I read this week that Eddie Murphy is to be honored as the first recipient of the inaugural ‘Comedy Icon Award’ at ‘The Comedy Awards,’ the first-ever multi-network, multi-platform, annual event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy’, which is being put on by MTV Networks.
The award is a major deal and the show, which is being taped on March 26th, will be attended by a who’s who of the US comedy world, including Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Ty Burrell, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry, Bill Hader, Chloe Moretz, Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg, and Kristen Wiig.
I was extremely pleased to hear this news as I have often felt that Eddie hasn’t always got the props he deserves. The majority of people I know cite Richard Pryor as the ‘King of Comedy’, and although Rich is definitely in my top two, I’ve got to say Eddie Murphy is number one for me. I know Eddie came up as someone who made no secret of the fact he was influenced by Richard and took many elements of Richard’s act to hone his own brand of comedy, but I feel like Eddie has the perfect blend of an all-round comedy superstar.
I think because I grew up on Eddie Murphy and his movies, this also plays a big part in me liking him. Eddie took what Richard did and ran with it, in so many ways, especially in terms of movies and I love the way he felt totally comfortable with bringing in other young comedians on his projects, including Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence in Boomerang (Chris also appeared in Beverly Hills Cop II), Dave Chappelle in Nutty Professor and Damon Wayans in Beverly Hills Cop.
Yeah there have been a few turkeys in terms of Eddie Murphy films – okay quite a few, but then every huge movie star has had them, and besides when you round up all the classics and how great and timeless films such as Coming to America, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop I & II, Trading Places, The Nutty Professor, Life, Boomerang and of course his live stand-up films Delirious and Raw are, these can be forgiven, can’t they? LOL! And then there are the Shrek movies, the PJs (I didn’t see what Spike Lee’s beef was all about, I loved that show!) AND his music career… but before we ruin things, let’s take a look at a couple of his best bits below…
Eddie started off his career doing impressions, which lead to his still celebrated stint on Saturday Night Live, but this one is one of my favourites from him. I came across this little gem on Youtube from The Actor’s Studio. He sounds so much like his brother!
Although many would agree that Eddie is someone who has the ability to make you laugh out loud while watching one of his films, most are unaware of some of his amazing and ground-breaking achievements, including him being the first actor to receive $1 million for his first movie. The deal was part of an exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures, signed in the early 80s, where he was contracted to do five films and a major concert movie. He was only 21 at the time, and at this point his near-exclusive contract rivaled Star Trek as Paramount’s most lucrative franchise! Star Trek, y’know!?! Major!
In addition, Eddie’s movies combined have grossed the second largest amount of money at the box office for any Hollywood actor. Ever! Go on wit’ yo’ bad self Eddie!
I also gained another level of respect for Eddie when he appeared in the big screen adaptation of popular stage show Dreamgirls (2006). Along with Jennifer Hudson, Eddie was the best thing in that movie, due to his very powerful portrayal of tormented singer James ‘Thunder’ Early. In the past his acting skills have been overlooked, as his movies have all been heavily comedic and called for overtly silly or OTT characters – all in the name of making the audience laugh.
But this movie proved he could act, as did his Screen Actor’s Guild, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for the part. He eventually took the Screen Actor’s Guild and Golden Globe awards home, but missed out on the Oscar. Some attributed the latter to the release of his film Norbit around the time of the ceremony. The film and the poster, which featured Eddie dressed as an overweight woman in an over-sized fat suit angered women’s groups and caused protests to boycott the film. However I feel he was robbed. Big time!
Lucky for Eddie, I’m not the only one who feels he deserves props. Read more about the The Comedy Awards, which will be screened on April 10 on a variety of MTV-owned channels, including Comedy Central, Spike TV and VH1, below.