On the eve of Nov. 23, PBS aired Eddie Murphy: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, which showed the awards ceremony for the annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor. As this year’s honoree, Murphy was invited to sit in a box seat while a who’s who of comedic talent took to the stage with their favorite stories about the star. They gushed, they praised, and occasionally they poked fun at Murphy, who seemed to take it all in stride.
The Mark Twain Prize is high praise for any comedian, but America’s love for Mr. Murphy runs deep, after decades of iconic movies (like Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America and the Shrek series) have won fans of his wacky. But before all his family-friendly success, there was a different Eddie Murphy: a comedian who was most famous for being shocking, rude, and of course blatantly homophobic.
Clips of Murphy bouncing around the stage shouting about “faggots” are all over the internet, but his most famous antigay tirade came from his performance in his comedy special Delirious. Here’s some of the juiciest bits:
Any comedian who has ever gotten a laugh has, at some point, made jokes at the expense of one subculture or another, whether it be based on race or social customs or gender or any other defining label. If the joke is funny, it’s funny, even if it is about you. But Murphy used gay men in particular, for years, to bolster his career with ridicule that crossed far past just the tiresome standards of political correctness. There’s also the issue that some of those jokes simply aren’t funny.
Murphy has since apologized, and it all happened a long time ago. But Paula Deen admitted to using racial slurs at home and at work and she was kicked off The Food Network in a storm of public fury. Murphy simply issued an apology, and he is the voice of animated characters in children’s movies.
So it raises the question: in a culture like America, which is so quick to label people as public enemies and subject them to scorn, has the LGBT community forgiven Murphy? Or is it easier just to forget the entire chapter ever happened?
The video shocked me.
Well, I watched “The Mark Twain Award” show and honestly… it was… un-funny. George Lopez tried hard to be edgy (for PBS). Kathy Griffin (whom we adore) gave a long, seemingly hard to follow recount of her first meeting with Eddie Murphy. The audience gave a standing ovation to Tracy Morgan, who I never found funny. Ever. If he would have just walked out, I would have never known it was Joe Piscopo. The clips were… quaint; annoyingly aged. There are reasons I never watch SNL in rerun… or watch SNL period.
I put Eddie Murphy in that category of “I won’t spend my money or go out of my way to see him, but if the overall content (say a movie) has some merit, I might be interested”. I think his work in “Shrek” was marvelous; the rest…? Dated. Irrelevant.
,don’t care funniest man ever!
Michael Spike Vincent
He struggled with his sexual “activities” and he used anti gay jokes as a shield.. He tried to redirect peoples attention so that they would say “there’s no way he would like the d$ck”
Eddie shouldn’t be making any derogatory comments about gay people. Especially being caught picking up a known transexual that had been arrested for prostitution.
All this talk about “faggots” when he’s prancing around the stage in an orange leather pant suit. Also, he seems to know quite a bit about anal sex. Hmmmmmm.
LP - Hired Stud
Our community seems to have a NEED to be offended by and at odds with someone, sometime, all the time. But when it matters we just overlook….example Hillary Clinton is NOT a friend of our community until she needs our votes.
We need to open our eyes and demand leaders support us always, not just during election season.
Who cares about Eddie Murphy, he has no affect on our lives, but if you hold a grudge against Murphy, and you vote for Hillary, which I would bet at least 80% of people who read this blog will, you are being hypocritical.
Luis H. Lopez
Murphy has evolved , worry about homophobes like a Trump or kim Davis !
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
Yes and back then our parents and grandparents and we ourselves (closet cases <_<) almost certainly said similar if not worse…do we not forgive these? AND HE APOLOGISED (actually this was news to me and personally speaking makes a huge difference)
@LP – Hired Stud: And the mandatory swipe at Hillary. Oh but she is a friend of our community. She has supported us and made multiple supportive speeches to the world for LGBT people suffering in other countries. And that wasn’t during an election.
It is baffling you somehow make an article about Eddie Murphy into something political. I can sense a different political motive for that… Perhaps you are voting for the other party? Disturbing that you even try to criticize Hillary who has been far more supportive of us than any republican ever will be.
