Talkback: Will You Still See the Next Tracy Morgan Movie?

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Famous people sometimes say horrible things, but does that ever mean you stop ankling to the cineplex and spending $13 to see their new movie? In the case of the now-apologetic Tracy Morgan -- who made "jokes" (for lack of a better word) during a standup act about how he'd stab his own son if he said he was gay -- the commitment to protesting his movies isn't a harrowing one; he's obviously known more for his TV roles on 30 Rock and SNL than, say, his filmic contributions like Death at a Funeral. But based on principle alone, do you refuse to see his next movie, which is likely to be released this year?

Morgan's next cinematic treat is The Son of No One, which premiered at Sundance this past January. The action film stars an otherwise inoffensive cast (Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, and the only slightly incendiary Katie Holmes), and concerns a young cop and grisly news about a pair of murders that rattles his neighborhood.

Could be great, for all I know!

But will you not see it? Think of the issue this way: Were you at all interested in seeing The Beaver?


  • Dimo says:

    Why would I start now?

  • The WInchester says:

    Well played, but damn you for beating me to it.
    I'm still waiting for my Cop Out reparations.

  • miles silverberg says:

    He makes movies? That's like saying Bob Barker makes movies because he showed up in Happy Gilmore.

  • RecceR says:

    While, the only movie I have seen with him in a leading role was Cop Out
    (which wasn't horrible) I have never seen him in any "lead" roles, besides 30 Rock (which is TV and he’s not always the center of attention on there either). He usually plays the outrageous token black guy, go figure. I probably won’t see a movie with him as a lead, he’s just better off with 1-2 lines.
    What he said was very offensive and for it to have been considered a “joke” it would’ve had a punch line, which it did not. However, if history has shown anything, time really does heal a person in the public eye’s worth if they mess up. Look at Tom Cruise (too many things), President Bill Clinton (affair while in office, even his wife forgave him!), Rob Lowe (sex tape with minor/massive drug past), Charlie Sheen (Alco… wait, this one’s not done yet), and so many more.
    My point is, while Tracy is not right for what he said and is less famous than the ones I listed, his fan base still exists (even if many left him). Then again, it has been about 5 years since Michael Richards’ racist rant and while many are “over it” many are very much not. Maybe it is the controversy with Tracey that spiked the topic back up, but Michael’s IMDB board is currently very active with people still upset about what he said. So maybe Tracy has that to look forward to, 5+ years into the future because he didn’t realize what taking things too far meant. I know his boss/co-star Tina Fey was upset with him as well as some of his other co-stars. Maybe Tina will lessen his screen time this upcoming sixth season, unless she can figure out a legal way to relieve him of his 6-season contract. I guess time will tell what happens to him.
    I am not on his side, for anyone who says otherwise. But think harder, look at all the celebs or other people in the public eye who have done things offensive but never said the actual words. One person comes to mind, Sarah Palin of course. She was recently upset about her daughter’s change of political views on gay marriage; Bristol is now (allegedly) for it. Sarah is also (reportedly) concerned and being very nosey with Bristol’s new boyfriend, who is black. Sarah was never (reportedly) concerned with Bristol’s previous boyfriends (pre-pregnancy), who were white and basically scum. The only reason I even know about this is because it was talked about on Wendy Williams and I think another “gossip” show. So again, think about all the things people in the public eye may do without actually saying it.
    But, yeah, that was a really horrible thing for Tracy to say. I hope he really does feel bad for saying it, but I doubt it.

  • casting couch says:

    The Audience of No One.

  • the master says:

    This may sound awful, but if, say, Charlie Sheen or someone said it, I'd be angry. But I do like him on 30 Rock and honestly he is funny..... people will get over it.
    I am annoyed at Tracy- I liked him! That's the kind of thing that I'd kill you if I knew you and you said it in front of me.
    I'm glad he's released an apology so fast, but I am dissapointed. Dissapointed, but willing to forgive him. Tracy doesn't seem like the sort of guy who'd say that and completely and utterly agree with it... I think he just made an awful decision of a joke.
    Then again, my obsession with 30 Rock/SNL blinds me....

