Playing Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock, Tracy Morgan was given license to spoof a number of famous comedians, and Eddie Murphy is certainly a name on that list – poking fun at the star of Nutty Professor (and, more notably, Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps) with fake movies like The Chunks and The Chunks 2: A Very Chunky Christmas. This in mind, it’s funny to see them working side-by-side in the new film Coming 2 America, but that very much speaks to the positive vibes between the two stars.
I spoke with Tracy Morgan during the virtual press day for Coming 2 America last month in advance of its debut on Amazon Prime, and during our conversation I asked the actor if he ever got a sense of how Eddie Murphy felt about his work on 30 Rock and the Tracy Jordan character. While it wasn’t clear from his response if they ever had an actual conversation about it, he made it clear that it’s just something in the background of their relationship as colleagues in comedy. Said Morgan,
I think that he knows funny. If you're in show business, in the comedy world, you don't take it like that, you know. He did me on Jimmy Kimmel and I thought that was an honor. That's great. He's the same way. He never got angry about it or anything like that. We love each other. The world, they need a Joe Fraser versus Muhammad Ali, but comedians are not like that. It's a frat. It's really a frat. We help one another.
Clearly there is a lot of love there. It was later during that same day of interviews that I learned from Eddie Murphy that Tracy Morgan was his first pick to play his son in Coming 2 America, but ultimately it was decided that it wouldn’t work because the age difference wasn’t right. It should also be recognized that Murphy’s alluded-to appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live not only features Murphy doing an impression of Morgan, but also discussing that he was the first person to make the 30 Rock star laugh following the car crash that left him hospitalized in 2014.
You can watch the sweet segment from the Eddie Murphy interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live below (and he really does do an amazing Tracy Morgan impression):
While both Eddie Murphy and Tracy Morgan are Saturday Night Live alumni, Coming 2 America marks the first time that they have worked together on a film. The comedy sequel sees Murphy return as King Akeem of Zamunda (among multiple other roles), and Morgan plays Uncle Reem – the paternal figure in the life of Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), the son Akeem never knew he had.
Co-starring Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Shari Headley, KiKi Layne, Wesley Snipes, Nomzamo Mbatha, and more, Coming 2 America arrives on Amazon Prime this Friday, March 5.