Tracy Morgan cried over his late "comrade in comedy" James "Jimmy Mack" McNair during his first post-accident interview.
The "30 Rock" star discussed the fatal June 2014 crash that left him with debilitating injuries on Monday with the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. Morgan held a cane during the interview and was accompanied by his lawyer, Benedict Morelli.
"I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm in front of you," the 46-year-old said. "I can't believe I'm just here, and just seeing the tragedy that happened. It touches me."
Accident investigators said that a Wal-Mart tractor trailer, driven by 35-year-old Kevin Roper, collided with Morgan's limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike on June 7, 2014. Roper, who pleaded not guilty to one count of death by auto and four other counts of assault by auto, was believed to be speeding and had been awake for more than 24 hours when the accident occurred.
The comic sued Wal-Mart in July and the lawsuit was settled last week. Though terms of the settlement were undisclosed, the shopping giant took "full responsibility" for the wreck, Morgan's attorney said.
"The case is settled, but the pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mack," a tearful Morgan told Lauer. "He's a close friend of mine. A comrade in comedy. He was a loving man. He was a warm man. He was a good man. It just hurts me to see that he's gone. That's it."
Morgan, who peppered the sit-down with several thank yous, choked up recalling the details and he said he doesn't remember the accident itself. He didn't know that McNair had died until he came out of a coma two weeks after the crash and said that he later watched videos of the accident and a clip of McNair's funeral on YouTube.
"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal because we've known each other for a long time. But I'm happy that Wal-Mart stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way and they took full responsibility because it's true," he said. "I'm just really happy that they looked out for Jimmy Mack's family. I know my friend can rest in peace now... they came through on the clutch."
The actor said that he had "been down" over the last year but his family and several famous friends keep his spirits up. He didn't go into too much detail about his brain injuries, though he did say that he's often forgetful and suffers nosebleeds.
"I have my good days and my bad days," Morgan said.
As for his career, he's eager to get back to making people laugh but is focusing on his health first.
"I love comedy and I'll never stop loving her. I love comedy and I can't wait to get back to her. But right now my goal is just to heal and get better because I'm not 100% yet. I'm not. And when I'm there, you'll know it. I'll get back to making you laugh. I promise you."
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