Unfunny Business

Eddie Murphy’s homophobic comedy special “Delirious” is now streaming on Netflix


“I got some rules when I do my standup, I got rules and shit. Fag*ots aren’t allowed to look at my ass while I’m on stage. That’s why I keep moving while up here.”

So begins Eddie Murphy’s 1983 standup comedy special “Delirious,” which has inexplicably materialized on Netflix and is now available for streaming.

“You don’t know where the fag*ot section is, you gotta keep moving,” Murphy says. “So if they do see it, quick, you switch, they don’t get no long stares.”

Related: Eddie Murphy’s Antigay “Joke” Past: Have We Forgiven, Or Did We Just Forget?

The antigay jokes continue as Murphy admits he’s “scared of gay people” and suggests straight men could get AIDS if their girlfriends kiss gay men.

“It petrifies me because girls be hanging out with them,” he says.

One night they could be in the club having fun with their gay friend, give them a little kiss. And go home with AIDS on their lips!

“And then when her husband, like five years later, Somebody says, ‘Mr. Johnson you have AIDS’. ‘AIDS?! But I’m not homosexual!’, ‘Sure you’re not homosexual!’.”

As Pink News reports, the film has loads of one-star reviews from shocked Netflix viewers who were unaware of the content.

“Homophobic crap!” reads one review. “This needs to be taken off this site immediately. I was disgusted by it and couldn’t watch more than five minutes. Unfunny, homophobic rubbish!”

“The most homophobic stand up routine I’ve ever seen,” says another. “Can’t believe all the messed up things he says about AIDS, including saying how you’ll catch AIDS from your girlfriend if she kisses her gay friend. 80s hateful prejudice in full force.”

Murphy apologized for the routine back in 1996, saying, “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused. Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981.”

I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.

I am not homophobic and I am not anti-gay. My wife and I have donated both time and money to AIDS research.

I’ve had people close to me die from the disease as well. I don’t know a person who hasn’t been touched in some way by this disease.

Everybody knows somebody who is sick. Black people have been hit harder by this disease than any other group of people on the planet.”

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  • jdboston617

    Eddie’s ignorance is a historical account of a painful and shameful past of blatant homophobia on an epic scale. Cruel, sick ignorance. But at the same time, it begs the question, do you censor/block an ugly, discriminatory past or let the public make their own opinions today? I would hope most people would be shocked and appalled and perhaps understand what the LGBT community, and AIDS/HIV community have faced in the past and still do in much of the world.

    Honestly, it’s a tough question. I’m curious what others think.

  • jdboston617

    @Paco: Thanks, Paco. I agree. It doesn’t. The other side of the argument is bigotry is bigotry and offensive is offensive. And it is as offensive as offensive can get. If the “comedy” act were new – it would never see the light of day, at least on a major network/studio. But since it’s 30+ years old… it gets a free pass and we re-publish it???

    Tricky question…

  • robho3

    1983 was a very different time…. I mean come on people

  • Paco

    @jdboston617: Not so tricky for me. It is an example of how far we have come. Jokes that used to be seen as funny are now very cringeworthy. We can’t combat homophobia by erasing examples of it having existed. Any discomfort people feel from hearing Eddie Murphy’s outdated jokes, is a good thing. It means progress has been made.

  • jasentylar

    It’s art. Not my cup of tea, but art nonetheless. Artistic freedoms have to be protected. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. We have the choice. I don’t like movies that depict uneducated people of color—-I don’t watch them. I don’t want them expunged from history or removed from popular culture because that would be a false depiction of reality.

  • jdboston617

    @robho3: Of course, but that’s not the question or focus of the article. The question is what to do with the material now that it is being re-aired?

  • jdboston617

    @Paco: Interesting. Thanks for your replies.

  • jdboston617

    @jasentylar: Cool, thanks for your reply.

    So are you saying that even epic bigotry and false information on a disease gets a free passes in the name of “art” or “free speech”? (I’m not trying to corner you btw. I’m just curious about why you feel this way.)

    Also, doesn’t our freedom of speech allow the public to reject this and ask that it be removed? (from Netflix)

  • Paco

    @jdboston617: You’re welcome. I found his show to be just as offensive back then as I do today.

    Perhaps such examples of normalized homophobia should be kept in the realm of historical documentaries so future generations have an opportunity to understand how it impacted the people that lived through it, rather than allowing the source material to be presented on its own.

  • He BGB

    I still have my paperbacks of Truly Tasteless Jokes from the 70s. They lampoon everything from gays to Polish to black. They are truly tasteless jokes. It was a different time. Ignorance and fear were rampant.
    After this special I lost all respect for EM and anything that he was associated with. It might have been a deciding factor on when he lost the Oscar for Dreamgirls. He was ready to give his speech.

