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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Self-isolation has only made Tracy Morgan interviews weirder

Illustration for article titled Self-isolation has only made Tracy Morgan interviews weirder
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers (YouTube)

Tracy Morgan gives some of the best talk show interviews in the business. He approaches them not, like so many other celebrities, as an opportunity just to promote his new work with a polite back and forth, but as chances for him to act as an agent of chaos, debuting whatever jokes he’s been thinking up regardless of how appropriate they may be for the late night format.


Now, having nurtured this instinct over a month of quarantine, Morgan’s been out doing the circuit, theoretically to advertise the new season of The Last OG, but in practice to try out his best self-isolation jokes.

Three of these interview segments were uploaded yesterday. The first, which gives a good idea of what to expect from the rest, sees Morgan guesting on Late Night With Seth Meyers through a home video call where he spends a bunch of time playing around with a medical mask and gloves while detailing how good they are for role-playing with his wife. He calls the whole pandemic situation “freaky-deaky,” completely rejects Meyers’ question that he should name his fish and sharks (“They don’t even have brains, they just have nerves”), and explains how they’re holding up (“They don’t like wearing the hospital masks in the water”). He also says that he’s home schooling his kids with lessons like going “to the turnpike on a field trip [to] teach them how to get hit by a FedEx truck,” and says his wife’s gotten pregnant once a week in role-playing sessions where she pretends to be “the young maiden whose grandfather was infected with coronavirus and I’m the scientist who found the cure and she’ll do anything to save her grandfather. And I mean anything.”

His appearance on Conan goes pretty much the same, but, because he’s calling from in front of his aquarium, immediately gives him even more opportunities to pretend to lose an arm while making pirate noises. Once again, he talks about getting his wife pregnant every week (“I wear my mask and I wear my gloves, but I ain’t wearing no condom”). He also discusses how his aunt is keeping her family’s ten kids safe by covering their faces with her “66DD” bra, talks about the upcoming threat of the “Olde English Virus,” sings “Tomorrow” from Annie, and describes going to the doctor to get diagnosed with having “three crabs.”

The best of these is probably Morgan’s recent spot on NBC’s Today, mostly because he doesn’t change his approach at all for a morning show where he’s not being interviewed by another comedian. Hoda Kotb tries to lead Morgan into a family-friendly conversation about life in quarantine and instead gets the same routine about role-playing with his constantly pregnant wife.

“You’re a creative one,” Kotb says in response.

Morgan smiles back from the other end of the call like a happy kid then goes on to continue with material about taking the “600-pound Silverback gorilla” he just bought “down to New York Presbyterian to get tested.”

“Corona’s doing this to me!” he yells when Conan doubles over laughing at one point during their interview. “I ain’t got nothing but time to think all this craziness,” Morgan says. “I’m just letting it out!”


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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.