  • J K says:

    #1 - I have no problem with intimacy of any kind between people who are mentally sound adults (uh oh, that may mean we are all exempt. Eros, as we know, now being a form of treatable mental illness.) Stick whatever wherever at whatever trajectory and speed. As long as you wuv me.
    #2 - There, too.
    #3 It's called a joke, folks. Hyperbole. Exaggeration. Extreme identification with irrational viewpoints in order to make their implicational content clear. Oh, and "violent imagery" aside-- the implication that people choose sexual lifestyles at some point in life is a perfectly valid point to make, regardless of what you believe about the issue of "who someone is inside."
    Since when did the simple statement that people craft, to some degree deliberately, a sexual personae become tantamount to a violent threat against the Gayristocracy?
    Do people really believe that Tracy Morgan would, in actuality, stab his son in the heart? For ANY reason?
    "If they can take a f---ing dick up their ass ... they can take a fucking joke."
    I'm sorry, but that's just funny. And clearly his entire bit was not so well lubricated.
    Morgan's bizarre button-pushing savant persona is very deliberate-- don't let any backtracking and apologetics tell you otherwise.
    I really think people just no longer understand edge-y, purposefully non-PC comedy.
    And I just don't see starting one of these awful "Media Apology Tour" things again as being somehow societally helpful. Christ. Make some heartbroken queer teen have a millionaire pretend to listen to him in order for a GLAAD supplicating photo-op for a ten minute instant penance... I can't really think of anything more offensive...
    Maybe Neil Patrick Harris can pardon him? He's kind of king of the gays right? Like Jessie Jackson is able to speak for all black americans? Maybe Neil could pardon Jessie and through the transitive property Tracy receives some form of grace...
    There is a very real difference between standing up for human rights and dignity and policing the language and taste of an artist with the full force of a castrating political activist lobby that threatens to turn every ill-timed routine into the murder of a performer's public reputation.
    People seem to think standup comics are somehow not artists-- that they are just "people talking in public--" He's a live performer and the bit failed. It's like a singer starting too high or veering off pitch. In stand-up, the difference between a gut-buster and a belly-flop is microtonal to say the least. The biggest laughs are closest to the line. And over that line is something worse that crickets. Over that line is sometimes outrage. But we want those rich laughs buried right at the border and we have to be prepared for the comedian to unearth a few land-mines from time to time.
    But that "Gotcha! You can't say that! You're not allowed to say that!" sort of castrating, corrective, "I'll tell mommy and you'll see." vibe goes part of the way towards explaining the genesis of certain strands of bullying.
    If you've ever had anyone pounce on you with a "you can't say that!" rather than their own reasoned or impassioned counterpoint, and then had them use a form of social bullying to force you into a posture of humiliation and crow-eating... well, I am human enough to admit that makes me angry enough to erupt...
    Even if this man were just talking in the Ryman randomly-- no artistry involved. I'm pretty sure he's an american citizen.
    There's this inalienable thingamajig we sorta made up a decided to value here called FREE SPEECH... and you CAN stick it right up your ass if you'd like. (That actually sounds kinda hot to me, and much more fun than a Tracy Morgan show.)
    Oh, and by the way, Walt Disney was pretty much an anti-Semitic, Nazi Sympathizer-- (and not as a character within the confines of a bad joke!) And I don't see too many cultural gays willing to give up their Disney fetish anytime soon-- maybe it's genetic! Makes about as much sense as suggesting that someone's erotic fantasy structures are embedded in DNA before the dawn of their own consciousness... but, oh, wait-- I guess the promotion of a deliberate and willfully accountable human self is some kind of hate crime in 2011.
    We all passively receive our self, Ok? And should CELEBRATE it! Let's all celebrate what we somehow innately biologically are but didn't do anything to be! Hooray for whatever it is that gets me all hot and bothered! Hooray! Am I ok, now? Neil? Jessie? Walt? WAAALT!
    If you don't like the show- walk out. Truly, every sour moment at every public venue need not open a new theatre in the culture wars.

  • Anonymously says:

    I never saw any of his movies....oh, I saw one, forgot the name, but he was NOT funny. He plays the same character over and over...he's lucky to have Tina Fey and a hard working manager.

  • ZebedeeDooDah says:

    I think the situation is slightly different that with Richards. When he said his racist stuff on stage, he was more or less a has-been. A former sit-com star that hadn't really done anything successful or well-known since. So the narrative of his life has become "on a successful comment, now a failure and a racist". There's no new information to help paper over the old incident. Morgan is actively working on television and with some film roles.
    In about a year people will probably have moved on (I think it's pretty similar to Alec Baldwin and that "thoughtless little pig" thing.

