Eddie Murphy is one of those people who was obviously going to be a huge star from the very beginning. The Long Island, NY-born comedian was a nationwide sensation by the time he was 21. He exploded as the breakout star on Saturday Night Live during the lean early-'80s years when the show faced the daunting task of rebuilding after the classic original cast had left to pursue movie stardom, which Murphy would ultimately do as well. Despite Murphy's gifts, his first standup comedy album, 1982's Eddie Murphy, is uneven despite containing some classic routines. Eddie Murphy was recorded at The Comic Strip in New York City between April 30 and May 1, 1982. "Buckwheat" riffs on his memorable SNL character and expands it to sarcastically note that blacks aren't named for specific breakfast cereals. "Black Movie Theaters," "Talking Cars," and "Myths/A Little Chinese" are based on various racial stereotypes — not exactly politically correct, but very funny. "Doo-Doo/Christmas Gifts" features Murphy's musings on how fathers get shafted when they receive cheap Christmas presents. The hysterical "Drinking Fathers" is loaded with belly laughs — and a horrifying, underlying look at working-class alcoholism. The manic "Hit By a Car" is the best, most clever segment as Murphy explodes into overdrive. Comics often include novelty songs on their albums, and so does Murphy — with average results. "Boogie in Your Butt" weaves Murphy's spoken and semi-rap vocals, but the best part is the funky bassline. "Enough Is Enough" is a parody of 1979's chart-topping Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer duet "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," with Murphy once again recreating Buckwheat and imitating effeminate fitness guru Richard Simmons. For a perfect comedy classic, you have to jump one year ahead to 1983's Eddie Murphy: Comedian, but Eddie Murphy is a promising start.
Like Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor before him, Eddie Murphy was the preeminent African-American comic of his era; in fact, Murphy was arguably the preeminent comic of the 1980s, period — at his peak, no other performer, regardless of race, was a bigger star or a more audacious talent. Combining Pryor's viciously acute observational gifts and love of obscenities with Cosby's undeniable mainstream appeal, Murphy quickly leaped from clubs to television to film —... Full bio