Retrospective: The Career Of Eddie Murphy

There are some comedians who leave their mark on the world forever and some comedians who just have a nice solid run then fade to black. Eddie Murphy is a comedian who took his talents and turned into an amazing career with a slew of ups and downs. Regardless, his legacy is iconic and today, the team gathered together to discuss his career and the highs as well as the lows. Let's get into it.

Eddie Murphy is without a doubt one of the greatest comedians of our time. He’s been original since day one and has set the standard for upcoming talents. He’s not only a comedian – he’s also an actor, writer, singer, and producer. Eddie Murphy’s done the necessary work to be where he is and he deserves everything he has.

Since the 80's, Eddie Murphy has been doing stand-up comedy shows. He’s even appeared on Saturday Night Live. His special “Delirious” ranks high on my list of great works. Eddie Murphy came out in a red, leather jumpsuit and cleverly delivered real life situations that everyone could relate to. His movie debut came with 1982’s “48 Hrs.” A wildly underrated movie (by this generation) is “The Golden Child” and it happens to be one of my favorites. Murphy plays a social worker who is chosen to find and save the Golden Child. On his Tibetan journey, he falls in love.

Eddie Murphy will forever be remembered for the CLASSIC movie “Coming to America”. The movie was absolutely genius and has endless quotable lines. He started his own trend of playing multiple roles. Murphy continued down that path in “Vampire in Brooklyn”, “Nutty Professor”, “Bowfinger”, “Norbit”, and more. His craft is one that’s been polished through the years. The way he’s able to bring life to all these characters is simply amazing. Not only is his face easily recognizable on screen, but he also has a distinguished voice. Eddie Murphy’s voiceover as Donkey in the “Shrek” trilogy never gets boring for me. The little girl in me is tickled every time I watch one of the movies. Murphy also provided the voice for the dragon Mushu in Disney's "Mulan." Hearing such a huge voice come from that small animal is more than entertaining.
There is no way I can choose just one favorite Eddie Murphy movie without thinking of another. Because of that, he’ll always be one of the most revered actors and comedians in Hollywood. He’s a living legend for many to be inspired by. Murphy creates timeless films that can be enjoyed by everyone. That speaks volumes in this day and age.

I don’t know many people who by 27 years old would be (arguably) the best stand up comedian ever and be a fantastic comedic actor in Hollywood. Eddie Murphy did just that. Before the age of 30, this guy had already acted in a dozen films, been a regular on Saturday Night Live, won a slew of awards AND wrote and filmed 2 of the best stand up comedy shows of all time. Listen, I know his successes and accomplishments go way WAY beyond what I just mentioned, but I’d be here for days if I talk about all of them, so I’m going to focus on my 3 favorites.

Coming to America! Not only my favorite Eddie Murphy movie, but also one of my favorite movies of all time. It's things like this that show the utter talent of this man. He plays the role of 4 characters and each one so well. The storyline in this movie is a love story that isn't over exhausted. It remains quite light and keeps viewers engaged. It's funny and honestly Murphy was perfect because his chemistry with his co-stars Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones is great (as well as the others). Although this wouldn't be Murphy's first lead role, it really is the one that cemented his rank as one of the funniest of all time!!

Not one person in the '80's or any decade after could pull off a bright red or purple fully leather outfit quite like Eddie Murphy...this is what you might remember vividly if you watched either "Delirious" or "Raw" in the early-mid eighties. Both of these are probably the most referred to stand up shows of all time. I watched both for the first time a few years after Raw was released and I'm so glad I did. I gained an immense appreciation for Eddie Murphy as a comedian. Almost 20 years later and people still refer to the "I got some ice cream" bit from Delirious or the Bill Cosby "filth flarn filth" bit, amongst others. The man is hilarious and made a joke out of celebrities, white people, women, homosexuals, his brother, his one was safe! Each show was 1 1/2 hours of pure and utter hilarity. You didn't even have to relate to any of it, the way he explained it painted a vivid enough image that it was as if you experienced it yourself. Raw and Delirious would quickly become classics and gain a ton of success in the US and globally.

I only touched on a few of the projects Eddie Murphy did, but there is no way anyone can deny the extent of this man's talent. He's been cast in several movies where he's been more than one character and does each flawlessly, and he even had his hand in the music industry. His talent is limitless and his comedic abilities are matched by few. I love that he's done everything from stand up to music to romantic comedies to action films and even Disney. Although his movies aren't always the best, they are always guaranteed to get laughs and some are definite classics.

Oh boy. How can a man be a legend and a failure at once? Look at Eddie Murphy. For every Delirious or Nutty Professor, we get a Dr. Dolittle 2 or a Meet Dave. Now, I think Eddie's a genius. He's hilarious, especially when he doesn't give a damn about who he offends (he comes off like Chris Rock's character in Top Five in some ways when he gets unhinged). However, his legacy is tarnished by his failures. Does he deserve legend status? Hell yeah. Does he still need to make up for Pluto Nash? SHIT YES! However, his "great" usually outweighs the bad and he, again, maintains his legacy status.

