Eddie Murphy sat down with CBS Sunday Morning and reflected on some of his past stand-up routines from the 80s and admits that some of his jokes — specifically ones using homosexuality and the AIDS crisis as a punchline — didn’t age well.
“Some of it. Some of it, I cringe when I watch,” he said. “I’m like, oh my God, I can’t believe I said that!”
However, the “Saturday Night Live” alum also appeared to chalk it all up both to being “within the context of the times” and being a young performer. (He was only 19 when he joined the cast of “SNL” in 1980.)
“You’ll get a joke that’s cringey. But that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate it. I still appreciate it,” he said, adding, “And I’m going, okay, I’m a kid, saying that.”
Murphy, who is seeing a comeback of sorts in the Golden Globe-nominated film “Dolemite Is My Name,” had previously apologized, in 1996, for his jokes about the LGBTQ community and AIDS, saying he was “misinformed” at that age, adding, “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused.” In a New York Times interview in September, he elaborated, calling his early material “ignorant.”
Even with such a big spotlight beaming on the edgy comic as a young man, he said that he avoided “self-destructive” issues like drug problems because he was “grounded spiritually,” he told CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith.
While on “SNL,” the actor, comedian and singer, now 58, created memorable characters that helped save the late-night sketch show. Amid much fanfare — and in the wake of rave reviews for “Dolemite” — he returned to host the show Dec. 21 after 35 years away, resurrecting many of his most memorable sketch roles, including Gumby, “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood” and Buckwheat.“I believe in God and I believe in prayer,” he said. “I pray all the time, you know. I pray all the time. And you don’t have to, like, get down on your knees and pray, you know. You can pray wherever.”
When asked whether he was indeed in the midst of a comeback in the “CBS Sunday Morning” interview, he seemed to give in.
“I guess, you know, they like to say comeback,” Murphy said. “I don’t know. Let’s make it easier. Yes, it’s my comeback. Yes, it’s my big comeback!
“Every 10 years or so I launch a big comeback. I’ve been doing that for the last 40 years.”
Watch his profile below.