Murphy is a hit or miss comedian. Sure, I am willing to forgive him over something he said a long time ago. But there are/were better comedians than him.
I’ve never forgiven him for his outrageous extreme cruelty directed at people like me.
Not a damn thing wrong with him bringing humor into such a grave situation. Besides, Art Carney was gay and that routine is still Eddy’s best work! Let’s not be so easy to offend, fellow homos.
It is infuriating, but consider the source. And what about the assholes who are laughing at it? They’re probably all voting republican now.
I believe it was Lisa lampenelli that said it best ” if you can take a dick, you can take a joke “. Her line changed how I see humor and can laugh at things more, even jokes about me.
Brian JC Kneeland
We just forgot – one anti-gay always anti-gay!
@LP – Hired Stud: couldn’t have said it better myself. GET OVER IT, PEOPLE. It was a comedy routine over thirty years ago. He’s apologized repeatedly. Move on.
I will posit, though, that a lot of this faux outrage is nothing more than poop-stirring by the gay press and professional offendees. They’re a tiresome lot; why must we continue to pay these humorless scolds attention?
As the inimitable William Shatner once said, get over it!
We now refer to it as the “Mark Twain Prize for Outstanding Bigotry by a Comedy Performer”. What is even more disturbing in this video is not the hate-filled rant against “f-ggots” but all the laughing hyenas in the audience who apparently found it amusing. Murphy should have been booed off the stage.
All I had to do was play 16 seconds— “Faggots aren’t allowed to look at my ass while I’m onstage” — WAITING FOR SINCERE APOLOGY
Baba Booey Fafa Fooey
@PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: Michael Richards apologised too. Have you forgiven him?
A pig then and a pig now, and that is an insult to pigs.
If the joke is funny, then it’s fine. If it’s not, then it’s stupid. Some of his gay jokes were funny and some weren’t. Either way you have to be a real loser to get upset over something a comedian says. If you’re a political correctness junkie, save yourself some outrage and just stay away from stand-up!
@1RedHottSexyMama: But why would picking up an MtF make him gay if MtFs are women?
Baba Booey Fafa Fooey
@ProfessorMoriarty: You are laughable. Are you a comedian? The [email protected] comedians on the other hand…they get crucified and their careers are over.
Ive never forgiven this unapologetic homophobe.
Baba Booey Fafa Fooey
@LP – Hired Stud: Are you an escort? What is “hired stud”?
Comedy evolves. Jokes that u could make in 1982 u wouldn’t be able to make today. Or u can but u have to be incredible smart about the set up. But in the end the jokes on him bc he hasn’t been funny in about 20 years.
The Mark Twain folks need to pay attention. Eddie Murphy hasn’t been funny since 1983’s “Trading Places.” Please, more “Nutty Professor” and Klumps movies!
Jim Carrey will be next year’s recipient.
The question should be – “Do we remember who Eddie Murphy is?”
Yeah, agreed. I like offensive, edgy comedy. Eddie’s EARLY material fits nicely but the Twain people ought to have asked themselves what he’s done lately.
I jokingly mentioned Jim Carrey above; Adam Sandler would be another questionable nominee.
I am surprised NONE of you have mentioned his being pulled over after picking up a prostitute that turned out to be a man on Santa Monica Blvd years ago. Yes kiddies, it did happen. It is also HEAVILY rumored that he does have HIV. Every Hollywood gossip paper plus the supermarket tabloids back around the turn of the century reported on a high profile BLACK comedian who reportedly has HIV and had to back out of several movie offers because of health reasons.
His ex-wife Nicole left him after numerous fights over his letting the obvious Johnny Gil live rent free in their house. She left him for another guy who left her nearly bankrupt in an online jewelry scam. This guy has really paid the price of hypocrisy. The late Karen Dior produced enough evidence that proved he tricked with her numerous times because all the tabloids ran the story. After Carol Burnett’s successful lawsuit against the National Enquirer the ALL check multiple sources before running a story to be sure of its validity. I believe it.
I didn’t notice it until now but he looks VERY uncomfortable on that stage. Its almost as if he sees someone in that audience who knows his “secret”.
@Jim Philbrick: Yeah, but your viciousness at Texas was so misdirected re. Marc Pourner.
@Glücklich: You’re right. Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler…extremely unfunny people.
I haven’t forgotten, I haven’t forgiven, and I haven’t found him funny since Beverly Hills Cop 1. A washed up has been.
We live in an era notable for it’s outstanding ability to hand out meaningless awards to mediocre talent.
I did not watch the video. I don’t need to.
Forgiving him is not the same as praising him. I’m disappointed his kind of humor is considered award winning, in the same way I’m disappointed Tracy Morgan claimed he would stab his son if his son told him he was gay. How can it be funny to say that on stage?. I admit I must not understand the genre, and would not subject myself to their craft.
I NEVER forgive! You said it, you meant it! I don’t even forgive Donna Summer!
Zzzzzz. You folks must have nothing better to do if this ancient history is getting your panties in a twist. Eddie Murphy is a washed up has-been. There are so many *real* threats to our community to worry about.
I think you mean you wouldn’t subject yourself to their ‘crap.’
Yeah, Tracy Morgan isn’t funny either, unless one considers loud noise to be funny.
@Michael Spike Vincent: Eddie Murphy has a history of being involved with trans women and was long rumored to be in a relationship with Johnny Gill and Sugar Ray Leonard, so I always chalked his hom0phobia up to being a closeted/DL gay/bi man who just couldn’t deal with the reality of his desires. That doesn’t let his hom0phobic remarks off the hook, but at the same time, he is himself a closeted gay/bi man, and he did apologize.
Why is this site advocating for [email protected] Paula Dean, who in any case is NOT black, who allegedly used black helpers’ recipes and help without any public thanks, and who is just a lying sow who only apologized when she realized her “empire” was going down in flames? Come on, Queerty, find a better example than that thing!
@Baba Booey Fafa Fooey: Are you kidding? Amy Schumer, Louis C. K., Sarah Silverman, etc., have all made [email protected] jokes and have flourishing careers! Get a grip!
Paula Deen takes ludes, makes food:
Michael T Koon
Who gives a rats ass
Wrong is wrong and right is right. We all know the difference
Meh….an issue out of nothing – happened 30 years ago – the man is not infallible – not to mention he likes transsexual woman, so he’s ok.
I think he’s an asshole for it. And Tracy Morgan for his vicious tirade against gays like 4 years ago. I hope Tracy has let that hate subside since his accident… karma is a bitch.
Big rumor is that Eddie is bisexual and his past attacks on gays were to deflect his own interests in men, trans etc…
Who? — oh, I guess I forgot him.
@Luis H. Lopez:
He’s evolved? Oh! He’s a top now?
It’s amazing how many people here seem to thing funny is the issue – as in “if he’s funny, it’s ok”. So it’s okay to spread hate if it’s funny? The result may still be kids beaten in schoolyards, families rejecting gay kids and employers justifying discrimination. But a bunch of bigots had a good laugh, so it’s okay. Eddie Murphy spread hate disguised as humour for years, and for years saw nothing wrong with it. The fact that can now be seen as the distant past makes no difference. I have personally boycotted any project with which Eddie Murphy is involved – and any gay person with a degree of self-respect should do the same.
So the illustrious “Mark Twain Prize for American Humor” has been reduced to being awarded to a man who’s chief claim to fame is imitating Buckwheat on SNL in the 1980s. They went from the legendary octogenarian Carol Burnett as recipient to Eddie Murphy in less than two years. Otay.
I have to admit, I’ve never really liked the guy. But a Black comedian making jokes about getting AIDS from a woman kissing her gay friend and then giving it to her husband (are you gay?) is NOT funny, especially NOT funny in the early days of the AIDS crisis, really very destructive. And he gets an award? For humor? Now, when the highest rates of HIV transmission is among young black men, Murphy’s humor is particularly offensive.
