Tracy Morgan was a regular on Saturday Night Live for eight seasons from 1996-2003. In that time, he endeared himself to many who then followed him to his stint of fellow SNL alum, Tina Fey’s, show, 30 Rock. It was a huge shock, therefore, when the funnyman was in a serious car accident that almost cost him his life.
Crash in New Jersey
Following a performance in Dover, Delaware last June, Morgan and several other comedians and friends were traveling along the New Jersey Turnpike around 1am. Their limo was rear-ended by a tractor trailer operated by a driver (employed by Walmart) who, Sgt. Gregory Williams of New Jersey State Police told CNN, “failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead. At the last minute, he swerved to try and avoid the Mercedes limo bus, but struck it from behind, forcing the limo to rotate and overturn.” In all, six vehicles were involved in the crash but only the occupants of the limo were injured.
Morgan was airlifted to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center where he was treated for a broken femur, broken nose, and several broken ribs. The crash also left Ardie Fuqua (comedian) and Jeff Millea (Morgan’s assistant) in critical condition while another comic, Harris Stanton, escaped with just a broken wrist. Tragically, Morgan’s very close friend, James McNair, was pronounced dead at the scene.
It was later revealed that Morgan was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and was struggling to recover. The comedian and Walmart reached a settlement that was “resolved amicably.”
Return to SNL
It has been announced that, after a more than year-long absence from performing, Tracy Morgan would be turning to the set of Saturday Night Live to host the show for just the second time since he left in 2003. Undoubtedly, people will be tuning in to show support for Morgan but will also be curious to see how he is recovering.
In an interview on the Today show, Morgan revealed that he has tried to hide the extent of his pain from his wife in an effort to keep her from worrying. Since the accident, the comedian has struggled with headaches and had to undergo treatment for his brain injury including speech, cognitive, vocational and physical therapies.
The 41st season of Saturday Night Live begins on October 17, 2015. Hopefully, it will be a triumphant return for Morgan and the beginning of the next chapter in his life.