Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is a mama's boy

It was evident from his phone interview last Tuesday when he paused the conversation for a moment. Sure enough, Mom was on the other line. Tracy Morgan, who will be performing at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute next weekend, said he's a family man at heart. A homebody who likes nothing more but to relax. "Just being with my kids, being with my lady, hanging out at home," he said, calling from his home. "I don't like doing anything else. Just hanging out at home, playing with my snake, feeding my fish." Yes, you heard right. Morgan owns a pet snake.

"I have a Red Tail Columbian Boa," said the former "Saturday Night Live" star. "She's beautiful too. She's like six-feet long. Had her since she was a baby." Be assured that Morgan's precious boa won't be making the trek with him to McCurdy's for his four performances on Friday and Saturday, but hopefully his sense of humor will. "I look forward to coming in here and rocking," he said. "I'm excited." Don't expect the "30 Rock" celebrity to do any of his famous "SNL" skits, though — no Brian Fellow or Astronaut Jones.

"My show is about my life," Morgan said. "It's not about any of the characters I do on TV." Morgan, 39, said he grew up surrounded by funny people. One could say he has the funny bug in his genes, passed down from his father, who also performed comedy. He died in 1987. "My dad was a funny person," Morgan said. "Yep. My sense of humor comes from both sides of the family. I've always been into show business. Born and raised in it — third and fourth generation show business entertainer. I love using my sense of humor. I love making people laugh." He's making people laugh with is latest movie,his recent movie release of "First Sunday," a comedy in whichwhere he co-stars as a fumbling criminal with Ice Cube. To pay off a debt, the two men decide to rob a local church. The film was No. 2second at the box office last weekend, earning a respectable $17 million.

While the actor has dabbled in other TV and film projects, including "The Tracy Morgan Show," which ran 2003-04, and the 2003 film "Head of State." Currently, he's enjoying the success of "30 Rock." "It's like being on 'SNL,' ” Morgan said. "It's like being back at home with Loren Michaels, being on NBC, you know. It's a beautiful thing." His divorce from wife, Sabina, and former ankle bracelet wearing issues (due to past troubles with alcohol abuse) aside, it seems the on-going writers' strike may have left the comedian somewhat bored. Sitting around the house all day, playing with pets, hanging with his three children, talking to mom — is there more to celebrity than this?

"I just hope it all gets resolved," Morgan said of the writers' strike. "Everybody wants to get back to work. We want to keep doing what we do. Nobody likes the strike. Nobody." Morgan said he fills his free time with nothing else in particular except those things above, and his stand-up. And sometimes, when he's not joking around, he likes to sit and listen to Michael Jackson. Last week, "Thriller" was his choice of background music during the interview. Though Morgan didn't sing along, he did give kudos to pop star "That's one of my inspirations," Morgan said. "Michael."

If you go

Who: Tracy Morgan When: 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute, 3333 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Tickets: $35 and $39 Information: 925-3869