  • Chuck says:

    J K, I gave up reading your comment halfway through, but I pretty much got the idea.
    It's not a free speech issue, it's a free market issue.
    He's free to say it and his consumers (those of us who watch his shows and like his stand-up - I'm one of them) are free decide if we think it's cool.
    You either think this is cool or you don't.

  • Patrick McEvoy-Halston says:

    Re: "If you've ever had anyone pounce on you with a "you can't say that!" rather than their own reasoned or impassioned counterpoint, and then had them use a form of social bullying to force you into a posture of humiliation and crow-eating... well, I am human enough to admit that makes me angry enough to erupt..."
    I think a lot of people know this experience (at least) second-hand, and after experiencing it, do a feel-out of the moral authority of the suppressors to determine if next time they'll more identify with them, or continue to count themselves amongst the aggrieved. With Mel, it was with the suppressor: "we" are not (with) you, Mel. With Tracy, it's with him: "we're" hardly even going to take one step back from you, whatever the press might make it seem. When people now more want to see it propped up, only so to allow more satisfaction when it is taken down, GLAAD probably does itself no favors if it insists on playing a loud part in his recovery ritual. It'll just look presumptive and totalitarian -- even vain -- at a time when more and perhaps even most people WANT it to be revealed -- essentially, in essence -- this way.
    Every single nasty populist group that rises to take power, talks about the humiliations they too long had to endure from strangely protected minorities. I'm sure people who advance new ideas, or just brave airing their own thoughts, do much the same -- though I'm not sure: their thoughts may just be on their new ideas or developing voice -- but it is a useful thing to remember.

  • Den says:

    Maybe I will see the movie.
    He should be able to express his opinions even when others disagree with him. Why is it OK for people to bash someone who believes in the Bible, but not OK to bash sinful living?

  • waynebeau says:

    I'd see it ONLY at gunpoint.

  • imahrtbrkbeat says:

    Um, I didn't see the last movie Tracy Morgan was in.
    I lie. I saw Rio, but didn't realize he was in there. I think there should be an exemption of judgement on my account.

  • J. Alan says:

    We all know that Morgan is fat, stupid, needy, of limited wit and talent, and probably smells bad. And now we also know he's a homophobic biggot who thinks knifing kids is funny stuff. His career is over. Who the hell would put him in a movie?

  • J K says:

