Tracy Morgan | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

If there's a thin line between madness and genius, Bronx native Tracy Morgan has been delicately walking it for years--as Hustleman on Martin, as unaccredited zoologist Brian Fellow on Saturday Night Live, as Oprah Winfrey on 30 Rock, or as a ghetto nerd in ESPN video game commercials, telling an unamused Ben Wallace, "The way I dunk on you is gonna look unorthodoxt." The guy is hilariously, enigmatically weird--as lost in irony as Will Ferrell, as unpredictable as the early Eddie Murphy, as fiendish in character as Jonathan Winters. So why doesn't his name come up more often? One reason might be that his craziness can be unyielding, which marginalizes him and renders his material inaccessible. I've never seen him give the audience a look that says "just kidding." In television interviews he often speaks over the interviewer or interjects comments that sound like answers to questions he'd rather hear. And in his thrilling stand-up, he seems to enjoy making audiences uncomfortable, dropping more f-bombs than Dave Chappelle and lingering on awkward subject matter--like the vulgar language and movements of people having sex--for way longer than most would dare. a Thu-Sun 8/16-8/19: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 and 10:15 PM, Sat 7 and 9:15 PM, Sun 7 PM, the Improv, Woodfield Mall, Golf Rd. at Rte. 53, Schaumburg, 847-240-2001, $24-$27. --Ryan Hubbard

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