I Am the New Black
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The outrageously funny, heartbreaking, and surprising story of Tracy Morgan's rise from ghetto wiseass to superstar comedian.
Who is Tracy Morgan? The wildly unpredictable funnyman who rocketed to fame on Saturday Night Live? The Emmy-nominated actor behind the sly and ingenious character Tracy Jordan on the award-winning hit sitcom 30 Rock, whose turbulent personal life often mirrors that of his fictional alter ego? Is he Chico Divine, the life of the party--any party, anytime, anywhere, getting ladies pregnant everywhere he goes? Or is he a soulful, tender family man who emerged from a hardscrabble ghetto upbringing and against all odds achieved superstardom, raised a solid family, prevailed over a collection of lethal bad habits, and is still ascending new heights and coming into his own? The answer is: Tracy Morgan is all that. And then some.
When he was just a boy living in the Coney Island projects, being funny was about survival. With the right snap, Tracy could shut down the playground bullies who beat up on him and his physically disabled older brother. And with a wild enough prank, he could exact revenge on whoever stole his Pumas at the community pool. Later, being funny was about escape--from the untouchable sadness of his father’s death, from the desperation of the drug dealer’s trade, from the life and death battles waged on the streets of the South Bronx in the age of crack. But these days being funny is about living his dream--a dream born in the comedy clubs of Harlem and realized on shows like Martin and Saturday Night Live, where he was a cast member for seven years, and in movies like The Longest Yard and Half-Baked.
With brutal honesty and his trademark take-no-prisoners humor, Tracy tells the story of his rise to fame, with all its highs and its many lows--from the very public battles with alcohol and diabetes that threatened his career and his life to the private and poignant end of his twenty-year marriage. In his singularly warped and brilliant way he muses on family, love, sex, race, politics, ambition, and what it takes to bring the funny.
Howlingly funny, inspiring, searing, and touching, I Am the New Black is a fascinating peek inside the mind of one of the most compelling and defining comedians of our time.
everyone was enjoying the water. That’s when I swam out into the middle of the pool and took a shit the size of a Milky Way. I made sure everyone saw it too. I pointed at it and started screaming like I had no idea where it came from. They shut that place down like the beach in Jaws when them kids swim around with the fake fin! It was no joke, neither; that pool was so big that they had to drain it and treat it with chemicals, and by the time they got it going again, summer was almost over. Kids
uncles to stay away from. If you try to snatch a three-year-old in the hood, he’ll turn it around on you, steal your car, and call you a fucking pervert. There’s a reason why there are no episodes of To Catch a Predator: Hood Edition. All those would-be perpetrators would end up as corpses on Unsolved Mysteries. I can tell you right now where you can find their bodies. They’re buried in a vacant lot. Little Johnny got them with his First Glock. Riding those trains all night, I knew why I’d
struggling just to make it into the bathroom to record. I offered to bring the keyboard to him in his bed, but he wouldn’t have any of that. He loved to record in the bathroom because it had great acoustics. So I helped him get in there, sat him on the toilet, and put the synthesizer across his legs. Then I pushed the buttons for him and let him sit back and play. He was playing and singing to God directly, I could feel that. He wanted to make amends because he knew the time was near. The other
after I’d been doing comedy for a few years. The first time I played the Apollo, I got up and did a short set and I killed. I had them rolling, got the standing O, all of that. So my manager got me booked there a few weeks later. I made a very serious mistake that time—I let all of the love I got the first time go to my head. I let my ego interfere and thought that since they loved me so much, I’d be fine going out there and trying out new material that I’d never tested before a live audience. I
my body. The symptoms of my disease had been there long before I was diagnosed; I’d just gotten used to them. I’d get tired, I’d get moody, I had pains in my legs and headaches—but wasn’t that normal for someone living the life of a stand-up comedian? I never thought drinking was a problem because I didn’t bother to learn how much sugar was in vodka and champagne and beer. Ask any doctor or any diabetic; drinking was the worst thing I could have been doing. All that liquor put my blood sugar on a