Lifestyle & Entertainment

Eddie Murphy on Cancel Culture: Comedy’s Evolution and Resilience

In a recent interview, Eddie Murphy discusses the changing landscape of comedy and the impact of cancel culture, asserting that truly funny content remains untouched. He also reflects on his career and the mainstream rise of stand-up comedy.

Eddie Murphy, the legendary comedian and actor, recently sat down with BET to discuss the evolution of stand-up comedy and the pervasive effects of cancel culture. Murphy, who became a household name in the 1980s, has had an illustrious career spanning nearly 50 years, drawing inspiration from icons like Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Murphy faced a challenging childhood, which included a year in foster care due to his mother’s illness. Comedy became his refuge, leading him to perform in local clubs during his teenage years.

Reflecting on the early days of his career, Murphy highlighted how the comedy industry has transformed since his debut. “The biggest change is that when I started doing stand-up, it was still like a fringe occupation,” Murphy explained. “And even in show business, it wasn’t like becoming a singer or an actor. When I started, [it] was like being a magician or a juggler. It was like a fringe vocation, and now it’s mainstream.”

Murphy emphasized the significant growth of the comedy industry, noting that it is now a “big, giant multi-billion dollar business.” This mainstream acceptance marks a stark contrast from the early 1980s when there were very few Black comedians in the industry.

Addressing the topic of cancel culture, Murphy offered a nuanced perspective. He asserted that cancel culture does not impact genuinely funny content. “I don’t think the woke, cancel culture has anything to do with whether or not something is funny,” Murphy stated. “And I don’t think anyone is going to get canceled because they said something that was funny. Usually, the things that people say that ruffle somebody’s feathers and start controversial things are really, really not funny. It’s like they said something that was edgy, and a couple of people might laugh at them. But something that is really funny, it is what it is.”

Murphy believes that humor and laughter have an enduring quality. “No one’s canceling funny. You want more. You don’t cancel it. You turn it up,” he declared.

Murphy is set to reprise his iconic role as Axel Foley in the fourth installment of the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.” Reflecting on his character, Murphy mentioned the stark differences between himself and Axel. “I’m nothing like Axel. Axel, only has one child, and he’s estranged from the one child that he has. I have 10, and have wonderful relationships with all,” he explained. “I’m not like any of the characters that I play. I play mostly extroverts on screen, and I’m an introverted guy.”

The film also features a cameo by one of Murphy’s daughters, Bria Murphy, who appears as an officer arresting Axel Foley on Rodeo Drive. Fans can stream “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” on Netflix starting July 3rd.

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