Eddie Murphy Reveals The ‘Only Reason’ He’s Still Making Movies

One of the biggest names in comedy, Eddie Murphy, started performing stand-up in the 1980s; fame set the rest of his destiny from there. Murphy is considering making a comeback to stand up comedy himself with a Netflix special. The comedian also stars in Dolemite Is My Name, a Netflix-streaming film released in October about a comic Murphy has looked up to for years.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy arrives at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Eddie Murphy hasn’t been making a lot of movies lately

Murphy was offered a guest role on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s, and a successful movie career followed. 1983’s Trading Places and 1988’s Coming to America stand the test of comedy time. Eventually, Murphy did voice-over work in popular children’s movies Mulan and Shrek, introducing his comedic talent to a whole new generation. 

However, in the past eight years, the stand-up comedian-turned-actor has made only two movies. Murphy sat down with Entertainment Weekly writer Derek Lawrence to explain the film drought.

“I was tired,” Murphy told Entertainment Weekly in October. Even without all the movies, Eddie Murphy has had a lot going on.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy accepts the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor | Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Murphy, who has 10 children, received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor award in 2015. This experience, he told EW, reminded him of his love of making people laugh–and inspired him to work on new material.

He will be returning to Saturday Night Live in December of this year at the host. Sequels of Murphy’s iconic films Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop are also on the way.

Murphy’s new movie on Netflix is about stand-up comedy

For many years, the Dr. Doolittle star longed to develop comedian Rudy Ray Moore’s life story. Moore, who died in 2008, was a 1970s oddball comic. He adopted a strange comedic persona onstage named “Dolemite.” This was Moore’s alter-ego: a rough-and-tumble, crass act who even made it to movie screens in 1975.

The film was made on tiny budget, and critics wrote it off immediately. But somehow, Entertainment Weekly reported, Dolemite “spawned sequels and became a cult phenomenon for its raunchy ghetto humor and brazen tackiness.”

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards | Steve Granitz/WireImage

After over a decade of development nonsense, Netflix swept in and saved the project. But why does Murphy love Moore so much?

“He believes in himself, and that’s why his stuff works,” Murphy said. “I thought the whole idea of ‘You don’t have to be brilliant to get your sh*t off, you just have to believe in it’ was a universal and timeless story.”

It’s been a while since Eddie Murphy has released a stand-up album; does he think he’s still funny?

Murphy produces the movie, and also stars as Rudy Ray Moore in the new Netflix film, which was released on Oct. 25. Was Murphy nervous to get back into the humor game after so long away from it?

“I’m still me,” Murphy told Entertainment Weekly. “I know I’m still funny.” He said he felt right back in it.

Tracy Morgan and Eddie Murphy
Tracy Morgan and Eddie Murphy attend the LA premiere of Netflix’s ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ California | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“When I first got up on the mic for Dolemite,” Murphy explained, “there were a couple scenes with an audience and I was improvising … they were laughing and I had flickers of ‘Oh yeah, I remember that sound.’”

Dolemite Is My Name has a star-studded cast that includes comedy greats Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, The Office‘s Craig Robinson, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s Tituss Burgess.

‘Dolemite Is My Name’; Murphy says this is the one reason he’s doing it

Murphy says he’s done with films that don’t make people laugh or connect with an audience.

Dolemite Is My Name Cast
Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name” Cast | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“It’s great to be in a movie that works and that’s funny,” he said. “That’s the only reason why I’m making movies.” After starring in 2016’s Mr. Church, which didn’t do well at the box office, Murphy is looking to be a part of a great film.

“I want to be in one that people like, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had one,” he said. “This is a well-made movie and it’s f*cking funny—and that’s a good feeling.”

Dolemite Is My Name was the number one spot on Entertainment Weekly’s November “Must List.”