after all of his f—d up behavior over the years including this incident. Hopefully she can at least keep him muzzled.

    EDIT: Oh BTW I saw Cheyenne Jackson in person once sooooooo cute and pretty nice too.

  8. Robocop says:

    I’m a regular watcher of 30 Rock. It’s a funny show with a great ensemble cast — but TM is just a last minute add-on. “Hey, we need someone black on this show otherwise we’re gonna get a lot of heat!” Enter the talentless, not-funny TM and voila!! we’ve got a politically correct, balanced show!

    Tina, Tina, please find someone black, green or orange to replace that stupid hack!!

  9. leo says:

    Tracy Morgan needs to check himself. He should shut his mouth and help out with GLAAD. His cool points are going out the window!

  10. Lala says:

    In HW you can kill someone and the people will say they didn’t mean it. Look how long Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson etc. got away with their behaviour and there are still those defending them.
    TM is also a sexist pig, but no one is trashing him for that.

  11. Ron says:

    I posted on the other thread, about the rant. I have never gotten Tracy Morgan. I don’t find him funny. He’s like a toddler, it’s cute for a minute and then it smells.

  12. Alec Balwin’s unfortionate over-reaction to his daughter was before he even worked at “50 Rock”, it was ages ago. It was 20 Apr 2007, time warp, where ya been?

  13. lucy2 says:

    Tina’s statement was well thought out, and I like her point about all the coworkers. It’s a tough spot to be in, I think she handled it well. And I think Tracy better be on his best behavior from now on, because I agree it seems he’s been put on notice.

    Robocop, I have to disagree that TM was an add-on. The starting premise of the whole show was his character joining TGS and the mayhem that caused, and I’m pretty sure Tina wrote the part for him and he was cast early in the process.

    Cheyenne’s not really Canadian? So he DOES get sarcasm? :D

  14. Jag says:

    If the things he said weren’t at his core, he wouldn’t have said them previously. (All but about killing his child.) This isn’t new from him, but it is the first time people have reacted – rightly so – to it.

    Imo, he’s being kept on because the show is a hit. As others have said, if the ratings suffer, he might be let go.

  15. mln76 says:

    @Robocop you really watch the show??? Because although Tracy Morgan is an A-hole for what he said I don’t see how anyone would find his character PC. In fact a lot of Black people find his character offensive.

  16. Tracy Morgan always sounds like he is shouting to me, so loud and obnoxious. Like he is trying to shove the funny in your face and squish it around. The other chareters are way funnier.

  17. You don't say says:

    Money speaks louder than words and as long as he is integral to a hit show, he will be excused for horrid, horrid words. Its a bit like Handler and others who make money off trash talk about others and other groups. As long as the person makes money, it will be tolerated, though they should be taken down many pegs.

  18. Wif says:

    Hunchback Geek, you’re incorrect, 30 Rock premiered in 2006, and won an Emmy in 2007. I remember seeing Alec Baldwin on the View at the time, he commented on how he’d been so stressed flying between New York and LA, dividing his life between working on the show and getting to see his daughter (who he saw every weekend) that he was exhausted and just snapped when he couldn’t see her.

  19. Crash2GO2 says:

    He is detestable to the core and is only showing his true colors. I’ve never liked him, from the first sentence I have heard him utter on the television. Now my instincts have been confirmed. It’s really pretty simple. *shrug*

  20. pitd says:

    I don’t get why that was even part of his show. I mean, let’s say he didn’t really feel that way and wasn’t homophobic. Then why even joke about that? Why the need to joke about stabbing your son? Do people really find it that funny and ‘cool’ that he actually said those things on stage? It seems (to me) like that’s just how he really feels and he just went ahead and said it.

  21. Amanda G says:

    I wish he had gotten fired. Not because of what he said, but because he is the worst part of the show. Not funny at all.

    Oh well, I’m sure this won’t be the last time he rants like this since he seems to have a huge issue with gay people.

    Hunchback Geek – the show started in 2006. Where have YOU been? ;)

  22. fwozbo says:

    Tracy doth protest too much (about gays), he must be in the closet himself.

  23. Opps, I realized after I submitted that I was incorrect on when the show started. Alec Balwin was on 30 Rock when all the daughter drama took place. Thank you for the correction.

  24. ctkat1 says:

    Bob Greenblatt, the new head of NBC, is openly gay.
    On the one hand, I wouldn’t have a problem with there being more repurcussions (forcing him to attend some GLAAD sensitivity trainings, firing him, etc.) and on the other hand…I don’t know. I was in complete support of Isiah Washington getting fired from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ because his incident happened AT work, directed TO a co-worker. That seemed like the type of behavior that would get anyone fired, no matter where they worked.
    This is ignorant and disgusting, but I guess in a weird way I’m not sure it merits firing??? I don’t know, I just don’t feel as passionately about this.

