NEW YORK (AP) - Tracy Morgan said Friday that he was sorry for telling an audience in Nashville, Tenn., that if his son were gay, he would "pull out a knife and stab" him.
The comedian and "30 Rock" actor apologized to his fans and the gay and lesbian community for what he called "my choice of words" but what was characterized by others as an anti-gay rant during his June 3 appearance at the Ryman Auditorium.
A Facebook account posted by an audience member said Morgan's stand-up performance was full of homophobic references. The Ryman issued its own apology afterward for Morgan's behavior.
In his statement, Morgan, who has three sons, denied being a hateful person and acknowledged that "even in a comedy club" what he said went too far "and was not funny in any context."
Late Friday, Morgan's apology was welcomed by Tina Fey, the star and executive producer of NBC's "30 Rock," where Morgan is a cast member, and by NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt.
Fey said "the violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me." Then, with a wry touch, she added, "I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at '30 Rock,' without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket."
In a more sharply worded statement, Greenblatt said Morgan's comments "reflect negatively on both '30 Rock' and NBC - two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations - and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."
Morgan's outbursts triggered heated comment on Twitter, making him a "trending" topic Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called on Morgan to remove anti-gay remarks from his routine "and send a strong message that anti-gay violence is not something to joke about." GLAAD wants Morgan to meet with families who have lost children to anti-gay violence, and with gay and lesbian young people who have been estranged from their families because of their sexual orientation, said spokesman Rich Ferraro.
The Human Rights Campaign also said apologizing wasn't enough. The gay civil rights organization said Morgan "now has a responsibility to make amends for his horribly hurtful and dangerous "comedy' routine."