Anyone who has witnessed Bob Saget do stand-up or Dustin “Screech” Diamond do porn knows the actors' off-camera sensibilities do not always align with their television personalities. And perhaps it’s no surprise that some of our most endearing fictional network TV heroes are actually some of our crudest, gutter-minded citizens. Everyone needs a release from their day job, right?
Another example of this phenomenon came late Friday night at Cobb’s, when Tracy Morgan gave a thoroughly raunchy sermon on how to maintain the modern relationship. Love, you should know, has nothing to do with it. The 30 Rock co-star warned (and mimed) the crowd early on: “Ya’ll were expecting Tracy Jordan, ‘but all he talked about was (vagina) and lady buttholes.’” And he wasn’t far off.
Morgan came onstage with his arms raised like an undersized prizefighter, sporting some clean white kicks, baggy jeans, a button-up shirt draped over some paunch and bling circling his wrist and neck (fairly confident his necklace read “#1”). He takes short, limping steps, and talks in a gruff, mumbled slang, imparting a level of street cred Tracy Jordan doesn’t quite muster. His opening joke —- about President Obama being the first president to get a tattoo teardrop underneath his eye after having nixed Osama bin Laden -- was a winning outlier from most of his material.
He spent the lion’s share of his 90 minute set evangelizing about the importance of “keeping it hot” in the bedroom. A recent divorcée, and a more recent fiancé (he reported to the audience that he’d proposed to his girlfriend the day before, Thursday), Morgan advised that there’s nothing wholesome about a healthy relationship, and he found a variety of ways to test the innocence of the audience. “Role play!” he insisted, more than a few times. His best example: “Sometimes with my ex I’d go in the backyard, put my ski mask on! Then I’d break in the back door. Damn this place is nice, Tracy Morgan must live here. Then I’d go upstairs, check out the kids’ room….No I can’t take this stuff…Hmm…Xbox? I’ll take that.”
The street-savvy Morgan approached the crowd with the ostensible confidence of someone who’s been in the comedy biz since 1991, but to varying degrees of success. The front row was all couples, and he picked on most of them to make his point and work a laugh the hard way. He discussed the double standard of men having to give flowers to the woman, and asked a husband nearby when it was that he last received a rose from his wife. “She gives me a different kind of rose,” was his response, affectively stealing the punchline from Morgan. Morgan also tried to ask a younger-seeming gentlemen how old he was, with the idea that he had not yet reached a “Jedi’s” level of experience like most of the elder husbands in his proximity. Too bad he was 31. “Oh shit, my bad,” he said, laughing away his own miscalculation. One piece of crowd work went over quite swimmingly though — after addressing the “war between ho’s and housewives,” he beckoned the men in the audience to give their ladies a standing ovation for everything they do, and most if not all were happy to oblige.
Morgan got one, too. And who knows, maybe he found himself another career as a marriage counselor.