by Kyle Swenson
“Life smacks Tracy Morgan in the face,” is how the SNL and 30 Rock funny man laid it out himself while sitting down with NPR’s Terry Gross in 2009 for a surprise kleenex-soaker of an interview upon the release of his hard knocks memoir, I Am the New Black. Barely damming the waterworks while Gross uncharacteristically fumbled around for responses, Morgan detailed his tough life growing up in Brooklyn, a situation that came to a dramatic climax when he chose to leave behind his mother and live with his recovering drug-addict dad.
“It was a terrible situation, and it wasn’t my mother’s fault. Something just went off in me and I just went off,” he said at the time referring to the decision to leave. “I heard my mother cry, and it just broke me down. I never meant to hurt my mother.”
Whatever exorcism Morgan got from taking his broken home situation public, the comedian is in for another round of media attention spotlighting his family life. Morgan’s mother, Alice Warden, a 61-year-old cancer survivor now living in Youngstown, has been making the media rounds recently, telling everyone from the New York Daily News to the Youngstown Vindicator about how her son won’t open his wallet to fend off an incoming foreclosure.
Warden has been living on Youngstown’s rough south side since ’95. Last year, she lost her job at the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Program. Her unemployment benefits have run out, and she can’t handle her mortgage payments.
As a last resort, she asked Morgan to help her out. The actor initially agreed, but later Warden was contacted by an accountant who offered to hand over a one-time payment of $2,000. Warden owes about $25,000 on the property. She turned down the offer.
Morgan has released the following statement:
“I am saddened that these untrue stories about me have people questioning my commitment to my family,” he said. “For reasons that are between us, I have not seen my mother in 11 years and outside of a random call here and there have had little to no contact with my sister. We all have personal family issues that we have to deal with in life, but I choose to deal with mine in private and not through the media.”
Now, we’re going to say the obvious here, but we’re only getting one side of the story — it’s hard to imagine what’s gone on between mother and son. If you spend some time wading through the Gross interview, you get the sense we’re talking about some heavy shit. That said, when you ink the deal with the Dark Forces to become rich and famous, we’re pretty sure there’s a clause in there that requires you to take care of your mom when she’s about to be tossed out on the street.