“Tracy was always the extreme wild card of comedians,” he said. “His material was a slice of a real, hard-core urban life. You’re listening to it like, oh my God, this sounds dangerous as hell, but it’s so funny just to hear it.”
When they began work on “The Last O.G.” — FX passed on the series, citing creative differences, but TBS picked it up — Cedric said he expected that Mr. Morgan would be changed by his experiences. He was fully healed, and ravenous to show viewers that he was every bit the man he’d been before the accident.
“When you have this tragedy happen, everybody assumes you’ll never be the same again, so that desire is there,” Cedric said.
Even though Mr. Morgan could simply sit on his Walmart settlement and grow old, Cedric said this was not his desire, though he could not entirely disguise how this windfall had affected him, either.
“Whenever he would get frustrated, he would be very quick to say he didn’t need it because he had this money,” Cedric recalled. “And I would say: ‘Tray, that’s not who you are. Don’t claim that as your identity. People love you because you’re funny. They don’t love you because you’re rich.’”
In these moments, Cedric said, Mr. Morgan would eventually regain his composure and his underlying generosity would shine through. “Even if he only had $100, he would be the guy to buy everybody White Castle,” he said. “It might not be Peter Luger, but whatever he’s got, he’s going to show people that he appreciates them.”
Ms. Haddish, the “Girls Trip” star, said that she saw a lot of genuine affection in the flashback scenes of “The Last O.G.” that show Tray and Shay’s life together when they were still young and struggling.
“I dated a lot of dope dealers back in my day, so it’s not hard for me to pull from that,” she said. “They need love, too. A lot of them are out of jail now, and they’re like, ‘Wow, you’re actually famous?’”
More seriously, Ms. Haddish said she found inspiration in Mr. Morgan’s steadfast efforts to resume his career. When she was growing up, her mother was also involved in a car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury and, Ms. Haddish said, “We didn’t have all that money to get the best help.”
“Now,” Ms. Haddish said, “I got her the best doctors, and she’s getting better and better. Tracy showed me, if he can get himself together and be able to work, damn, maybe I can get my mom to that level, too.”
She added: “He’s a survivor. He’s a testament that if you really want to do something better for yourself or others, you can.”