  25. Wendy says:

    WHAT!! Cheyenne’s not Canadian?! I feel misled. Hope to see more of him, too. Maybe he could replace TM.

  26. Becky says:

    While Tracy Morgan’s very offensive and unfunny rant was extremely inappropriate and disturbing, I don’t think it merits being fired from “30 Rock” as it didn’t happen while he was working there. If he goes to work at “30 Rock” and is unprofessional with his co-workers (such as the situation with Isaih Washington that @ctkat1 referred to) that’s a totally different story.

    In terms of the Alec Baldwin situation, IMO there was no reason for anyone at “30 Rock” to comment or be involved as it was a personal, family situation. Truthfully, I really don’t care what my co-workers do or say outside of work (unless it’s an extreme violation of the law such as murder, rape, etc.) as long as they are cordial and professional in the workplace.

  27. TeeTee says:

    the guy is a comedian, and I think an drunk–LOL..

    I’m all for gay rights etc. but its a shame he said that but a person can make a racist statement about a black/jewish person and its overlooked..

    it was ignorant but Tracy is always trying to get laughs, he was talking about his OWN sitch and feelings and making a joke which did not go over well.

    why can’t folks let it go?? he’s apoligized, been called on the carpet etc.

    its not like he called out names, I’ve seen stars give interviewws calling blacks/jews names or insinuating things, its printed and life goes on.

    typical for this world, no freedom of sppech for certain people or topics.

  28. HotLatino says:

    Cheyenne Jackson is hot hot hot WOOF WOOF!!! and I think Tina should fire Tracy I won’t be watchin 30 rock anymore.

  29. Trillion says:

    I don’t think people are questioning freedom to speech here, just wanting him to take responsibility for saying something as vicious as “I’d stab my son if he were gay”. That’s about as comedic as a white person saying they’d hang someone for being black. ha ha. What a knee slapper.

  30. Kristin says:

    @Trillion: THANK YOU, EXACTLY.

    He may not hurt anyone himself, but by getting up on stage and spouting his speech encouraging the stigmatization of gays, that can cause problems, especially when the crowd is encouraging him. Hate begets hate.

  31. nnn says:

    I am tired of these cowards who pull out the ‘comedian’ card to legitimate their obnoxious views, immorality and obscenities.

    With them it’s the world upside down : what is morally condemnable or bankrupt becomes suddenly OK fashionable.

    You said it, own it instead of running away like a pussy pulling the comedian card at any occasian to justify or belittle the impact of your rant.

    That guy or Chelsea Handler are just assholes, pure and simple. Comedy is just the smokescreen to legitimate their inherent tendencies with obscenities and immorality taken to the highest level.

  32. SusieQ says:

    I have never, ever understood the appeal of this guy. And then to think he’s homophobic: this doesn’t help me like him.

  33. ! says:

    I think what you, the lynch mob, may be forgetting is that sometimes we have to allow room for redemption. How will people ever learn from their mistakes if we do things like call for their jobs and flip the freak out to the point that they may no longer be responsive to our point of view??

  34. Pete says:

    @TeeTee #27

    “its not like he called out names, I’ve seen stars give interviewws calling blacks/jews names or insinuating things, its printed and life goes on.

    typical for this world, no freedom of sppech for certain people or topics. ”

    You’ve got to be joking.
    Do you remember what happened to Lars von Trier when he said something insensitive about Jews?
    Do you remember what outrage there was when Charlie Sheen referred to someone with his hebraic name “Chaim”?
    Do you remember what happened when MEl Gibson went on his numerous tirades against/critisizing Jews?

    You suffer from selective memory and you are an ignorant IDIOT.
    If somebody calls someone else the n-word it is NEVER overlooked, get real!

  35. april says:

    In some of these photos, Tina looks like Elisabetta Canalis (George Clooney’s girlfriend).

  36. Chris says:

    Too self-centred to hurt another person? WTF? Self centeredness is what drives a lot of hurtful behaviour. In this case his need to get a laugh was more important to him than the rights and feelings of gay people. I also find Tina Fey’s response pathetic. If Morgan had directed such a hateful rant towards women or an ethnic minority she would’ve sacked him (I hope). But obviously gay people don’t deserve the same respect in her opinion. She’s just another sanctimonious liberal who doesn’t have the courage of her convictions.

  37. elusive says:

    I dont like TM, and from some of the interviews I’ve seen I think he is on some kind of drugs. My guess is prescribed, since he had that kidney transplant. Also, those antirejection meds he is on can make you crazy…the combination is bad. My guess is Oxy combined with antirejection meds…and whatever else he is self medicating with. I do however think he said what he meant. He probably just never meant to say it aloud.

