Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish met at the very first table read for “The Last O.G.”
That’s what Morgan remembered, anyway.
“That was not the first time we ever met,” Haddish said.
“It wasn’t?” Morgan said.
“No, the first time we met was at the Saddle Ranch in Hollywood,” she said.
At that, Morgan let out a loud, long “wow” — probably not remembering the exact evening, but knowing what kind of meeting Haddish was about to recount.
“By the end of the night, your shirt was off. You were dancing,” she said, as part of her response was drowned out by Morgan’s laughter and ever so slight embarrassment.
“You met that Tracy!” Morgan said. “[Back then] my publicist would call every week and go, ‘God damn it!’ Because every week, I was doing something crazy.”
Now, Morgan and Haddish are making a well-received TBS comedy, joining the network’s increasingly impressive lineup of “Search Party,” “Angie Tribeca,” “The Detour,” and more. “The Last O.G.” focuses on Morgan’s Tray Barker, an ex-convict released after 15 years in prison who’s trying to get a cooking career started in a now-gentrified Brooklyn. Haddish plays Shay, his newly married ex-girlfriend who’s now quite successful.
Much like their characters, a lot has changed for Morgan and Haddish since their run-in in the early 2000s. Morgan said they’ve both “grown and come into our own,” or, as Ms. Haddish put it, “Yeah, I don’t take my shirt off at parties no more, either.” But they’ve also gained more fame, Haddish especially.
Haddish has broken out in a big way. With key roles in “The Carmichael Show” and “Keanu,” the stand-up hit it big with “Girls Trip.” Now, she’s talking to Paul Thomas Anderson about starring in one of his films and putting herself out there as the people’s choice for Oscar host.
“Her star is so bright,” Morgan said. “I’m proud of the way she’s carried it.”
“I’m just trying to get money like he got money,” Haddish said with a laugh. “I’m trying to get my bank account some extra digits.”
But Morgan wouldn’t let her shrug it off. “No, it’s way beyond money,” he said. “She says that, but she knows I know. It’s about legacy. […] So she will always keep the funny first. The money will come and go, but the gift that God gave her won’t. God’s not an Indian giver.”
Morgan has had his fair share of success since the early aughts, too — his acclaimed role on “30 Rock,” hosting “SNL,” a number of feature films — but his motivation to make “The Last O.G.” great stems from his recent accident. In 2014, Morgan was in a six-vehicle collision in New Jersey that left him in a coma for two weeks and killed his friend and collaborator, James McNair.
“I had this idea in my head for this show for about eight years,” Morgan said. “So when I survived the accident, that’s when I just said, ‘Fuck it.'” […] My first O.G. was my daddy. […] But my last O.G. was Jimmy Mack. He died in the accident with me. That’s why we named the show ‘The Last O.G.'”
Morgan said he watched “Key & Peele” episodes during his recovery (“That kept me laughing”), so he had his agent set him up with Jordan Peele, who became the co-creator and an executive producer on the series. Now, Morgan and Haddish hope their characters can help viewers.
“For me, I want people to pull away [that] Tray Barker made that mistake so you don’t have to make it,” Morgan said of his character on the show. “Hustlin’ is just a reaction. […] You can’t react to what you see on TV or in videos; you see a fly car so you decide to sell drugs in the strip mall community to get that car. That’s the misconception we grew up in. You see all this fly stuff on TV and you start doing things, selling your soul, to get it. That’s not right.”
Haddish hopes Shay will inspire people to keep going.
“What I hope people pull away [from Shay] is that no matter what you go through, you can always make your dreams come true. She wanted the best for her children. She wanted to be married. She got her a husband. She just wanted that full life, so it also includes her charity and everything. […] I want people to pull that away; that you can make your dreams come true. You just gotta put in the work.”
“Me and Tiffany are making history,” Morgan said. “We’re literally making history. Fifty years from now when they look back on this — ‘I Love Lucy.’ That’s what I want. I want history. A lot of young people out there today want hits. I want history. I want Nick at Nite.”
“There ain’t nothing like this on TV. This story hasn’t been told,” he said.
More than a decade back, this duo who met during a wild night on the Sunset Strip. Now they’re making sure no one forgets their hard work.