Funnyman Tracy Morgan has paid tribute to the mentor he lost in a car crash five years ago.
The former 30 Rock star was left badly injured in the collision with a truck but gradually recovered and to mark the upcoming fifth anniversary of the fatal wreck, which claimed the life of his friend Jimmy Mack, Morgan is making sure fans know what a debt he owes to the comedy veteran.
“He was the first person I met in showbusiness, professionally,” Tracy tells news show Today. “He showed me where the landmines were and how to do live stand-up and how to move the mic stand to the back (of the stage) and use your environment onstage.”
Mack’s lessons live on, as Tracy is now teaching a new generation of comics things he learned from his mentor: “I pass that on to the youth, like Michael Che and people like that, how to do the stand-up right.”
Morgan also told Today that he has forgiven the driver of the Walmart truck, who was responsible for his friend’s death and his extensive injuries, but he admits it took a lot of soul searching.
“I had to pray to God for that type of strength,” he adds. “I knew it was an accident. He has a family.
“He didn’t do nothing to me. He did something for me. When I was able to forgive him and it made me a better person… I was in hospital. It was raining and it was, like, three in the morning and something came over me… and I just started crying… I was, like, ‘God, please give me the strength to forgive him – and it was done…
“Forgiveness is for you to move forward with your life. If I hadn’t done that I would be bitter – he killed my friend and he hurt my friends badly, he hurt me badly… I had to do that. It had to be done!”