Legendary comedian and actor Eddie Murphy took time to speak with the Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. On the show, Murphy discusses his background and life, with interesting tidbits such as getting onstage for the first time as the emcee of talent shows at a local youth center; and then getting paid to be funny at clubs starting shortly thereafter. (“A dollar a minute,” he recalls with a laugh.)
After graduating high school, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, becoming one of the show’s most popular cast members. Murphy said that his time there was an education. “It was like going to school for what I wound up doing, like Harvard for comic actors. You learned everything there,” he says. “It either breaks you or prepares you for anything in show business.”
At SNL, he recalls a night out with Robin Williams, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd when “Belushi and Robin Williams offered me some blow and I didn’t take it, and Belushi called me a ‘tight ass.’ Murphy stressed that he does not drink or do drugs.
His popularity grew and he eventually moved into movies, starting with “48 Hours”(1982) through to this year’s “Mr Church”. He jokes, with a cackle, “Any movie that I was in that they paid me a lot of money for was a smash! And, to be perfectly honest, we celebrate Pluto Nash at my house. We don’t have Christmas Day, we have Pluto Nash Day. And we don’t have Halloween, we have Vampire in Brooklyn Day.”
In “Mr Church”, an indie drama based on a true story, in which Murphy shines as the title character, a black man who helps to raise a white child after her mother is diagnosed with cancer, but who forbids her from learning anything about his own life. The film, which was directed by Bruce Beresford(Driving Miss Daisy) and had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, already has earned Murphy some of the best reviews of his career.
“I never did anything like this. It was something I could do where there was no pressure at all because there was no expectation because this isn’t a funny thing. The engine of this thing isn’t my sense of humor or what I do or my performance.”
Be on the lookout for “Mr Church”, coming to theaters on September 16.
The ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast is available on I-tunes