    I don't know what's more absurd-- to respond to someone while making it clear that you purposefully half-read their statements with a "harumph--" this being the "I read just enough to identify what KIND you are, so I now have the appropriate reflexive response to your kind from my kind" approach-- a real disaster of new "social identity" lifestyle cognition-- or that you believe that one bad joke ought to be the "free market" end of an artist.
    I didn't think the jokey "rant" was all that "cool," either.
    But I also don't believe in taking one set of apparent moments or apparent ideologies expressed in certain moments or encounters and damning a human being entirely into some kind of psycho-spiritual ghetto.
    I thought that was exactly what folks like GLAAD convened to try to prevent.
    And yes, I do understand a cringing at trying to argue for who wins the victim status in this kind of exchange.
    That's why I understand the victim/aggressor as a dialectical relationship. Each becoming the other and each containing elements that initiate the action/reaction of the other. It's simply irreducible to a large extent.
    Every fight consists of a fight about who started the fight. Each saying they will yield when the other admits to having "started it."
    (That's why deliberate love and forgiveness are such genius-- the only way forward from intractable human deadlock.)
    Part of the audience contract for a live comedy performer is that you are willing to go with him to a certain extent. When you shift reflexively into outrage, your shift to outrage is a betrayal that outrages the comedian (not to mention panics him while he is engaged in live public speaking-- remember, most people's #1 fear with death being #2) which leads to an accelerating positive feedback loop of discomfort until a show is entirely derailed. The outraged audience member of course credits his outrage to the outrageous comments made by the performer. But this is not strictly "true." A comedian has to surf a kind of wave of group emotional response. His set is choreographed to a certain degree, but never is he free to simply shut out the audience and get lost in the zone of the dance/song/routine/high-wire act like other types of live performers.
    If you won't meet him half-way, he can't take you to the sweet spots. And if you can't "take a joke," you ruin a comedy show.
    When I seem to sympathize or defend those painted as aggressors in particularly "emotionally compelling" narratives of victimhood-- it's only because the real social power of our era is in winning the claim to victimhood. This particular kind of upper hand is the new iron grip in a post-modern culture. And I simply don't trust anyone who can explain that their retaliation is justified.
    The reality is that one of the greatest (and most dangerous) tricks of stand-up, and the reflexive dynamic between the comedian and the audience is staying in an initially failing/offensive bit until the audience (usually) makes it through to the laugh. I'm speaking from personal experience here. It's excruciating and harrowing to keep pushing, but once that magic, ineffable point of absurdity is breeched-- the break from collective tension into laughter is fantastic!
    But if you don't get there... well, that's why getting there consistently is a kind of visionary genius. One that Morgan certainly lacks. But falling short of greatness is not a crime or a sin.
    And personally, I do have more sympathy for a person courageous enough to face an audience and try to mine for the gold of their art than I do a language/thought policing group mind that seems to somehow truly believe that controlling what language is publicly expressible without terrible personal or financial consequence will actually alter human nature and the irrational and roiling inner forces that human beings rationalize into action-- if they can find a plausible deniability of that sleepy stone angel of conscience. (And he's pretty stony and sleepy these days.)
    If it culture was somehow purely free-market, then yes, I would stay in the show, and buy the t-shirt, and you could walk out and give him nary another dime. But if you make me having gone to the show or bought the t-shirt a crime of intolerance and an implied condoning of hate against "all gays," then suddenly the social consequences become so exaggerated that the mature person who is simply capable of handling a bad taste joke and continuing to try to enjoy an experience or respect an artist who has made a few false or failing moves becomes subject to an intensified "social identity" pressure that should never have existed in the first place.
    That's why the free-market sucks. People are now lifestyle narcissists who demand to be seen and approached how they want to see themselves rather than how they are. The TV tells you how great you are, while simultaneously telling you that all your problems are that other people are unfairly judging or refusing to see you for just how great you are. "It's not you- it's them. Maybe buy our washing machine and everyone will finally see how great you are!" or "You are a beautiful person inside and no one sees it. Maybe these fake tits and bottom will help!" The irony of a mass-produced object that says "You are so unique for buying me!" seems infinitely lost on the dreamy narcissist.
    Everyone is now a sub-category of victim who sees his set of fetishized lifestyle fantasy images and your acceptance of his promotion of them as his inalienable right as a human/consumer. "I pay my taxes and ignore our immoral, decadence-facilitating wars and buy organic apples, now can't you see that I am a transgender apache dolphin inside!?"
    Now, we do know we are not transgender apache dolphins. Which is why narcissism as a cultural foundation does not work. In the end, you KNOW you are full of shit. And no matter how aggressively you can dictate how another is allowed to approach you or how they can formulate in language how they see you-- no matter how many smiling thumbs up pictures of your ENJOYMENT OF YOURSELF you can cram into your web-2.0 interface-- the lurking real will not be drowned out entirely.
    "The customer is always right" was a cultural epitaph, it turns out.
    And comedians are part of the dying embers of the prophetic tradition. "I AM FULL OF SHIT! WE ARE ALL FULL OF SHIT! AND ESPECIALLY YOU ARE!" is a kind of blunt trauma encounter with an illusion-breaking transcendence-- If he does it just right, you can live with yourself and your bullshit for a few more days. Life itself is revealed as absurd, and that somehow becomes a comfort and a consolation rather than endless fuel for more inconsolability and the neurotic need to confirm one has made his narcissistic fantasies real in the mind of the other.
