Here’s a statement that may not seem possible to a generation who knows him for Norbert and that reggae song he released with Snoop. Eddie Murphy was once the funniest man in America.
The 1980’s was a phenomenal time for Eddie. As was noted earlier this summer, take away Michael Jackson and there perhaps wasn’t a more popular and successful Black entertainer during the decade. Delirious turned 30 last month, marking a monumental anniversary for a stand-up which, in the eyes of many, goes down as the greatest of its kind.
Free to say whatever he wanted – he said “f*ck” 230 times and “sh*t” 171 – Delirious was anything but “safe.” What the 70-minute set also solidified was his coronation as comedy’s next big attraction following Richard Pryor. Where Pryor added more socially conscious elements to his routine, Murphy’s bread and butter came with impersonations and flat out vulgarity.*
Choosing just one joke as the cream of the crop from Delirious is extremely difficult. Yet, the cookout portion of the show ranks pretty damn high and would probably be my choice if life or death depended on my decision. For those who’ve never seen the movie, click play and decide for yourself. For those who have and remember when it was all the rage, leave some memories in the comments.
Marinate on this for a second though. Eddie Murphy dropped Trading Places and Delirious within two months of each other. That’s a monster of a summer.
* – He has since apologized for some of the topics addressed in Delirious, specifically his comments about homosexuals.