Friday, June 6, 2014

Eddie Murphy made me nostalgic for my younger years and my friend Jason who I don't see much anymore, and Richard Pryor made me nostalgic for being young and watching The Toy with my family.

I Liked It
I am a child of the 80’s, a white suburban child of the 80’s, I went to a private catholic school, and I believe it was the 5th grade when I met my best friend Jason. Jason’s mom was white, but he was black and tall for his age, and I was very short for my age and he and I hit it off right away. Jason’s mom worked her ass off for him to grow up and go to school where he did and because of that she wasn’t around much. Jason and I never got into much trouble mostly because we never got caught.

            I bring this all up for the sole reason that were it not for Jason I truly believe I would not have ever seen Eddie Murphy’s Delirious, much less at the age of 12, nor would I have had any clue as to who the NWA were. I don’t know how Jason even heard about it all as he was also an owner of a Tiffany cassette (though I do honestly believe he had it only because the majority of the people he hung out with had it and liked it). He was also a fan of Guns N’ Roses and he probably liked those guys as much as he enjoyed NWA. Either way he lived in both worlds, and being his friend and spending as much time around him as I did, I ended up living in both worlds as well. I remember he stayed the night at my house one night and we stayed up late and listened to an NWA cassette as low as possible so that we didn’t wake my parents but loud enough that we could just barely hear it even with our ears pressed to the speakers of the little player.

            Jason was and still is – though I don’t talk to him much anymore – my best friend and had a huge part in making me who I am today; my odd sense of humor and eclectic selection of music and movies, pretty much he helped me become the oddity that I am now.

            These were the sort of things I was thinking about while watching Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I remember both Jason and I laughing hysterically while watching the VHS one weekend at his house. The mom throwing shoes at her kids was especially a big hit with us, as was the ice cream bit. I remembered bits and pieces of Delirious, but the first thing I took note was how it started. It had the look and feel of a VHS movie, almost a home movie feel as we follow Eddie Murphy on the tour bus and stuff, mostly it was all awkward watching it (I swear Eddie Murphy had something stuffed into his underwear at one point. My wife told me to just get over it because I kept bringing it up, but seriously, it looked like a baseball was in his underwear, it looked like his testes were severely swollen and I almost became concerned, but eventually I did let it go, but seriously, if you get a chance check out Eddie Murphy’s junk, it’s weird in how perfectly spherical it is – or maybe mine is the one that’s jacked up and no one has ever told me).

            The beginning of his act was painful to watch. He starts off talking about how “faggots” (his word) better not be looking at his ass! The audience thought it was hilarious. He worked that joke for a solid minute or so, and then went into Mr. T being gay which I kind of remembered.

            For the most part Delirious wasn’t too entertaining until towards the last half and then it got funny. It was mostly just interesting watching Eddie Murphy and seeing how young he was and full of promise with his spot-on impressions and his energy. Is comedy just different now that his routine wasn’t as funny now as the audience thought it was back then?

            I would say maybe half of his routine was funny, and the other half was just a bit too dated.

I Liked It
Richard Pryor starts off about how ever since Reagan was elected nobody was fucking.

            That’s probably about as dated as you can get (making fun of Mr. T has more timelessness than making fun of Ronald Reagan – I think), and though I rated them both the same as liking them, Richard Pryor’s film is just a bit better. The comedy may be about the same, they both set the cussing bar to a new high and at times they both have moments that made me genuinely laugh, but Richard Pryor’s performance, and the production of his performance was just a bit more fine tuned than Eddie Murphy’s.

            I realize that I’m criticizing them not on the comedy or their performances, but on the quality of the movie, but when you have two comics were performances are so similar it doesn’t give you much more to look at other than the movie as a whole.

            And I get it when you say – it’s Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, Richard Pryor is a freaking legend while Eddie has become a vague shadow of his former self, how can you say they are the same – but just watch both of these films.

            To be fair and clear, Richard Pryor’s performance came first, by like a year or two I believe, so any comparison between the two – Pryor is the clear winner because he paved the way for Eddie, and Eddie followed the way without bettering it.

            Eddie Murphy’s Delirious is well known for his red outfit. Red leather jacket and pants, it looks uncomfortable and smelly and the jacket is half open the entire time showing off the fact that Eddie is not wearing a shirt underneath. He looks like a wanna-be rock star, or a wanna-be Michael Jackson. Richard Pryor wears a red suit as well, but he wears it well, and that’s something I wouldn’t have noticed had I not seen Eddie first. Pryor wears a black shirt under his red jacket that matches his red pants and what I believe to be gold shoes – doesn’t matter though because Pryor looks cool.

            They both interact with the audience well: Eddie borrows a camera from an audience member and takes some photos, and even tells a joke directly to a kid who was brought to the show. Pryor’s whole show feels like a one-on-one with the audience, his stage is close to the audience, and at one point he comes down the steps and sits down almost square on with the audience, and at one point an audience member calls out a bit of Pryor’s that they like and want him to do, and Pryor acknowledges the request and does it. They both act out skits and conversations between people (Eddie) and conversations between animals (Pryor), showing off both their fantastic abilities to act and give each character they’re doing a personality that makes the whole thing just that much more entertaining.

            Pryor of course has an ace hidden up his sleeve with the stories of his being burned and having to go through recovery. As he points out in his show, people were wondering what really happened, and he addresses it. It is an entertaining and interesting look into the life of someone addicted to drugs that doesn’t change the show or bring it down in anyway. The entire time he’s on stage Pryor gives off the sense of cracking jokes with friends, and when he gets to the heavy stuff, he keeps it funny by commenting on his experience, but also serious with a few stories of how drugs were slowly taking over his life and how others were noticing and trying to help. It makes the show a symbol of Pryor’s return to comedy as well as a return to life. It is awesome to know how far down he sank and then seeing him back on stage, performing, you can see how far back he rose.

            I may have fond memories of watching Delirious with Jason when I was a kid, but I have much more fond memories of watching The Toy with my brothers, watching Stir Crazy with Jason, and Brewster’s Millions, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Silver Streak on my own.

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