Does Eddie Murphy Still Think He’s Funny?

Eddie Murphy, legendary stand-up comic, appeared on television on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. Murphy went on to enjoy a successful film career, from 1988 comedy classic Coming to America to the 2006 animated film Shrek. His newest movie, Dolemite Is My Name, was released in October on Netflix. The movie centers around 1970s comic Rudy Ray Moore, a comedian Murphy has always admired.

Murphy sat down with Entertainment Weekly in October to discuss his venture back into an active Hollywood career, after some recent slower-paced years. He also talked about returning to stand-up comedy. After all this time, does Eddie Murphy still have it? This is what he has to say about it.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The ‘Delirious’ star made a new movie about a comedy hero

“Dolemite” was 1970s comedian Rudy Ray Moore’s stage persona. Moore developed this alter-ego into a movie of the same name in 1975. Murphy always loved screwball comedy film and is thrilled to release his take on Moore’s story after the project was stuck in development for years.

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“It’s great to be in a movie that works and that’s funny,” Murphy told Entertainment Weekly. Making people laugh is the whole purpose for it all, he says. “That’s the only reason why I’m making movies.”

Eddie Murphy had to do stand-up again for ‘Dolemite Is My Name’

After only doing a couple of films in recent years, Murphy is diving back into the Hollywood scene. He both produced and starred in the Netflix flick Dolemite Is My Name. But after so long away from stand-up comedy, it would be more than normal for Murphy to feel nervous to get back into it.

“When I first got up on the mic for Dolemite,” Murphy said, “there were a couple scenes with an audience and I was improvising.” However, the comedian found himself back in his natural habitat.

“They were laughing and I had flickers of ‘Oh yeah, I remember that sound,’” he said.

Eddie Murphy and his girlfriend Paige Butcher attend the LA premiere of Netflix’s ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ at Regency Village Theatre | Rachel Luna/FilmMagic

Although it’s been over three decades since Murphy’s iconic Delirious set came out, Murphy says his comedic voice is still strong.

“I’m still me,” Murphy said. “I know I’m still funny.” It’s no surprise to us that Murphy still feels at home on a comedy stage.

‘SNL’ alum Eddie Murphy explained his stand-up comedy comeback

Murphy is finally dipping his toes back into the stand-up comedy pool after several years away. But he didn’t get here without some nudging from high places.

Murphy told EW about winning the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2015. For the ceremony, it’s custom that the winner gives a speech to a room full of hilarious and important people.

With high expectations at hand, Murphy “wrote new material for the first time since stepping back from the comedy scene.” The audience’s reaction, he said, totally “blew him away.” Especially one audience member, in particular: President Barack Obama.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy | Steve Granitz/WireImage

“When you get that Mark Twain Prize, you get to meet the president,” Murphy explained. Apparently President Obama has been waiting for more Eddie Murphy stand-up gold.

“I met Obama and the first thing out of his mouth, ‘When are you doing stand-up again?’” Murphy said. “Between that and the award, I was ready to get back.”

Murphy is hosting Saturday Night Live in December this year and is reportedly in talks with Netflix about a new comedy special.