Tracy Morgan doesn’t remember much of June 7, 2014, after a Walmart truck driver asleep at the wheel caused a six-vehicle collision on the New Jersey turnpike, sending the van carrying him and three friends on their way home from his show spinning into a ditch and leaving him comatose.
“I was gone,” he said Tuesday on The Howard Stern Show.
He’s since made an extraordinary physical, mental and career comeback, headlining a national stand-up tour.
“I just feel fortunate, you know? People say you were blessed. No, I was blessed when I was born,” he said. “We all are blessed.”
“No, you are blessed because doctors gave you less than a 2 percent chance of living,” Stern said.
“Yeah, but God gave me a second chance,” the comic insisted.
Two weeks into fighting for his life, Morgan learned that his mentor, comedian James McNair aka Uncle Jimmy Mack, had been lost in the crash.
“Jimmy Mack was my OG. My OG. 62 years old. So he was the uncle that I never had,” Morgan said. “When I was acting crazy, he would pull me to the side, ‘Let me talk to you, young blood. Let me pull your coat, young blood.’”
Investigators also discovered the Walmart driver, Kevin Roper, had been awake for 28 hours when he caused the accident. A grand jury charged him with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and eight counts of aggravated assault.
Morgan settled a lawsuit against Walmart in May 2015 for an undisclosed sum — but he told Stern there’s no price tag on trauma.
“One day, I pray to God all the time for the strength to do that,” he said of whether he can ever forgive Roper. “My reward isn’t the — it wasn’t more the money and all of that. It was justice for Jimmy, for all those involved. It was just justice I was seeking.”
“It scared me because when I think about my daughter now, growing up without me … money can’t fix that,” he added, choking up. “I think about Jimmy, the fun we used to have on the phone at night, just telling each other jokes. That’s gone.”
Morgan also discussed his acclaimed October 2015 return to Saturday Night Live, the show that made him famous. He remembered standing on stage and looking down at SNL and 30 Rock costar Tina Fey in the front row.
“I see Tina and it was in her heart, she started crying when I said that joke,” he said. “She was happy that the comedy was still there.”
Hear the full interview below:
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