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Tracy Morgan on returning to big screen after crash: 'It was kind of scary'

The comedian is back in fine form in his new comedy "Fist Fight," but his 2014 car crash is far from forgotten.
/ Source: TODAY

If you've been wondering when you'd next see Tracy Morgan return to the big screen, wonder no more. After a deadly 2014 car crash that left the former "30 Rock" star in a coma and killed his fellow comedian James McNair, Morgan is back on the big screen in "Fist Fight."

But don't think it was easy for him to pick things back up again.

"It was kind of scary," he told TODAY's Matt Lauer on Wednesday. "I hadn't been in front of a camera, so I didn't know [what it would be like]. I didn't know if the timing was going to be there ... the comedic instinct would still be there, I didn't know."

RELATED: Tracy Morgan emotional in first interview since crash: 'Pain will always be there'

He credits the film's director with helping make the transition easier. "A lot of studios won't mess with a person who just came out in a coma," he said. "But my boy Richie Keen ... he put it on the line for me and gave it a shot.... When I got in front of the camera, we did one or two or three takes and then I had to have a moment. He gave me my moment and I stood back and ... I let it all out and then we went to work."

Tracy Morgan on TODAY
Tracy Morgan gets plenty of laughs out of Matt Lauer during his TODAY visit.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Clearly, Morgan is a fighter, since he rallied back from some scary days following the accident where his walking and speech were impaired. But "Fist Fight," which centers around a match between two teachers, reminded him of a different kind of scary time — high school.

"I had one guy named Harold; he terrorized me," said Morgan, noting that the kid would show up at his classes and make punching motions into his fist. But getting bullied helped Morgan find his talent.

RELATED: Tracy Morgan's 2-year-old daughter a 'star player' in helping him walk again

"When I started losing fights, I started making them laugh, the bullies ... then I'd take them upstairs and cook them hot dogs, especially on the 1st and 15th [of the month] when my mother got her welfare checks."

Tracy Morgan in "Fist Fight"
Tracy Morgan helps Jillian Bell and Charlie Day out in "Fist Fight."Fist Fight FULL MOVIE/Facebook

And lest you think he's just joking around, he's not! "True story," insisted Morgan.

"Fist Fight" opens in theaters on Friday, March 17.

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