  38. melikesit says:

    Seriously, until the government puts him in handcuffs or slaps him with some arbitrary fine for his vile comments TM’s freedom of speech hasn’t been touched at all. The 1st Amendment protects against *government* restriction and regulation of speech.

    So, until that happens he’s free to run his homophobic hate-filled mouth off as much as he wants. And others, including his employers, are free to vehemently disagree with his words and his message and call him out for it.

    Also, free speech includes accepting the consequences of and taking responsibility for the words spoken. As much as his defenders say so, there is no such thing, and there never ever has been such a thing, as freedom to say whatever the heck you want and no one can ever comment or criticize or disagree or else you have no free speech.
    And to his credit (a tiny little bit), since this went down TM hasn’t said people are overreacting and attacking him or that people can’t disagree with his words/POV or that his free speech was infringed.

  39. MollyB says:

    Ugh. I hate when people try to make these events a free speech issue. Our right to free speech means the GOVERNMENT cannot restrict our speech. It does NOT free you from the responses of your fellow citizens. He’s free to spew his hateful crap and we are free to call it hateful crap and be disgusted.

  40. mike says:

    Why is everyone so surprised or mad? 30 Rock is a cesspool of prejudice and racism, and he is one of the stars there.

    Blacks have been calling out Morgan, Fey, and the writers of 30 Rock for their crass racist “comedy” for a while now. Especially for Morgan and his coonish stereotype of a black man.

    If this thing gets him off the show, good. If this gets the show off the air, AWESOME.

    30 Rock gets props for its positive comedy on gender relations, for which Fey deserves a lot of credit, but on race? Epic FAIL.

  41. Penguen says:

    I think Tina’s statement was adequate. I admit that I’m biased because I really like her, but I do think she put him on notice.

    As for Tracy…I can’t find it in me to be angry because I’m just so disappointed. I just…ugh, I don’t GET homophobia. I honestly don’t understand how he could say these things and think it’s ok. This sort of crap just makes me sad.

    I really wish that Tracy could have some sort of life experience that teaches him about equality well enough to make him get it. I hope one day we can all look back on this sort of intolerance and regard it as archaic, uniformed, and outmoded, which is exactly what it is.

  42. jennifer says:

    I honestly think he’s an asshole, and this is just another facet of his asshole ways. I remember when he was on Punk’d, he damn near had a tantrum when he thought someone was showing him up. He seems like he’s all fun and cheeky when everyone’s got their force field up but one crack in the armor and it’s not a pretty sight.

  43. Taco lover says:

    Too sleepy? She is an idiot just like him.

  44. Kimbob says:

    LMAO!!! Tina Fey obviously has a way w/words. In her carefully-worded statement, she really tore him a new one!!! She basically called him LAZY, and called him out for being stuck on himself. Then, she proceeded to remind Tracy, and the whole world, of his precarious position w/regards to his “real value and worthiness” on the 30 Rock team, stating exactly how he is portrayed, presented…obviously he’s propped by a staff of many gays. Gays that probably make him look better, come across funnier, than he probably ever could on his own. She even flatly reminded him and the world that his steady pay is handed to him by a team of accountants that is obviously comprised of a fair amount of gay professionals. Wow…I’m blown away by her. She said all this in an extremely directly-worded, yet non-offensive (at first read). I definitely have a newfound respect for her. She’s definitely in possesion of a quiet intelligence. I’m also detecting humility in her (which I can’t seem to see/detect in the majority of other celebrities…that’s for sure).

    In her description of him being ‘sleepy,’ this may have more meaning than it first seems….maybe. I may be wrong, but I believe that Tracy is in recovery. I looked at the pics provided a couple of times after reading her statement a couple of times…she may be alluding that Tracy is on “the marijuana maintenance program,” as he DOES LOOK sleepy…maybe high in the pics, which I’ve never noticed about him previously.

  45. Kimbob says:

    P.S….I also don’t believe Tracy Morgan is anti-gay. I really don’t. I believe this is just a case of him getting a little carried away at a comedy club. He probably thought he was “onto something,” & took it way out of hand. I’ve been to comedy clubs, and sometimes, when the comedian isn’t really funny, the audience sometimes laughs at just about any utterance. After all, the reporting about this incident said no one said anything to stop him. Truth probably is, he was probably emboldened by some drunk, raucous, unevolved types. This is probably why the gay activist audience member said nothing, and instead protested on Facebook.

  46. JulieM says:

    MollyB: Well said! It is remarkable how many people do not understand the 1st Amendment. The Government limiting free speech vs. individuals liking or not liking what they see or hear and taking appropriate action. Geez.

    Never liked Tracy Morgan. Not funny, terrible actor. But, he’ll get away with it because of 30Rock’s success.

