During Saturday Night Live’s special 40th anniversary show, a special tribute for Tracy Morgan made the SNL regular’s absence all the more apparent on Sunday night. While rumors immediately started swirling about why Morgan wasn’t in attendance, sources are saying that the star wasn’t “mentally or emotionally” ready for a TV return.
Last summer Morgan was involved in a tragic car accident with a Walmart truck driver that put him in critical condition, seriously injured other passengers and killed fellow comedian 62-year-old James McNair.
Last month Walmart made an out-of-court settlement with McNair’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Morgan is still embarking on his own legal battle with the retail giant and charges are still standing against the truck driver who allegedly fell asleep at the wheel when he plowed into the back of Morgan’s limo bus and sent the vehicle flipping across the New Jersey Turnpike.
While Morgan’s condition has vastly improved, the star had to undergo months of physical therapy and deal with overcoming the unexpected death of a dear friend.
For all these reasons, sources are saying Morgan just wasn’t ready to be back in the media spotlight.
Morgan was a regular on the comedy skit show from 1996 to 2003 and producers were hoping to get him back on the iconic stage.
Instead, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin paid homage to their fellow “30 Rock” star and played a short clip from the show that featured Morgan.
In the midst of the tribute, a rumor sparked online that Morgan had actually passed away—a claim that media outlets quickly put to rest.
A friend of the star told Page Six that Morgan is doing much better but he simply isn’t ready to make a major TV return.
“They really wanted him to be there, but when it came down to it, he just isn’t mentally or emotionally ready to appear on TV yet,” the source told Page Six.
Morgan hasn’t been seen much publicly since the accident; he asked the media and his fans for privacy following the accident.
Kevin Roper, the driver who was behind the wheel of the Walmart truck that caused the accident, is still facing criminal charges and was recently denied a request to delay the civil case.
Roper believed that Morgan’s separate lawsuit against Walmart could interfere with his right to a fair trial and “impartial jury,” The Wrap reported.
Morgan’s lawsuit against Walmart insists that the retail giant “knew or should have known” that Roper had been awake for “more than 24 consecutive hours,” making it extremely dangerous to have him on the road.
The court documents also claim that Walmart has a “practice of recklessly and intentionally allowing its drivers to drive for prolonged and unreasonable periods of time.”
Roper has been charged with death by auto and assault by auto.