Why Comedy Was Once No Longer Fun to Eddie Murphy: ‘When I started There Were 100 Comedians, Now There’s 100,000’

Eddie Murphy is highly regarded as an icon in the comedic world. So much so that many still clamor for the Beverly Hills Cop star to make one more return on stage. However, although Murphy has asserted he plans to come back, he once felt that comedy wasn’t as fun as it once was. Part of the reason was because of how many comedians there now are in the industry.

Why Eddie Murphy isn’t concerned with cancel-culture

Eddie murphy smiling in a suit.
Eddie Murphy | Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Eddie Murphy left stand-up comedy at a time when his jokes were generating a massive backlash from the audience. Since then, the Norbit actor has apologized a couple of times for the material he used, citing it as offensive.

“I deeply regret any pain all this has caused,” Murphy once said according to SF Gate. “Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981. I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year- old man.”

But in an interview with the New York Times, Murphy expressed regret giving up stand-up comedy. Upon his return, however, he claimed didn’t plan on giving it up again. With his experience, the actor didn’t even have to worry about controversies over jokes anymore. This was also why Murphy wasn’t worried about this new cancel-culture era.

“I went through all that stuff, so this is not scary,” Murphy said. “All this stuff they are talking about: ‘Hey, welcome to the club.’”

Why Eddie Murphy once felt too many comedians took some fun out of comedy

It took a while for Murphy to return to stand-up comedy for several reasons. One of those reasons was allegedly due to too many comedians in the industry. According to Contact Music, the changing landscape of comedy took some enjoyment out of the art for Murphy.

”It stopped being fun, I started making movies. Then it felt like too much work going back there.,” he shared. “Comedy’s changed – when I started there were 100 comedians, now there’s 100,000. How do you have your own voice?”

Because of this, Murphy at the time found comfort in another genre of entertainment.

“That’s why I’ve always done music. I want to put it all together, to get all of me on stage – then I’d have fun every night,” Murphy said.

The one comedy show Eddie Murphy believes every aspiring comedian should see

For Eddie Murphy, there’s one comedy act that he sees as required viewing for all aspiring comedians to watch. In an interview with Backstage, Murphy discussed why the late comedian Richard Pryor was important to study for an up-and-comer.

“Richard Pryor was the inspiration from the beginning. That’s the ceiling of the art form. Every comedian should see Richard Pryor’s first comedy [film], Richard Pryor: Live in Concert,” Murphy explained.

He also went into detail how different the scope of stand-up comedy is now thanks to Pryor’s impact.

“Before that, there wasn’t the comic doing an hour, the comic as the main event. Comics used to be opening acts. Now, it’s comedians doing arenas and having an hour show. And back then, Richard was doing movies and stuff,” he continued. “Now, it’s comics who have never had a movie or TV show that could sell out the Garden and make millions of dollars.”

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