Is Eddie Murphy coming back to stand-up comedy? Devotees of the former SNL standout and movie star's work have been hungry for him to step up to the mic again for decades. In an interview on a Hollywood Reporter podcast, Murphy sounded more positive than ever about the prospect.
Murphy, who has returned to film work after a five-year hiatus with the independent drama Mr. Church, told THR that bowing out of movies for a time "was giving the audience a break." His long time away from stand-up was a bit more complicated:
Murphy soon became as associated with standup as anything — his specials Delirious (1983) and Raw (1987) were huge hits — but in his late 20s he walked away from it. "I stopped doing standup because it stopped being fun," he explains. "And the reason it stopped being fun was it was harder to write — and this was before the internet — it was harder to write new stuff. It had gotten so crazy."
Jokes and bits that he would go to a club to test out almost immediately became public fodder, before he could even finish developing them. "It was like, 'Maybe I'll take a little break from standup.' And then the break just got longer," he says...
Murphy went on to indicate he felt as if the Def Jam style of comedy had taken over and "the whole comedy scene just turned into this big other thing."
He admitted he'd been putting off the idea of doing his own routines again, but now, "all of a sudden I'm this far away from it."
Murphy told THR he is serious about resuming stand-up comedy because he's older "and so much has changed and I'm such a different person."
It's not entirely true that Murphy hasn't told a joke onstage in nearly 30 years. In late 2015 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. As the PBS video of Murphy's acceptance below shows, he's still got everything he needs to dominate the comedy world all over again—the timing, the material, and perhaps most of all the charisma that's fueled his long career.
If that's what we can expect when Eddie does decide to do his thing again, we'll be first in line.