More than a year after a car accident left him in serious condition, Tracy Morgan made a surprise appearance on the Emmy stage Sunday night.
He took the stage to present the award for best drama series, which went to “Game of Thrones.”
“Last year, Jimmy Kimmel said, we’d see you here next year, Tracy Morgan,” he said on stage, after receiving a rapturous applause from the audience. “Thanks to my doctors and my beautiful wife, I’m here standing on my own two feet. God bless all you for your love, prayers and positive thoughts for the past 15 months. I’m honored to be here at the Emmys.”
“It’s been a long road back,” he went on. “I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days.”
“When I finally regained consciousness, I was ecstatic to learn I wasn’t the one who messed up,” he joked. “Only recently I’ve started to feel like myself again.”
Morgan received a standing ovation from the Emmy audience. It marks his first public appearance since the accident that left him with broken ribs, a broken leg, a broken nose and severe head trauma in June 2014.
Backstage in the press room, Morgan had to sit down to make it through the questions. He choked up remembering his ordeal and thanking his manager, Lewis Kay, for his support.
“[The speech was written] by me, Lewis Kay and Jeff Stilson,” he said. “We just sat down and it just came from the heart. I just wanted to say to my peers and my comrades in TV land thank you very much.”
But Morgan said his recovery was more than just about comedy; that he “wanted to walk my wife down the aisle with no cane.” He married Megan Wollover in August.
Morgan’s friend and fellow comedian Jimmy McNair was killed in the accident, when a Walmart truck driven by employee Kevin Roper slammed into the back of a limo containing Morgan and several others on the New Jersey Turnpike after Morgan finished a show. Morgan and fellow crash survivors Jeffrey Millea, wife Krista and Ardie Fuqua filed a lawsuit against Walmart for the accident, which the two parties settled in May.
In August, NBC announced that Morgan would be making an appearance on the upcoming 41st season of “Saturday Night Live.” He hoped to attend the “SNL” 40th anniversary show in February, but was unable to go.
Whitney Friedlander contributed to this report.