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Tracy Morgan’s “Funeral” March

Tracy Morgan’s “Funeral” March (photo)

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If his widely perceived reputation is deserved, you never know what “30 Rock” star and former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman Tracy Morgan might say or do next. For instance, who would have guessed that his next film role would be in the ensemble cast of “Death at a Funeral,” a remake of Frank Oz’s 2007 British comedy, here helmed by “In the Company of Men” auteur Neil LaBute? (To be fair, who predicted LaBute would also have remade “The Wicker Man”?)

Morgan co-stars alongside Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, Luke Wilson, Zoe Saldana and Peter Dinklage as the buffoonish Norman, whose grinning antics fit right in as a dysfunctional family reunites to mourn the loss of their patriarch. Speaking to Morgan by phone, that unpredictability he’s known for seemed to make more sense after his cheery introduction quickly soured, and I got the suspicious feeling he couldn’t wait to be done talking with me.

I’m of two minds about funerals. Do you find them to be more celebratory remembrances, or simply real downers?

Of course, it’s a downer. It’s a funeral! People’s lives are shattered, you know? It’s not fun and games! It’s not like they have funerals at comedy clubs. The comedy in the movie is just a layer, one of the layers on top of the funeral. The movie’s really about family. It’s about acceptance and things like that.

Understood. But even if death is depressing, funerals themselves are about gathering to respect a person’s life, no?

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing. That’s what the movie’s about. That’s the moral of the whole story.

04132010_TracyMorganDeathataFuneral2.jpgBesides working with Chris Rock again, what made you want to take part in a remake of a movie that only came out three years ago?

First of all, Chris is a dear friend of mine. Martin Lawrence is a hero, Chris is a hero. The list of people that I heard were working on the movie inspired me, and I was like, “I wanna be a part of this.”

Did you see the original film?

Yes, two days before we started shooting. I was inspired. I was like, “This is a funny movie.”

For those who haven’t yet seen your version, what would you say is different about the two films besides the cast?

I think we were able to sit back and see the mistakes that they made in the version and correct it. We tweaked a few things here and there. All the same, it’s funny.

What kinds of mistakes?

I can’t pinpoint one mistake out, you know? Because they did it already, we were able to see the things that they should have did in the first one, and we were able to complement the first movie. You know, British humor is different than American humor. This is not just a black movie, it’s American. It’s just different. We’re a little bit over the top at times.

If I’m not mistaken, you’re playing a role that originated with Ewan Bremner. It’s funny to think you’d be considered the American equivalent of Spud from “Trainspotting.”

Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Did you ever see him in that film?

Absolu… No, I haven’t.

04132010_TracyMorganDannyGlover.jpgDo you have anyone in your family who is hard to deal with, like Danny Glover’s character Uncle Russell?

Yes, and I think everyone has that. That comes with age. Most older people, as they get older, their bones hurt and things slow down, you know? You just become a little bit more grumpy.

Being aware of this, do you still see yourself becoming a cranky old man?

Oh, I couldn’t tell you. I’m a long way from that point in my life, man.

What could you tell me about working with Danny Glover that people might be surprised to hear?

I thought it was a treat. He’s an icon, a legend, as far as acting is concerned. To be able to share space and do a scene like that with Danny Glover is awesome, man. My street cred went through the roof.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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