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Most people know Tracy Morgan as a lighthearted comedian and actor. But on Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist, Morgan opened up about his difficult past, parts of which will be storylines in the new season of his comedy, "The Last O.G."
The show follows a man named Tray, played by Morgan, who begins a new chapter in life after finishing a 15-year prison sentence. The comedy was co-created by Jordan Peele and stars Tiffany Haddish and other big names.
Morgan, 50, told Geist that he named the show after his late friend James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, whom Morgan described as "the O.G." McNair died in a car crash in 2014; Morgan was a passenger in the same vehicle traveling home from a comedy show when it was hit by a Walmart tractor-trailer.
“I got hit by a truck,” he said. “I wasn't supposed to walk away from that. That truck was doing 75 miles per hour, and I walked away from that. Second chances is a beautiful thing.”
When asked if there was ever a point in his recovery when he thought he may never return to comedy, Morgan replied, “Every day,” adding that he didn’t even know if he was ever going to be able to walk or talk again.
But he has a habit of beating the odds.
His father died of AIDS in 1987, and Morgan grew up on welfare. When he was a teen, his mom kicked him out of the house after finding drugs, a plotline Morgan decided to include in "The Last O.G."
“It's real,” he said of the show. “It was ripped from my life. You're gonna meet my mother. My mother kicked me out of the house when I was 17 'cause she found my crack spot — my crack stash. You gonna see all of that.”
Even though the show is a comedy, Morgan said this season is deep and emotional. “The storyline is so grounded.”
“God didn't bless me with material,” he said. “He blessed me with a sense of humor. If I can't laugh at it, I'm gonna cry. I'm done crying.”
Season two of "The Last O.G." premieres Tuesday, April 2 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on TBS.