Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Tracy Morgan is our Andy Kaufman

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People oftentimes assume Tracy Morgan is drunk or stoned to the bejesus. This is absurd to me, and cruel, too. In insinuating this, these people (let's call them "straw men") devalue a comedian who over the last several years--but particularly since he's literally (both on and off camera) morphed into his character Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock--has become something of a national treasure. Susan B. Anthony is a national treasure. Would you like to cast aspersions on her, too? Honestly. Think about it.

Not to say that Tracy's never gotten down. He's developed quite a Page Six rap sheet, as well as a real one. He was also in How High. But what he's done in the last few years has been ingenious: he's completely erased the barrier between his real self and his comedic persona. The act never stops. This is different than when you talk about certain people, comedians especially, who are always "on." That means they're consciously trying to make you laugh, but that doesn't mean they're acting or performing a specific role. Tracy Morgan, at all times, is Tracy Jordan--and because of that, he's become one of the least predictable--and most blisteringly excellent--performance artists since Andy Kaufman.

Although the writers of 30 Rock use him keenly, Tracy's shtick is really honed for talk show appearances. It's his clash with the phoniness of television's "non-fiction" that works so well. Check out this morning show appearance in El Paso:

And this two part clip from Kimmel's show:

As you can probably tell by now, dude can deliver a line. What inflection! Listen to him deliver the closing line in the ESPN commercial:

"The way I dunk on you is going to look unorthodox." Come again?

What Kaufman had over Tracy is an assemblage of personae. Right now, Tracy's only got one, and good as it is, it might not be able to sustain him that much longer. Gallagher only had one note, and although watermelon smashing had surprisingly long legs, where is he now? Tracy needs a second act. I hope he's developing it. In the meantime, it's probably best to watch this again:

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March 13, 2007 - 4:38am
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