Tracy says his biggest influences in comedy have been Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. "I remember before I started going comedy, I went to Def Jam. A friend of mine worked for Russell Simmons, so he took me to Def Jam the first season Martin hosted, and I was watching and I said: 'This guy is where I'm from. He's speaking my language; he's talking about things. I could do that,'" he says. "Four months later, I was on Def Jam doing comedy with him." 

Tracy says he realized he was funny at an early age. "My older brother has cerebral palsy. ... So when the kids sometimes could be mean in the schoolyard, I couldn't go get my big brother. So I had to learn how to make the bullies laugh," he says. "I knew I was funny when the bullies were on my side and they protected me."

Using comedy to connect with people has always been one of Tracy's strong suits, and he says one of the reasons working with Tina Fey on both SNL and 30 Rock has been so successful is that she understands his humor. "She's my friend. I love her," he says. "She understood that I knew who I was. Where everybody else [said]: 'Oh, he don't know. His whole career is chance.' And she understood that I was making choices. I was making choices on TV. And she not only would write things, she would just encourage me."


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