By the time comedian Tracy Morgan closed his inspiring stand-up set in Dover Friday night, he knew exactly how long it had been since the devastating 2014 traffic crash that left him critically injured and killed his friend.
Two years, four months, a week and two hours.
While much of Morgan’s performance was focused on the accident and his recovery, he did not mention a fact that many in the sold-out crowd knew: Dover Downs was where he performed the night his van was rear-ended by a WalMart tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike.
That came once his hour-long set was over, as Morgan let the magnitude of the moment rush in.
He invited others who were in the van with him that night onto the stage, including comedians Harris Stanton and Ardie Fuqua, Morgan’s assistant and the driver.
“We lost a brother, but he’s here with us right now,” Morgan said, pointing to a chair in the front row that was left empty, topped with a big golden bow. It was reserved for comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, who died in the early morning accident.
As the audience gave a standing ovation, they huddled together arm-in-arm for a group hug at the center stage – the last stage that McNair ever performed on.