*Tracy Morgan gave his first interview since the catastrophic car accident last June that left him severely injured and killed his friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair.
Appearing live on Monday’s “Today,” the comedian uses a cane and had a few small scars on his head that he pointed out, but otherwise looked like his old self, sporting a checkered suit jacket, black shirt and blue pants.
“I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe I’m in front of you,” he told Matt Lauer at the beginning of the interview.
Regarding his recovery, Morgan said he has good days and bad days, times when he forgets things and suffers headaches and nosebleeds.
“I’ve been down,” but he said his family and friends have helped keep his spirits up. He said his “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” co-star Tina Fey is one of the people whose support has been helping him. Morgan also said that he and his fiancee Megan are about to be married, calling her his “wife” at first.
“My goal is just to heal and get better,” Morgan said. “I’m not 100 percent yet. When I’m there you’ll know it. I’ll get back to making you laugh. I promise you.”
Morgan got choked up repeatedly and cried a bit when he spoke about the death of McNair, saying, “He was a close friend of mine, a comrade in comedy. And he was a loving man, and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It just hurts me to see that he’s gone.”
“The case is settled but the pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mack,” he added, referring to his recent settlement with Walmart over the crash.
Morgan said the last time he saw McNair was him laughing from the side of the stage during his set in Delaware as Morgan told a Donald Sterling joke that McNair wrote for him. On the way home from that performance, a Walmart truck slammed into the back of a limo-van carrying Morgan and two others. Passengers Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea also suffered serious injuries in the crash.
Although he can’t remember the accident, Morgan said he watched footage of it every day on YouTube after he came out of his coma and discovered that McNair had died. One day, Morgan said, he came across footage of McNair’s funeral and “lost it for about a week.”
When asked why he felt the need to watch accident footage on YouTube, Morgan said, “I had to know what happened to my friend, and I had to pay my respects, and that was my way.”
Although Morgan usually travels with his family, he didn’t on the Delaware trip on which the accident occurred, and he’s relieved that neither Megan nor his baby daughter were in the car with him that night.
“I know when I look at that accident I don’t think — my daughter was 10 months old — she wouldn’t have made it, and Megan wouldn’t have made it,” he said. “That’s really the thing that tears me up.”
Morgan also thanked the doctors and nurses at the hospital who took care of him (and everyone else that helped him after the accident), recalling that after he came out of his coma, he was “a mess. I would curse out every day. I would throw things at [one of the nurses] and the only thing she would say to me is everything is going to be all right.” Morgan got emotional again as he recalled that he later saw her and apologized and she said, “I told you everything was going to be all right.”
Of the Walmart settlement, Morgan, who was joined by his lawyer Benedict Morelli, said, “I’m happy Walmart stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way and they took full responsibility. I’m just really happy they looked out for Jimmy Mack’s family. I know my friend can rest in peace now ’cause they took responsibility for that. In the beginning there was a misunderstanding but that got squared away and they came through in the clutch.”
In addition to Morgan’s settlement, Walmart agreed in January to a $10 million settlement with McNair’s family, the Associated Press reported.
Morelli also pointed out that the CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon, reached out to Morgan and will be meeting with him this week to apologize directly.
Watch Morgan’s full interview below: