Eddie Murphy has been extremely relaxed, having only made two movies in the last eight years, but now with “Dolemite,” the comedian says he’s ready to make the world laugh again, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“I was tired,” said Murphy, who consistently put out blockbuster hits in the ’80s and ’90s. But in 2015, the 58-year-old icon was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, at which point he then sat down and wrote new material for the first time since stepping back from the comedy scene. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“When you get that Mark Twain Prize, you get to meet the president, and I met Obama, and the first thing out of his mouth was ‘When are you doing stand-up again?’ I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” Murphy said with a laugh as he was blown away by the reactions he received. “Between that and the award, I was ready to get back.”
Although Murphy hit the scene in 2016 with the drama, Mr. Church. He said, “I didn’t want to end on Mr. Church. I wanted to do something where, if I decided to never get off the couch again and just go do stand-up, it would be a nice way to go out.”
And then came his latest, “Dolemite.” According to the publication, Murphy wanted to develop the story of Rudy Ray Moore, a trailblazing comedian who created one of the more bizarre personas of the blaxploitation era: Dolemite, an expletive-spewing pimp character Moore invented as a comic and brought to the big screen in 1975. “Dolemite,” the movie, was made for peanuts and starred many of Moore’s friends, and was written off as a total mess by critics. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
However, the film spawned sequels and became a cult phenomenon because of its raunchy ghetto humor and shameless tackiness.
“Richard Pryor is the ceiling of the art of being funny, and this [guy] is the whole other side of the spectrum,” said Murphy, who blamed the 2002 misfire The Adventures of Pluto Nash (“or some s— like that”) for keeping his plans to make a Moore biopic in development for 15 years.
However, Netflix came along and sped the process up, bringing viewers “Dolemite Is My Name,” which will be available to stream October 25.
“He f—ing believes in himself, and that’s why his stuff works,” Murphy says of Moore, whom the actor got to meet and discuss the project before his death in 2008. “I thought the whole idea of ‘You don’t have to be brilliant to get your s— off, you just have to believe in it’ was a universal and timeless story.”
“I’m still me,” he proclaimed. “I know I’m still funny. When I first got up on the mic for Dolemite, there were a couple scenes with an audience, and I was improvising, and they were laughing, and I had flickers of ‘Oh yeah, I remember that sound.’”
Ahead of the premiere, Murphy decided to move up his returns to stand-up and Saturday Night Live, which gave him his big break in 1980.
“This is a good thing to pop back up with, and while I’m at it, I might as well go back to SNL,” Murphy shared. “When I was back there for the 40th anniversary, I started having the kind of feeling you would have when you go back to your old high school. The show is a big part of my personal legacy, and I was like, ‘Let me go back to where I came from, and be funny there and have some fun.”
Despite how happy he was to be relaxed on the couch, he said what’s even better, is being back in the game.
“It’s great to be in a movie that works, and that’s funny,” said Murphy, who is currently working on sequels to Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop. “That’s the only reason why I’m making movies. I want to be in one that people like, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had one. [Dolemite] is a well-made movie, and it’s f—ing funny, and that’s a good feeling.”