  • dwes09

    @jdboston617: There is a question of intent, as well as artistic merit. If you recall, there was a controversy several years ago over the teaching of Mark Twain’s books in their original form (which included white characters referring to black characters with the “n-word”). Clearly it was the way people spoke at that time and in the places he wrote about and just as clearly the characters were in valid, accurate interactions with each other. There was no ill intent and it is clearly literature.

    By contrast, Murphy is trying to get laughs through nothing more than mean spiritedness and hate and has no insight offered beyond a view of his own ignorance about gay men and HIV. There is then, little merit to his supposedly comedic routine, and its intent is questionable. He is not holding a mirror up to homophobes, but being one and so this should be presented in a context of hie homophobia and its damage to himself and others. It should not be presented as “classic comedy” or art or as having value in itself.

    He has claimed to be a fan of Lenny Bruce whose work got him banned from many clubs in his life as he was a pioneer of using “bad language”, but as almost all good comics, his work held a mirror up to hypocrites and those of questionable motive; it did not show him to be one. If Murphy has moved beyond that, good. No need to use the material to amuse those who still hate gay people.

  • davidjohng

    As an older person I experienced this period first hand. And it was bad. And the decades before the 80s were even worse. I find it especially outrageous when one minority belittles another minority. I recall reading an interview of him in the mid-1980s where he complains about the lack of roles for black actors in Hollywood and literally in the next paragraph goes on a rant and starts berating “fags” and gay rights, etc. Obviously he couldn’t see the outrageous hypocrisy there but after reading that I never and will never see another of his movies or concerts. He turned a lot of people off. I know he has expressed remorse since but I don’t trust him. His career was fading and he probably realized blatant homophobia now carried a price. I hope karma bit him in the ass real good.

  • Captain Obvious

    Whitewashing the past makes it possible for this stuff to start again just like painting black people as the only homophobic people on the planet helps keep white homophobes homophobic. One day some of you will get out of your own way and ours as well.

  • GayEGO

    @jdboston617: Homophobic individuals generally do not learn and science has shown that they hate themselves more because they have gay tendencies. I knew a homophobic who had a gay partner, and he believed gays were worse than murderers. I found out later on that he set his house on fire and burned himself up in it.

    • tim_huynh


  • jdboston617

    @dwes09: Thank you for replying. I liked your comparison of Twain to Murphy. I had thought Twain as well. It is interesting that the jury seems to still be out on whether to edit/censor the original language or to keep it.

  • jdboston617

    @davidjohng: Thank you for replying and I’m so sorry to hear your past experiences. It must have been brutal and dehumanizing. (HUGS)

    EM did have some karmic retribution, if we wanna call it that. Do you recall in 1997 when he was stopped by police with a transgendered prostitute in his car. Opps… It was a last nail in his career coffin at the time.

  • JerseyMike

    We can’t change what someone said 33 years ago. Every movie from the past is going to upset someone. If you don’t like it boycott net-flicks.. lol.. didn’t think so..

  • Brian

    Lol -as if anybody wants to look at Eddie Murphy’s skinny ass!!!! In any case, I don’t watch Netflix. Netflix is trash.

  • Xzamilloh

    Of course it should stay on Netflix. History should make us cringe… life in general should make us cringe sometimes. Future generations need to see how far society evolved, especially on the issue of gay marriage and LGBT rights in general. Besides, you start doing crap like this, what defense would there be for the individuals who tried to rewrite history in textbooks regarding slavery? Or racism? Or women’s rights? Slippery slope argument notwithstanding, it stands to reason that if people think their emotions dictate what should be shown, how are they no better than the individuals trying to keep LGBT things off network television because of “Muh uncomfortables” or “Muh kids” or “Muh baaabul!!” or “Muh-hammad”

  • Kangol

    @jdboston617: Thank you! I’m surprised no one else mentioned this. He was ranting about gay people, and of course, he hadn’t come out of his own transphilic closet! I mean, come on, this is the case with so many of these anti-gay nutsos. I say air the show, but I’d also suggest posting something before it airs to let it be known that the broadcaster doesn’t endorse homophobia, sexism, and so on. The same could be done for all the Hollywood movies that are overtly [email protected], homophobic, etc. And there are A LOT of them, and some have been deeply influential.

  • The Homosexual Agenda

    After the show he picked up a trans sex worker for a little backseat oral.

  • Brian

    @Xzamilloh: On the basis of your logic, Netflix should also allow comedians who disparage black using the word Nigge r.

  • Baba Booey Fafa Fooey

    @Xzamilloh: Leave it. I agree. Leave the black face comedians to. Some people enjoy Murphy, Kinnison and others enjoy black face comedy.

  • Xzamilloh

    @Brian: YES. they should. Or would you like Huckleberry Finn completely removed from American History, even though it is one of the greatest works in literary history, at least in my opinion? We should be exposed to the ugliest, trashiest, most uncomfortable parts of our history and our society, and we most definitely should not be trying to censor or sanitize history. Hell, I’ve been called the n-word on this site by a piece of crap… it didn’t bother me then, and it doesn’t bother me now. The only thing that bothers me is how those of us on left AND right get so bent out of shape when someone wants to shut down something WE like, but we can’t ssee the hypocrisy in our own actions when we do the same.

    This Eddie Murphy special was over 20 years ago… there is no way you can apply standards of today on standards of yesterday, especially when AIDS hysteria was at an all time high during that time.

  • Xzamilloh

    @Baba Booey Fafa Fooey: What is “blackface comedy”? Whoever likes that is obviously free to like that kind of mess, but let me know so I can stay the hell away. So what, is that in line with what the r#cists used to do back in the early 20th century and make black people looking like big-lipped monkeys who could barely string together a cogent sentence and reduced us to degrading stereotypes?

    I would love to see the audience for that type of Stepin Fetchit BS. As reprehensible as I find that type of garbage, I would not wish it be censored. I would want people to see that kind of ugliness in its purest form to let them know what we are capable of as humans.

  • jpcflyer

    I don’t think anyone who survived the 80’s will forgive or forget. We had actually gathered at a friends to watch this. I’ve had nothing to do with Eddie Murphy since – and couldn’t believe that they wanted him to do the Oscars ! He’s the one person I unhesitatingly use the “N” word to describe.

  • vbnudeguy

    It is so silly to call attention to this 33 years after it aired. Anyone with some sense knows that people said things then that we don’t say today and as far as HIV/AIDS was concerned there was a lot of ignorance. Aldo, in the name of comedy, there are a lot of off color things that comedians say that can be humorous even if they are abrasive. Anyway, let it go and move on. If you don’t like what Eddie said in 1983 then don’t watch his show.

  • Hussain-TheCanadian

    Has anyone seen Lisa lampanelli’s stand up? It’s way worse than anything Eddie Murphy has said in delirious. What about the roast of franco? Sometimes a joke is just a joke. Besides doesn’t Eddie Murphy have a soft spot for transsexual women?

  • crowebobby

    If it looks like a duck….

  • n900mixalot

    @Hussain-TheCanadian: Lisa Lampanelli is trash wrapped in feces brined in biss, that was vomited up by a dead possum on the side of the highway. She is disgusting. 2016 should have come for HER. What she says comes from a place of pure ego and vast experience making terrible jokes with absolutely no growth.

    Eddie Murphy has learned and grown over the years. He’s no shining beacon of hope, but he has matured. And … Delirious was funny as hell once I got over myself and grew a thick skin.

    And I’m about to go watch it right meow.

  • Kieran

    What’s wrong with a little homophobic humor? It’s not like he said anything anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. That stuff should be censored. But making fun of fags is as American as apple pie.

  • stevenb

    This type of humor is used by closeted men to hide behind (this will show ’em I’m not a fag!) Murphy was caught with a trans prostitute in 1997 by police. “Frasier” did an episode about it afterwards. Watch that instead, it’s much funnier!

  • ErikO

    Eddie Murphy picked up a t r a n n y hooker in the 1990s.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    The AIDS units at the beginning of the crisis were no place for the vulnerable.” I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul.” Billy S.

    Fear works its way into comedy. It always has.

  • Baba Booey Fafa Fooey

    @Xzamilloh: One person’s “garbage” is another person’s “comedic gold”. Lots of people love Sam Kinison for his anti-gay comedy and quite honestly, his anti-gay, AIDS-jokes are arguably his best most popular and most beloved routines by a lot of people. Leave the black face, I doubt it will stay but the homophobia will remain. Why? Well, “gay isn’t a race”. That’s what they say. And, I don’t really care anymore. It’s like going in circles with that argument. Lol. I would hope the black face routines remain though.

  • SnorlaxationKH

    I can only hope his opinion changed. It definitely was a different time, and while that only soothes the sting a little bit, several decades have hopefully opened his eyes.

  • tim_huynh

    The good ol days, before P.C and SJW.?

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