05-25-2018  7:31 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

The highest-paid CEOs by state

Here are the top-paid CEOs by state for 2017, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.The survey considered only publicly traded companies with more than jumi billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30....

Douglas County suspends recycling service due to Chinese ban

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The Douglas County Landfill and transfer stations, along with its recycling partner, will be suspending all recycling efforts in the county.The News-Review reports that the operations will be suspended June 1. The Douglas County Public Works Department in a statement...

The highest-paid CEOs by state

Here are the top-paid CEOs by state for 2017, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.The survey considered only publicly traded companies with more than jumi billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30....

NFL players, coaches grapple with new anthem policy

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to be talking about football matters — Seattle's recommitment to the run game, the addition of two new coordinators, almost anything to do with what happens between the lines.Instead, the league's oldest coach has spent the past...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Students hand back in yearbook after racial slur is pictured

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Students at a coastal Georgia high school are being asked to hand back in their yearbooks after a racial slur made for some bad memories.The Savannah-Chatham County school district tells news outlets that the publisher has recalled the Windsor Forest High School yearbook...

Column: Jack Johnson's biggest crime was being black

Jack Johnson's biggest crime was being an unrepentant black man who beat up white men for a living.High-flying and flamboyant, he refused to live by the unwritten rules of American society in the early 1900s. That made him a target, and that eventually cost him his freedom after being convicted of...

Rachel Dolezal accused of welfare fraud after race scandal

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Rachel Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, was charged this week with theft by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Daniel Craig to return as 007 in 2019, Danny Boyle at helm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Daniel Craig is back as Bond, the spy series' producers confirmed, in a Danny Boyle-directed film due for release in 2019.Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions announced Thursday that production on the 25th official James Bond thriller...

Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

NEW YORK (AP) — She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law.Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to...

Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized on Thursday to anyone who may have felt "uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behavior, after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on movie sets and in other professional...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

For CEOs, .7 million a year is just middle of the pack

NEW YORK (AP) — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year,...

Explosion at Indian restaurant in Canada wounds 15 people

TORONTO (AP) — An explosion caused by a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant where children...

Veterans, discharged and jobless, seek hiring-rules changes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Military veterans who were discharged for relatively minor offenses say they often...

The Latest: Syrian army warns Daraa rebels of nearing attack

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Syria (all times local):6 p.m.Syria state-run media says...

49 dead after boat capsizes on Congo River tributary

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congolese officials say at least 49 people have died after a boat tipped over on the...

Explosion at Indian restaurant in Canada wounds 15 people

TORONTO (AP) — An explosion caused by a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant where children...

Tracy Morgan
FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer

 NEW YORK -- A gruesome highway accident followed by months of pain and rehab. That's no laughing matter.

Not unless you're comedian Tracy Morgan, who's mining this ordeal for laughs with his "Picking Up the Pieces" stand-up tour. After its current warm-up phase, the tour officially launches Feb. 5 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, and continues through May. Among other dates, he will perform three shows in New Jersey, including a New Brunswick theater about 20 miles from where the accident occurred.

"I'm in a good place in my life," says Morgan during a recent phone conversation. "When I first got back on the stage, I had to work on my confidence. But I wasn't scared. I wasn't nervous. I was excited!"

It was June 7, 2014, when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the limousine Morgan was riding in. The crash killed a close friend and fellow comedian, and left Morgan with broken bones and brain damage. He was in a coma for two weeks.

"I was basically knocking on The Door," he says, but adds with undisguised gratitude, "I came back. That's the spirit moving me."

That was plenty impressive. But still it held no promise that Morgan, who has long scored laughs in concert, on "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live," would ever be able to perform again.

On the "Today" show last June, in his first public appearance since the accident, Morgan sat clutching a cane and, with a tear streaking down his cheek, acknowledged he wasn't "100 percent yet."

"When I'm there, you'll know it," he said. "I'll get back to making you laugh, I promise you."

He made good on that promise three months later with a surprise appearance on the Emmy telecast.

By then he had made good on a promise to himself to wed his fiancee, Megan Wollover, on his own terms: walking her down the aisle with no cane.

Then, in October, he returned triumphantly as guest host of "SNL," where he had been a cast member from 1996 to 2003.

"I felt so good going back home to 'SNL,'" he says. "It was like the first day I was there many years ago. That first time was crazy, but to have the opportunity to have the feeling all over again — wonderful, man! And I said, 'I want to (tour) again.' That was the end" of any doubts.

He admits to grave doubts during his long convalescence and therapy.

"I remember being visited by a good friend I've known all my life, and I said, 'Why did God let this happen to me?' And with the meanest look, she said, 'Never question God!'

"I said, 'I'm sorry.' And she said, 'OK, baby. That's all right.'

"Tough times don't last. Tough people do," Morgan sums up. "We're ALL here 'cause we're tough."

Morgan, 47, has made amusing use of a lifetime of tough challenges, including a harsh childhood and health issues that included a kidney transplant in 2010. So it's no surprise that he's dressing his latest wounds in humor.

"The accident was a setback, but, you know, in my world, a setback is a setup," he says. "You use things that happen in your life that weren't funny — tragedy turned inside out. If you don't laugh about it, you'll cry about it. And I'm tired of crying.

"But comedy doesn't just come from pain," Morgan adds. "It comes from joy, too."

Chief among his joys are his wife and their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, who, as Morgan speaks, can be heard chiming in with, "Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse," as she addresses Mickey's image on her iPad.

"Now you see what's important and what's not," declares Morgan. "I've learned a lot, man. I learned about life, about the things I used to stress out about, things we worry about on a day-to-day basis but aren't important — not when it comes down to life and death. I talk about all that onstage.

"But I talk about things that are happening right now, too. I look back. But I look forward, too!"

One thing he's looking forward to is a pilot deal for a prospective series that he would star in. To be developed in partnership with Jordan Peele ("Key & Peele"), the new FX comedy would cast Morgan as a career criminal released from prison after 15 years who finds himself flummoxed by the modern world he's re-entering.

It could begin production as soon as this summer. But Morgan says little beyond "it's gonna be incredible." His current focus is on his tour.

"I've tapped into something, man, that nobody else can talk about," he says of his near-death experience. "I went to the other side and came back bearing gifts, and I'm gonna share all those gifts with my fans. I got a whole bag full of funny for you, a truckload of funny coming your way."

_____

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

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