Cedric The Entertainer on Charlie Murphy: ‘We Knew He…

When news pennyless that comedian Charlie Murphy died of leukemia during age 57, many remembered him as a Chappelle’s Show fixture, who charmed audiences with loyal Hollywood tales alongside his famous brother, Eddie Murphy. Friends and family spoke of him as a innate storyteller with no-nonsense smoothness and a extended smile. Like all of a comedy greats, Murphy honed his ability on a highway as a standup. 


After starting his career with bit roles in films like Harlem Nights and Chris Rock’s CB4, Murphy roughly exclusively worked as a standup comic. One of his debate friends on a renouned Black and Brown Get Down Comedy Tour was Cedric ‘The Entertainer.’ Cedric spoke with Rolling Stone about backstage life with Murphy and since he was such a enthralling storyteller. 

He had this big, crazy laugh. He had this uncanny clarity of humor, desired things that were kind of dark. He was a impression we saw on Chappelle’s Show and even some-more so when we met him backstage. Those stories he tells, they’re so real. They only come to life so vividly in front of we that you’re like, “Aw, man, tell me one more, please!” Like your grandfather before we go to bed. And that’s how it was with Charlie.

He told this story about this aged male in his 70s going by a confidence line during a airport. Charlie likes to dress like a stone star, so, he said, “I came offstage, we didn’t get a possibility to change for a airplane. So, we know me, we got on belts and a coupler with studs and biker things on it. we got on boots that’s got like steel tips on it. I’m going by a line and this aged male sees me and he like, ‘I’m not going to wait for whoever this weakling is, with these straps and bondage and boots on.'” And Charlie’s looking during him like, Is he articulate about me? His boys tell him, “Yeah, he’s articulate about you, Charlie.” So a male starts skipping a line, and as he starts to pass Charlie, Charlie leans over to a aged male and says, “Look, if we strike into me, you’re going to learn how aged your donkey unequivocally is.” And he laughed so hard. Then he’d stop and ask, “Was we wrong for that? Was we wrong for that?”

“His group pronounced he was diseased – any time he does chemo he gets a small weaker – yet he wants to do Detroit.”

He had a million of them. He told us a story about a night, he was with his hermit Eddie and Stevie Wonder was about to do some kind of video and Ed went by to support him. They’re in a large warehouse, and there are teenagers station in a triangle throwing a frisbee around. Somehow a frisbee gets loose, Stevie Wonder is there, a frisbee is streamer loyal toward him. He pronounced Stevie Wonder, on time, turns around and grabs a frisbee in midair. We were like, “Nah, we lyin.’ No way! Is he a bat? Does he have sonar?” He said, “I watched it with my possess eyes. It happened, man, we was there.” Charlie Murphy, he gets to see everything.

I was always a fan. we desired him in CB4 as Gusto, a kind of mean, mean rapper dude. But then, we saw him as this engaging stand-up after a Pryor tribute. His delivery, his attitude, he creates a clarity of danger. He is a risk-taker. He finds that funny, when people are repelled by something that he says. He doesn’t uncover any fear, and in his comedy, he could be unequivocally assertive toward these things in life [that] people are fearful to pronounce adult on. In a uncanny way, it reminds me of Sonny in A Bronx Tale, examination a trainer mafiosi dude tell a story. You like, yeah, it’s a humorous story, yet it’s even some-more engaging since it’s probably true. 

He was [also] one of those guys who would get adult and take a initial moody after behaving all night so he could be there for his kids. That was one thing we all desired and dignified about him. He was that kind of dedicated to his family.

We did a uncover in Los Angeles, once. His mom was there, and Ed came. The subsequent week, maybe a subsequent day, we did a uncover adult in Oakland and he stopped everybody and told us how special that was for him. He only wanted to appreciate any one of us: “I watched all of y’all onstage. we commend that comedy is not a game, and even yet I’m older, we had to go by my whole life being Eddie’s brother.” Just imagine. Your small hermit is a many famous dude around we and we have to be his brother. You’re famous as his brother. But for them to have come out and seen him on a theatre like that, in a large forum, to see him do his comedy, he was only grateful for permitting him to be in that space in that time. He was only genuine emotional, and it done us all emotional, and it was only a bone-head thing for him to do, to stop and contend that.

“Charlie’s long-form comedy was suggestive of a old-school guys who would tell a good story, lay and fume a cigarette and have a drink.”

In a second year of a tour, he started to remove weight, we didn’t know accurately what it was. He mislaid his mother to cancer and once she started doing chemo, he felt like it killed her. She was fine, afterwards she started doing [chemotherapy] and in a month, she was gone. So he was disposition toward some-more herbal remedies and natural, holistic things. He kept a lot of it to himself. Once we started noticing, and a crowds were kind of responding to him, we all had a assembly with him. He didn’t exhibit accurately what was going on during a time, yet he did contend he would start going to a doctor.

We kept him on a books. Matter of fact, we checked on him a day before his passing. His group pronounced he was diseased – and any time he does chemo he gets a small weaker – yet he wants to do Detroit. And we had him on a books for Detroit on May 13th. That was his plan. We were not going to put anybody else in a spot. 

Within a final integrate years, we knew his illness was there, we knew adult close, and we knew he was fighting hard. It’s going to be a good detriment overall, and it’s only unequivocally sad. I’ve been on dual large locus tours and mislaid dual of my brothers. Bernie Mac on a initial one [The Kings of Comedy] and now, Charlie.

In this age of YouTube, comedy has really got to a place where people tell their jokes quick and they wish to keep people’s attention. But Charlie’s long-form comedy was really suggestive of a old-school guys who would tell a good story and lay and fume a cigarette and have a drink. He’d have amicable explanation in a center of it, and afterwards he’d come behind and dump a joke, like, Boom.
But it’d still be all associated to one theme. This male was a genuine deal. He was not perplexing to be his hermit in
any way, he was his possess man.

As told to Matthew Love

Watch Charlie Murphy’s funniest impressions, sketches and stand-up.


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