Eddie Murphy has always been one of my favorite stand up comedians. From his films in the 80s, I literally can't get enough, but at the same time, I think he has fallen off. I think he was focused on trying too hard to be funny when he didn't need to try at all. Two of my all time favorite films from him are Coming to America and Trading Places. I think those films embody the 80's and it truly showed how society was back then for those of us who were born during that decade.

His work that decade comes second to none. He was very outspoken and was quick to use swear language during his standup comedy. It wasn't a taboo thing to do per se, but his style caught on and it was quite popular with audiences. He's a storyteller and as he told you a joke, he was very slapstick in my opinion. He would reenact how things went down and it would be executed perfectly. When he was on SNL, it was probably the golden era of that show. I think that's where he grew as a comedian and as an actor.

But if you ask me what's my favorite thing about Murphy, it's probably his one hit wonder, "Party All The Time." That song was so bad that you couldn't help but like it.

What's next for Eddie Murphy? I can't wait to see him play Richard Pryor's father in Pryor's biopic film. It's going to be amazing.

Eddie Murphy is my favorite all time comedian. Him, Chappelle, and Pryor are my top 3, but Eddie is my favorite of all time. What type of comedian could have flawless execution and make every joke seem easy. I went back and watched SNL reruns of him as Velvet Jones and Buckwheat and I couldn't help but shed tears laughing at the over the top but downright hilarious. Mr. Robinson, his take on Mr. Rogers was funny on SNL and I think Eddie made the most of his time on there. When Delirious was released, I wasn't born yet. I was way too young to understand it by the time I first saw it, but as I grew, the genius behind it all stuck with me. Every single joke resonated and Eddie was fearless because he spared no prisoners. Anybody could get a joke. That's what makes him so great is his willingness to joke on anyone regardless of who they are.

I was not the biggest fan of the films like 48 Hrs. and Trading Places and while I enjoy Beverly Hills Cop and The Golden Child, Eddie's prime to me came during his run with the RAW show and Coming to America. Eddie had hit his stride and I think what he did on RAW is his best material. He was a star, so he had more experiences and different perspective now, and could joke on some celebrities and have them be real stories. It was genius. He followed that up with Beverly Hills Cop 2 and Coming to America, and Coming to America is my all time favorite movie period. I love that movie.  Every scene, the dialogue, the characters that Eddie plays. It's perfection in cinema form for the comedy genre. In the midst of all the stand up comedy and movie work, Eddie would begin singing and put out an album. Everyone knows "Party All The Time". It's a hilarious song and hilarious concept in general. The album he released was fun, but didn't make a huge dent outside of the single.

From there, Eddie would get into another prime of his, knocking out classics like Harlem Nights and Boomerang. Boomerang is another all time favorite of mine. It is a top all time comedy and there's the romantic aspect that made it a great date movie and I can still watch it without a problem. The plight of Marcus Graham is something hilarious yet every engaging to watch. However, after Boomerang, it would be downhill for the most part for some reason. The Distinguished Gentleman, Vampire in Brooklyn, Beverly Hills Cop 3, and the awful Metro were almost in succession, with only the bright spots of the Nutty Professor and his voice role in Mulan being his best moments in this time.

After 1998, we got Eddie in horrible films like Holy Man, Bowfinger (this film was stupid), but he balanced himself out with the middle of the road Dr. Dolittle and the absolute classic and one of his best ever, Life, with Martin Lawrence. The Nutty Professor sequel did well, and Shrek which featured his voice as Donkey proved to be his most lucrative moment of the 2000s. After 2000, it was a downward spiral. Eddie was still funny, but the movies sucked terribly. None could have been more worse than the Adventures of Pluto Nash. That movie was god awful. As was Daddy Day Care and The Haunted Mansion, as Eddie went into kids films for some reason. Shrek sequels aside, his greatest moment in the 2000s came for his role as James Thunder Early in Dreamgirls, which was a damn good role for him and garnered him nominations and awards.

Unfortunately, that would be his last truly good role, as he would leave us with terrible material like Norbit, Meet Dave (Almost as bad as Pluto Nash), and A Thousand Words, along with a halfway decent appearance in the film Tower Heist. Rumors persist that Eddie will go back to stand up and on tour and there's always rumors about a 4th Beverly Hills Cop movie and other sequels and ideas. Regardless, despite falling off in recent years, Eddie has a legacy solidified. One of the greatest comedians of all time and he has one of the funniest music videos ever with Michael Jackson in "Whatzupwitu" and an appearance in the "Remember The Time" video with MJ as well. Eddie Murphy is a legend. A legend that rose to the top, had a terrible fall, and is trying to rise up again. Can he do it? The next year or two should let us know.



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