Tracy Morgan’s much-anticipated return to comedy kicked off this Saturday night as he appeared as host of Saturday Night Live, the show that launched his career nearly two decades ago. And by all accounts, it was a total success.
While Morgan did a stellar job on his own, participating in a number of sketches and delivering a funny yet heartfelt opening monologue, he had plenty of friends behind him to ensure a successful show. Namely, that included the cast of his previous show, 30 Rock, including former SNL head writer Tina Fey and SNL fan-favorite host Alex Baldwin, as well as Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowski. It was essentially a 30 Rock reunion episode.
Even Larry David, who worked as a writer on the show years ago, showed up in the opening skit to perfectly channel presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a mockery of the democratic debate.
Morgan expectedly addressed the car accident last summer that left him with serious industries, and his friend and fellow comedian James McNair dead. While acknowledging the mounds of support he received from the public and friends, including his “Obi Wan Kenobi,” SNL creator Lorne Michaels, Morgan also took the opportunity to crack a few jokes. Referring to the brain trauma he suffered as a result of the accident, Morgan suggested that his mental capacity wasn’t all there to begin with anyway, so maybe this actually helped raise his IQ by a few points. His signature hilarious delivery left the audience in stitches, despite the sensitive subject matter.
Morgan debuted new characters for the show, like a recently divorced father playing against his ex-wife and kids on Family Feud, and a thug in a bar with a penchant to tango. But the most-talked-about performances involved the comedian bringing back two of his former recurring characters: Brian Fellow, the enthusiastic, egotistical animal “expert,” and a timely revival of Astronaut Jones, a girl-crazy astronaut who lives on Mars.
Demi Lovato, the night’s musical guest, appeared as his potential love interest in the Martian sketch, Martiana. A throwback musical intro showing a young Morgan donning the costume reminded viewers how far the comedian has come – not just from his accident but also as an actor.
This return was truly triumphant, given that Morgan was barely able to speak, and was undergoing speech, cognitive, vocational, and physical therapies less than a year ago following the accident. And judging from the support he received from the audience, fellow cast members, and cameo appearances, it’s clear that everyone’s rooting for a full comeback for the comedian.