More than 16 months after a horrific highway crash killed his friend and almost himself, Tracy Morgan stood center stage on Saturday Night Live as host to deliver his opening monologue. Morgan had read a prompter for a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards a month earlier, but this would be a true test for his comedy comeback.
So, as he said, he looked to his comedy “Obi-Wan,” Lorne Michaels. “Lorne, when I get back on my feet, I want to come home,” Morgan recalled.
And so Michaels made sure Morgan’s homecoming felt special and epic and truly great. Just as he had brought back a cavalcade of SNL stars to support Betty White five years ago when White hosted at the age of 88, Michaels not only brought back the big SNL guns in Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, not only Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowski, too, for a 30 Rock reunion flashback to 2012 (complete with Smash promos in-screen, featuring Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong as the dueling Marilyn Monroes), but also Larry David as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the cold open. Fey would appear again in the Weekend Update to crack wise about Playboy magazine’s decision to drop nude photos.
We also learned that it’s Brian Fellow, not Brian Fellows, although it’s confusing since the sketch is Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet and sometimes Morgan will use that apostrophe as merely a suggestion. Just like the camel will use its stage cues as a suggestion. Which led to two even funnier moments in the moment. As the camel’s backside broadsided the camera, and then as Morgan, blocked from his cue cards, shouted: “I can’t see, camel!”
And we enjoyed another of Morgan’s recurring characters, Astronaut Jones, once more.
We even got to witness a straight-up funny search for Jackie Chan.
Roll the clips.
Welcome back, Tracy. Welcome back.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 18, 2015