  47. tracking says:

    @Kloops, I like your take on this.

    I think she did her best to handle a bad situation with sincerity, grace, implicit wrath, and a little humor. Love her.

  48. Ally says:

    Between Lorne Michaels, Alec Baldwin and now Tracy Morgan, I’m starting to think that a key element of Tina Fey’s success in a male-dominated industry is a willingness to tolerate and work with blowhard a-holes.

  49. xxodettexx says:

    i like the way she handled it; as some point out, the show depends on a lot of people and as tina very smartly pointed out to TM in the press – a good majority of the people that make TM’s job easier and 30 rock the show that it is are LBGT… hopefully this gives the people around TM the opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue about his words and where they even came from… [@kimbob: what you said only i said it much more stupidly and longwindedly, its early!]

    as for alec baldwin calling his daughter a thoughtless pig – get OVER IT PEOPLE! my parents, whom are the most loving sweet innocent people and are giving and caring, have said much worse to me in the heat of the moment and we do not and cannot say we absolutely know what his relationship with his daughter is like, just STOP and get over it!

  50. jay says:

    “P.S….I also don’t believe Tracy Morgan is anti-gay. I really don’t. I believe this is just a case of him getting a little carried away at a comedy club. He probably thought he was “onto something,” & took it way out of hand. I’ve been to comedy clubs, and sometimes, when the comedian isn’t really funny, the audience sometimes laughs at just about any utterance. After all, the reporting about this incident said no one said anything to stop him. Truth probably is, he was probably emboldened by some drunk, raucous, unevolved types. This is probably why the gay activist audience member said nothing, and instead protested on Facebook.”

    Ah. Got it. So because he poured gas on a fire fueled by seemingly intolerant, unevolved assholes, for the sake of “laughs”, regardless of the content used, he’s probably not anti-gay, just taking advantage of the makeup of the audience? He’s not responsible because he only gave them what he assumed they’d find amusing, and it could all be explained away as “comedy”? Not so much.

    It’s on him what he chose to say, how he chose to say it, and his response NOW to having done so. If his audience got what they wished, assuming they were the type to do so, it’s still on him for having provided it.

    The blogger was in no way cowardly (for lack of a better term) for writing about it later and not protesting on the spot; especially if the feeling was as you suggested, and it illustrates why the speech was dangerous in the first place. It encouraged violence towards someone else, and it doesn’t matter if it’s because of race, orientation, or viewpoint.

    It can’t be tolerated under “free speech” laws to take away someone’s right to live “free” from retaliation for who you are. Bottom line.

  51. original kate says:

    tracy morgan needs to grow the hell up and take responsibility for his words; if everyone thought his jokes were hiliarious & brilliant he would certainly be owning them. as for whether he is funny i have no idea, i’ve never seen him in anything. he seems rather unfunny.

    tina’s statement was clever and tongue in cheek, and yes i also think a veiled warning to tracy to get himself together.

  52. texasmom says:

    What Kimbob said!

  53. NoFrank says:

    I think Tina Fey’s statement was the very definition of what used to be called “Damning with faint praise”. Read it carefully. She never says that she thinks he’s kind, or openhearted, or any of the things people usually insist in these situations; the best thing she says about him is that he is not “hateful”.

    I think she knew she had to say something, and no decisions had been made about his future on the show, and she did what she could without coming out and saying “What he did was totally fucked up and if we’d known he was like that we wouldn’t have hired him, and he’s going to be lucky if the cast and crew don’t stab him with a sharpened spoon the next time he goes to the cafeteria.”

  54. lucy says:

    Kimbob, I agree with your excellent assessment of Tina’s comment. I am continually impressed by her.

    Also agree that this is different than the Isaiah Washington situation, as others have said, that was at work and reportedly turned into a physical altercation – I don’t think TPTB had any choice there, he had to go. As for Tracy, I think NBC has a little more leeway there, but he’s lucky they didn’t just say to hell with this and can him. He’d better be on his best behavior from now on. Anyone guessing he’ll be seeking publicist recommended “treatment” soon?

  55. tango says:

    It would’ve been nice if Tina called out Morgan for his sexist remarks too. Especially since he’s condemning women for doing exactly what Tina Fey does – going to work when she has a child(ren) at home. Also, talking about “f**cking the mothers of retards” which is a reference to Sarah Palin. For some reason, Morgan has the hots for Palin. A woman, who if not famous and well known and going to work, Tina Fey wouldn’t have made lots of money and fame from portraying.

    http://www.popeater.com/2011/06/10/tracy-morgan-sexist-rant/

    But who cares about women?

  56. Crash2GO2 says:

    ” I do however think he said what he meant. He probably just never meant to say it aloud.”

    Love it.