@Bob LaBlah: I have a friend who works in the business in LA who once told me that Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Majik Johnson used to attend private, upscale she-male sex parties together. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but with the info you provided, I think the revelation is quite plausible now.
This video needs to be seen in context of the era it was done in. I’m old enough to remember those times … when the new outrageous, shocking, and vulgar humor found a home among some comedians … usually the ones who had no other discernible comedic talent except to see what they could get past censors or aim at young, sophomoric audiences. Eddie Murphy was a prime example.
Personally, I never found him funny. His humor is banal; any 14 year-old boy can easily spout what he does without even trying. That is why I also never watch SNL: it’s humor fails on so many levels but mostly because it is juvenile.
Yet, the saddest part of the video is that it gives a harmful message to anyone struggling with his sexuality. I can relate, having witnessed derogatory comments about gays in my youth, listening to family members or reading college library books in 1979 that classified homosexuals as “deviant”. Not that long ago, right? Those things sure made me feel lonely and afraid. And how sad for Eddie Murphy that he colors gay men with a thin crayon of sex. There is so much more about humans than how they choose to express themselves, sexually or not.
@Poncho Sanchez: I remember the day Magic made his announcement and I was floored. Him, I liked. Magic NEVER made any homophobic remarks in public and if he did he strikes me as the kind who would not have said it toward a gay person. He just doesn’t come off as a hypocrite. I love the guy and personally couldn’t see him doing a t-party. He struck me as a big lovable guy who “might” have done something with a friend in front of a super 8 projector when he was in his early teens but overall, I don’t get a gay angle feeling from him.
Now, as for the other two, I have already stated my feelings about Ms. Eddie but as for Ms. Phony Mae Herself, Arsenio Hall; girl left my television screen after she put on that phony ass debate with those “activist” back in the early 1990’s. The ENTIRE fracas was too well choreographed and his choice of words in responses to all of their outbursts were TOO thought out to be instantaneous responses. NOT ONE SLIP OF THE TONGUE DID HE MAKE. NOT ONE. Even his walk up the steps looks choreographed. Every thing was too politically correct and that was what gave the whole thing away.
I felt sorry for him because he really does seem pained the entire time. I think he wanted to say something about the AIDS crisis but didn’t know how and someone suggest this way but it didn’t work out that way to a trained eye and ear. That is a fucked up situation to be in, wanting to speak out about a social issue of the day but can’t because of pressure from the community and his viewers. Listen and watch closely and you will see it.
Out of fairness to Arsenio, if I am right about his TRUE intentions I do apologize if my comment comes off as harsh. I do remember that this was a LONG time ago, folks. The days when if you were black you didnt DARE tell anyone you were gay and expected to survive in Hollywood.
I also remember Murphy saying some positive things about gay people in his concert video (I don’t remember if it was in the Raw or Delirious concert video).
I remember him saying that gay people are just like everybody else. It’s ok to hang out with your gay friend. At the end of the day the str8 guy goes home to his girl, the gay guy goes to suck some d**k; no big deal. I also remember him saying the he hopes for a day when AIDS is just a minor bug like a common cold.
“My AIDS is acting up”
Don’t really care if his apology is sincere or not. We should be just fine with the fact that he’s not anymore relevant. Not even a Mark Twain something award would make him relevant again.
I don’t know. This was the very early 80s, he was twenty-one, like most he was woefully misinformed and this standup was so successful because he was, sad as it is, tapping into general public sentiment. Then the 80s happened, and like anybody with a brain he didn’t come out the other side thinking the same thing; there’s a reason his entire career hasn’t relied on this stuff. His apology wasn’t just the usual bullshit “I’m sorry if anyone was offended,” he was very specific about how much he learned not long after. It wasn’t the first time he’d indicated his opinion changed either; he started by putting his money where his mouth is and donated to research, THEN apologized aloud when someone brought it up. Pretty willing to let it go on this one. And no, I’m not really a fan.
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