    They're never going to buy it. In fact, "they" aren't even a thing-- just a subset of your own mind. Even if an actual other "bought it," you would never accept that they had and your insatiable itch that someone "out there" views you as a rash will not abate. Which is why I always have to wonder just to whom the parade is directed.
    (a mild break here to point out that this is the entirety of the "Lady Gaga" phenomenon. A talentless hack turns out robotic exaggerations of self-worth and passive identity "I was born this way!" and is supposed to be representing a rejected outsider status-- when, of course, in our current inverted culture-- her fandom is vast and populist because every american conceives of himself as a misunderstood victimized minority that other people "just don't get." And her full commitment to telling her "little (narcissistic) monsters" just how special and unique they are EACH AND EVERY ONE A "STAR" is the real revelation of just how empty the situation has become.)
    The worst part of all of this is that the misguided agenda of the PC movement has only created a new and more intensive form of resentment and hate for the "marginalized other" that it was trying to force acceptance or tolerance of.
    I long ago gave up trying to convince people that reducing your sexuality to an inborn "type" was far more dehumanizing than the simple realization that your sexuality is an independent force that can be shaped into the form of a meaningful communication and experience with another individual person-- and that that person should not be simply a surrogate for the fantasy structure type you were looking for-- a kind of "scene partner" that likes to enact your fetishes from the corresponding end.
    Every intelligent person who has gotten his head out of his own ass enough to become an adult realizes all of these things. That the way in which you sexually narrow and limit yourself is simply a neurotic map of influences, one beyond the need for judgement to a certain extent.
    You see, I become angry when I realize that a young person given this ridiculous iron-clad view of an innate sexual nature that he is to "discover" over time through experience is going to have to face an inverted and ass-backwards life where he tries to acquire certain experiences in order to "test" what "kind" he is. You know, so he can find his proper scene and can then turn off the existential weight of the individual moments of experience and somewhat anonymize the other.
    You have more kids having had one sexual encounter with someone of the same gender in youth, then neurotically obsessed with what this "means about them" than ever before.
    Or, the anxiety increased in your typical "straight kid" about whether some werewolf-like strand of queer DNA waits within him to lurch into life under the kinky moon.
    When you enforce the notion that GAY is an inherent biological orientation, then suddenly any stray homoerotic thought becomes an invasive source of overwhelming anxiety for a multitude of people who otherwise would just take the thought or experience for the individual moment that it was.
    Freud (the new F-word!) made this clear years ago. ALL sexual preferences are fetishes. The only biological sexuality is the need for sex, the need to cum. That's the obscure, frozen top of the mountain. And from this melting mountain the stream pours down into the shape of your sexual fantasies and desires.
    You never step into the same river twice, you know... sticky, sticky rivers.....
    No one CHOOSES their habitual desires and fantasies. Of course not. That's absurd. But to deny that the psychological genesis of one's desires can be explored and to some degree understood seems to simply be an expansion of an underlying guilt that seeks to deny even the basic origins of a deliberate self. And to suggest that some may want to expand the narrow or even dangerous or (dare I say) immoral confines of their current fantasies to find a less destructive life circumstance should seem equally reasonable and humane to a thinking person.
    The need to reduce oneself to a simultaneous "special victim worthy of celebration" but also insist oneself a member of a "community" that is somehow homogenous enough for group identification seems to me the ultimate extension of self-as-abstract-image-affiliation rather than self-as-the-sum-total-of-deliberately-chosen-action.
    No one is entitled to acceptance from "the other," whether this other be a real individual or group of individuals or just an extension of one's own troubled conscience. One is, however, entitled to freedom of choice and behavior. Maturity occurs when an individual realizes that this is more than enough to facilitate the vast project of a deliberate life. And that once you stop focusing on the confrontational demand that some other accept your brazen self-image, you can simply go about enacting your chosen life and actually experience making the love and intimacy with the privately concerned party that you have chosen instead of the political public demand that seeks to control the other's acceptance or abstract understanding of your private life.
    To demand that the other accept that you have no choice but to be compelled to certain automatic habitual action-- and to call this freedom-- that you have the right to be seen as a slave to your own biologically determined nature and therefore are exempt from judgment for your non-chosen actions-- how is this not the antithesis of freedom? How is the defiant edict "I was born this way!" not an inherent occasional implication that one is asking pardon for "this way?"
    No one will read this! Hooray!

  • Amy says:

    Yeah it is pretty clear that you are blind (and i like 30 Rock but i am just not blind) and Charlie Sheen imo is a far better actor and far more smart than Tracy Morgan.

  • Juliet says:

    I don't care about the lame last controversy about that guy, what he said on-stage was quite disturbing after that i guess it was part of his stand-up routine but to me just a bad not-funny stand up thing is sure i will not pay to go to one of his show..apart of all this media controversy Tracy Morgan is just not funny ! 30 Rock can be pretty good but it is above all thanks to Tina Fey writing and Morgan plays himself as a supporting character so it is ok..but i never saw one of his movie so it is not now that i will go to watch a new movie of him (actually i did not even know that he played in some movies..maybe straight to dvd 'films'..)
    And what i find more than phony and pathetic it is the try very/too much hard to be the new poster boy of gay rights with all this PR is pathetic and a big cry for "i am desperate to keep my over- paid job on a critically acclaimed somewhat "cool" (by the industry standards) network tv sitcom and more than that i want to stay a famous celeb at all coasts" like i said pathetic moves..but if it works for others (the industry above all) well..he can thank his publicist..

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