Eddie Murphy surprised the industry over the summer when news broke he signed an alleged $70 million to produce new stand-up comedy specials for Netflix. Murphy cemented his comedy icon status with the release of his 1987 blockbuster concert film “Eddie Murphy Raw,” which grossed $50.5 million on an $8 million budget, so his return to standup was met with excitement and anticipation. In a new interview with The New York Times, Murphy reveals he’s been recording new stand-up material and joke ideas regularly over the last three years. The comedian said he’s locked in nearly 20 minutes of good material for his upcoming stand-up return, and he’ll spend the next eight months prepping a 90 minute set that he’ll take out on tour.
“I now have a whole lifetime of experiences to draw upon,” Murphy tells The Times reporter Jason Zinoman about his new material. “There was a time when I was at the center of everything, what I was doing, and how funny I was and how popular. I’m not at the center. Now my kids are and everything revolves around them.”
Murphy’s comeback will begin in full this fall with the release of “Dolemite Is My Name.” The Craig Brewer-directed historical drama is backed by Netflix and stars Murphy as comedian and Blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore. “Dolemite Is My Name” debuted to strong reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Oscar buzz sparked for Murphy’s leading performance.
“Chronicling the making of Rudy Ray Moore’s masterpiece ‘Dolemite,’ the Netflix comedy is exactly the kind of film the blaxploitation icon would’ve loved,” IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich wrote in his review out of TIFF. “It’s a movie that forces Murphy to fight and scrape for every frame; a movie that winds him up before it starts and just lets him go off for two full hours; a movie that’s eager to evoke the manic genius that made him a star, the physical comedy that made him rich, and the wounded vulnerability that made him irreplaceable.”
“Dolemite Is My Name” will open in select theaters October 4 before its October 25 streaming debut on Netflix. Murphy will then return to “Saturday Night Live” as host on December 21 in what will be his first appearance on the NBC sketch-comedy series since 1984 other than for the 40th anniversary special in 2015.