Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Behind the Scenes with Tracy Morgan

Thanks to my friends who let me know they caught me on TV last night. The parts where I spoke were edited out of the live airing, but I would be just as excited if I were on the news making faces behind a reporter.

The bumper was shot around the Hammerstein Ballroom, along 8th avenue. There was a lot of down time during this shoot. When we were not on a bus, the actors were inside a dressing room reading magazines, texting, and playing solitaire and Charades.

By early evening, we all took turns boarding a trailer where the Man of the Hour was waiting. I thought we were there to meet him, so when I got on, I stood in front of him while he sat and talked with other members of the crew. After looming over him a while it felt like I shouldn't have climbed aboard. Finally I jokingly told a guy, "I'm just waiting for someone to look at me."
--We all see you. Don't worry," he replied. Then a woman pointed to the lighted mirror behind me and said the actors needed makeup. Oh, makeup! Before I left, Tracy got my attention, "Excuse me miss, how old are you? If we had a kid, could we call him Netty? If we were married, would you make me go to church on Sunday, or could I stay home and watch football?" The people around him repeated his questions and started answering them for me, and I was ushered out of the trailer.

It was misty and raining all evening. They called for a couple of us to get on the bus, which inexplicably smelled like rotten eggs. Tracy shot his first scene by reading a cue card outside of the bus and then boarding. When he got on he looked at us and declared, "Yeah, it smells like sh** in here."

The bus circled the block several times with a crew member packed in every seat and in the aisle. Tracy plopped down next to me, while a girl holding cue cards was crouched into an impossible yoga pose in order to remain off camera. He let everyone know when he was ready to shoot and when the cameras were rolling he would improvise. It was hard to look like what he said wasn't funny. At one point, he said he was nervous to be the host and had butterflies. He lifted his shirt and put his belly in my face. "Feel 'em! Feel the butterflies!" When I looked away, he fell on my lap and laid across the seats going on and on. It was hilarious.

It got hot and sweaty in there, but he didn't complain. When he wrapped up he insisted the actors should get tickets to the awards show and called for us to have more water. He shook our hands and smiled and left.

Then after four more hours of circling the block and interacting with comedian Corwin Moore (former writer for SNL who works the road with Tracy and does a good impression of him), we all left too.

Photo credit:


soce said...

Sounds like a fun time!! I was never in any promo video for the Hip Hop Honors.. but I did end up on camera in the audience a few years ago!!


Abbi said...

If you got picked to do nothin' but stand around for a dozen hours while snackin' on barbecue flavored chips make some noy-eeze!


Now throw your union membership in the air. And wave it like you just don't care! And if you just heard a lady say "Bruce Willis was a doll on the set of Die Hard" somebody say "Oh YEAH!"

"...Oh yeah!"

Crutch said...

so did you actually get tickets to the show? if not, why not? if so, did you go? wasn't sure if it was live or taped.

Karine said...

I was very excited to see you on the show last night. I loved your facial expressions. It must of been hard to sit there and not say anything. Too bad they edited your speaking part, but you ended up with allot of air time which is very good.

P.S. I heard you speak french fluently, we should definitely converse in french sometime.

A plus tard!

Mo Diggs said...

Where in Long Island was she from?

Abbi said...

Crutch: No, we never got tickets. But Tracy was nice enough to put the idea out there. I think it was taped in the Hammerstein Ballroom some days after the shoot.

Karine: Thanks! Half the battle is getting people to like your face. For a speaking part, click here. Et oui, on va causer. N'importe quand tu veux!

Mo: I know! I thought living in a plastic bubble was a movie by John Travolta.

Carolyn said...

Why didn't you tell me you were doin; all this? Congrats! You look great.

Abbi said...

Thanks Carolyn! If I told everybody beforehand, they wouldn't do a double-take.