‘The Last O.G.’: Don’t call it a comeback
April 3, 2018
The story of Tracy Morgan’s brush with death is well documented. But as Tracy himself will tell you, he has many more stories, and jokes, to tell before his amazing career is through. Which brings us to “The Last O.G.” — the new comedy that airs Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30C on TBS.
We sat down with Olivia Morris, manager, Original Programming, TBS, to learn about Tracy’s new show, and what it’s like working with someone who wants everyone around him to have as much fun as possible, all the time.
To learn more about TBS’s “The Last O.G.,” check out the site.
Turner: Hi Olivia, thanks so much for speaking with us. So, for those who may not know, tell us what you do at Turner.
Olivia Morris: I am a manager of original scripted programming of development at TBS. We're all about trying to find what's new and exciting, what's next for our network, while also managing and maintaining our current shows.
T: We’d love to ask you about “The Last O.G.” What was the chain of events that brought this new show to TBS?
OM: Like a lot of our shows, it came in as a pitch. This was a really easy pitch for us to take, because it was co-created and executive produced by Jordan Peele. We also knew that Tracy was attached; so it's like, of course we would love to hear it! Thankfully, I had the opportunity to be in the pitch, and it was hysterical. Everyone was laughing out loud. We threw all of our weight behind it from day one.
T: Now Tracy Morgan is such a uniquely funny individual and has had an incredible career. What’s it like to work with someone like Tracy?
OM: Working with him is a dream come true. I had the pleasure of being on set for most of the summer, and he has such a great energy. He treats his set like it's a family, and he always says, “There's no smoking, no drinking, no cussing. You know, treat it like there's kids on the set.” No matter what someone's role is, whether they're an executive producer or someone doing his hair and makeup, he makes sure everyone knows how grateful he is and how much they matter. And because the tone of the set really starts with him, it's really wonderful that he's someone who really, really cares.
T: Tracy has of course been through a tremendously difficult time over the last few years with regards to his car accident and subsequent rehabilitation. Can you speak to the journey he has gone on from almost losing his life to coming back to star in a sitcom?
OM: What I've seen is that he has a very unique perspective on life now. I hear him say things like, "I am a better man now. Everything happens for a reason, and I didn't die because I'm meant to be here and I still have stories to tell."
He's so grateful, and on top of that he's still so funny. And to have someone who, even before the accident, had a difficult upbringing and a troubled life still find joy help others find it too, is really inspiring.
T: Does Tracy’s journey affect how you look at your job, or even your life in general?
OM: Yes, it does. I've always been someone that tries to enter everything with gratitude and with enthusiasm, which is something that Tracy does too, so we're a lot alike in that way. But I think something that Tracy's been able to provide for me is a real sense of perspective.
Tracy loves talking about his wife and kids, and how much he loves helping other people, and I love having that sense of perspective because even though I love my job and will work endless hours, days, nights and weekends, it's nice working with someone who wants you to go spend time with your friends and family.
T: Let’s lighten things up a bit here – tell us about the show!
OM: “The Last O.G.” stands for “original gangster,” which basically means “old school.” But not just old school, it’s someone who really knows the lay of the land, someone who's really been through it and can give you tough love and the best advice.
Tracy's character is named Tray. He was one of the neighborhood crack dealers in Brooklyn, but wanted to get out of the game. On one of his very last days he gets arrested and serves a 15-year prison sentence. The pilot starts where he's coming out of jail with a brand-new lease on life.
The show has a lot of really big themes: crack, gentrification, being black in America, the prison system, absent fathers, blended families. It doesn't sound like a comedy, but it's very grounded, it's really funny and there's a lot of heart. And I think because he's such an optimistic character, you are rooting for him to win.
T: Can you give us a few little tidbits regarding the upcoming season?
OM: There are some funny guest stars that show up. For instance, in episode five, there is a character named Pooh Cat that is played by Chrissy Metz, who's on “This Is Us.” And her character is someone who was a prison groupie for Tray's character. She would bring him Wild Berry Skittles and spend time with him. And now that he's out of prison, she's furious that he didn't tell her and goes after him. I won't tell you what she actually wants; but, by the end of the episode, it becomes clear. And it's very, very funny.
“The Last O.G.” airs Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30C on TBS.