Eddie Murphy Isn’t Worried About His Comeback Failing and Ending Up on YouTube

Eddie Murphy is one of the most recognizable faces in comedy. What started as raunchy stand up in the 1980s morphed into family-friendly classics by the 2000s.

After that, Murphy’s career slowed way down, and his appearances became far and few between. Recently, headlines rang out that Murphy would be returning to stand up via a Netflix comedy special

Here’s what we know about the new special and why Murphy seems unconcerned about the fact that it could flop. 

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage
Eddie Murphy | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Murphy has a history of success

Murphy rose to fame through a stint of profanity-laden comedy roles in the 1980s. He had been performing in comedy clubs while attending community college and looked up to artists like Richard Pryor as his role models.

In the early 1980s, he landed a guest role on Saturday Night Live when the popular comedy program was seeking a black cast member. 

As fate would have it, some poor planning gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. The live program discovered they had four minutes of airtime to fill with no material, so Murphy was pushed forward and told to improvise.

The quick-thinking Murphy solidified his place in SNL history and became a regular on the show. Impersonations became a key part of his comedic routines. 

Success in film followed his comedy sketch rise. Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988) still stand as iconic pieces of American comedy. 

A shift to family-friendly fare and some controversy

In the 1990s, Murphy’s performances became increasingly family-friendly. His starring role in the Nutty Professor franchise introduced him to a whole new generation. On top of that, voice work in major animated films like Mulan and Shrek meant that children everywhere knew the actor’s comedic delivery even if they didn’t recognize his face. 

Unfortunately, the 1990s also brought some controversy for Murphy. In 1997, he was pulled over by police with a transgender prostitute in his car. The incident made Murphy the focus of many jokes, and it didn’t help that many of his films of the time were considered to be flops.

The 1998 film Holy Man and the 2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash were panned by critics and fans alike. 

On top of that, Murphy was contending with trouble in his personal life. The actor has a substantial net worth of $120 million, but much of his money is spoken for. That’s because Murphy is the father of ten children from four different women.

His pricey divorce settlement with Nicole Mitchell was followed up by an eye-popping child support judgment for his daughter with former Spice Girl Mel B. 

The Netflix special is billed as a comeback

Murphy mostly faded from the public eye for quite some time, but the Netflix special is being billed as a comeback. Netflix has certainly invested heavily in the endeavor. While the exact amount has been shrouded in secrecy, estimates suggest Murphy could receive up to $70 million for the show. 

In addition to raking in an impressive sum, the Netflix special could be a platform to return Murphy to his comedic roots, providing him with new avenues for stand up performances around the globe. 

Murphy recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about his upcoming show. 

Kimmel pointed out that Murphy and his stand up have a nostalgic place in the memories of many people who saw him perform in the 80s and 90s. He asked the comic if he was worried he would not be able to live up to the expectations of his fanbase.

Murphy responded, “I don’t be worried about stuff like that” to a round of applause from the audience. He explained his creative process involves thinking “constructively” and making things “as funny as possible.”

He said that criticism is “just part of the world now” and suggested that worrying about it would destroy his creativity. 

Whether the Netflix special will be a turning point in the actor’s long career or just another blip in his attempts to regain relevancy in his later years remains to be seen, but fans should tune in to find out.