Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is ready to return to the public eye. Nearly a year to the day that a tragic six-car accident left him with debilitating bodily injuries and head trauma, the former SNL and 30 Rock star will reportedly reemerge on Monday June 1, for a live interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s The Today Show. The sit-down occurs on the outset of a lawsuit settlement with Walmart, whose truck driver was responsible for the incident.
The upcoming interview should be quite the monumental moment, seeing as Morgan has been a virtual recluse during his apparently arduous recovery process. There was a period in time after the incident when he was apparently knocking on death’s door. Reports have indicated the long-term effect of his injuries were grave enough to require intense physical and cognitive therapy, leading to some speculation that he may never again be the gregarious getter of laughs we once knew. Of course, the Monday interview that puts it all on the line on live TV will certainly be revelatory in that respect.
News of the settlement between Morgan and other plaintiffs (who were also in the limo bus struck by the Walmart truck driver) would come just last night, prompting the reports of Morgan's media outreach. While actual amounts were not disclosed, the settlement was apparently cordial. According to Morgan by way of a released statement:
Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably.
The amounts involved in the settlement must have been quite generous, gauged by that reaction. Additionally, Morgan's attorney Benedict Morelli appeared this morning on The Today Show to reiterate the praise for Walmart, even adding that the retail monolith’s 2.4 million employees should be proud to work for such a company.
The June 7, 2014 incident occurred early in the morning on the New Jersey Turnpike, where an allegedly sleep-deprived Walmart driver, at high speeds, rear-ended his tractor-trailer into the back of a limo bus containing Morgan and three other passengers, creating a chain collision. While the crash left Morgan and fellow passengers Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea with serious injuries, James "Jimmy Mack" McNair did not survive. The investigation from NTSB revealed the driver, Kevin Roper was running his truck at 65 mph during the crash and he remains set to face a number of criminal charges.
While speculation about Morgan's career may seem trivial compared to the serious challenges that he continues to face with his recovery, there’s no doubt that his legions of fans out there are hoping to once again see him grace the small and big screens to take in his signature, un-PC absurdity back to the public. While the accident sidelined him in the middle of 2014, he was featured in one project in the form of a 2015 film release, produced years earlier, called Accidental Love, a romcom starring Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Hopefully we’ll see him reemerge, perhaps taking things slow with the FXX comedy series he had in the works pre-accident, or something back the film world. However, only time will tell if the extent of his recovery warrants such steps.