Eddie Murphy Expresses Regret for ‘Ignorant’ Jokes in These Two Classic Stand-ups

As Eddie Murphy prepares for his return to stand-up comedy, he’s taking a look back at some of his old routines. In a recent interview with The New York Times, the comedian reflected on Delirious (1983) and Raw (1987), which are programs that not only highlighted his comedic brilliance but helped catapult him to superstar status.

But the stand-ups were just as controversial as they were successful. Each one has a fair share of insensitive material, ranging from jokes about the LGBTQ community to women’s issues. And while Murphy took pride in his routines at the time, he has since expressed regret for some of their segments.

Eddie Murphy at an award show
Eddie Murphy at an award show | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Murphy got candid in his latest interview

On Sept. 26, Murphy, 58, spoke with The New York Times about the revered classics, admitting that he “cringes” when watching certain parts.

The “cocky jokes about women and relationships” in Raw are among the ones that now bother him. Murphy explained that the lines came from a place of hurt after a breakup he had just gone through at the time. 

“I was a young guy processing a broken heart, you know, kind of an a**hole,” he said.

Murphy also addressed the criticism he received from both stand-ups in regards to a series of homophobic jokes, including one about the fear of contracting AIDS from gay men.

He noted that he’d already apologized for the jokes, which he called “ignorant.”

“I deeply regret any pain all this has caused,” Murphy said in a 1996 apology note. “I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over [and] that AIDS isn’t funny. …I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.”

Eddie Murphy performing onstage | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Murphy’s new material will be different

The comedian added that his sense of humor has changed completely since the ’80s.

“I’m mushier than I used to be,” he explained.

“I now have a whole lifetime of experiences to draw upon,” he added. “There was a time when I was at the center of everything, what I was doing, and how funny I was and how popular. I’m not at the center. Now my kids are and everything revolves around them,” the father-of-10 continued.

More on Murphy’s upcoming projects

The Dr. Dolittle actor recently announced that he has multiple projects on the way.

“Next year I am going to tour, do some stand-up,” Murphy said on the Present Company with Krista Smith Netflix podcast.

He did not share any details, but some of the material might appear in his Netflix special, which is also set to come out in 2020.

Aside from that, he’s also in a new movie called, Dolemite Is My Name, in which he plays real-life comic Rudy Ray Moore. It’s his first movie in about two years.

“I didn’t want to just pop back up,” he added to the Times. “I wanted a funny movie to remind them that they liked me. This movie turned out so strong that I figured this is a great way to come back.”

Murphy will also appear on Saturday Night Live in December and in a Coming to America sequel.

So, get ready for lots of laughs.