Tracy Morgan High on Starring in and Producing Louis Armstrong Biopic

From left: Louis Armstrong and Tracy Morgan impersonating him on "Saturday Night Live" in 2003.

For the last few years, comedian Tracy Morgan has been saying he wants to play jazz legend Louis Armstrong in a biopic; in fact, he's bankrolling it.

In 2018, Morgan told Howard Stern about the project and said fellow comic Jeff Stilton was writing the script. Both worked together on Saturday Night Live and Stilson executive produced the TV series The Last O.G. starring Morgan.

Two years earlier, Morgan commented:

"If I had my dream movie role, it would be to play Louis Armstrong, and I would name it ‘Pops'... He pleased white people and black people... I love his whole career. He’s like (Jimi) Hendrix. Hendrix had many bands, but they were all great."

Morgan impersonated Armstrong when he was a cast member on SNL from 1996-2003. He did a brief duet as Armstrong with Queen Latifah in his final season. Watch the sketch here.

Born in 1901 in New Orleans, Armstrong rose up to become one the greatest jazz trumpeters and singers. Nicknamed Pops, he loved marijuana, which he called gage. Armstrong was arrested for possession in Los Angeles in 1931 and spent nine days in jail. He wrote several songs about gage, including the instumental, "Muggles," another slang term for cannabis.

On March 8, Morgan's Coming 2 America fellow cast member Jermaine Fowler told NME:

"He showed us a clip of a movie he's financing that's really, really dope. He wants to play Louis Armstrong in a biopic and I believe he can do it. He sounds exactly like him and looks exactly like him, and I was blown away by it. If he can truly pull that off I think it'll put Tracy on another level altogether."

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.