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Charlie Murphy Perfect Holiday Interview

html> 3BlackChicks Review™... The Perfect Holiday - The Interviews (The Diva)

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Charlie Murphy
Star of
The Perfect Holiday (2007)









Question: Do you know characters like J. Jizzy?

Charlie Murphy : Yeah, that's how I made him up. They had him written down but I was like, "I've seen a dude do this and I've seen this one do that." I just said that was some funny ass sh*t and bring that to the movie. Like the scene where J. Jizzy's in the board room and he's getting a pedicure, manicure and massage and haircut, I've seen a dude really do that. I'm not going to say his name, but when he sees the scene in the movie, he's going to know. I'm not going to say because that guy could give me a job. That's what I'm talking about. I'm not saying his name but he's going to know that when he thought he was showing off, that I was laughing. He was sitting like this, had two people holding the phone, another dude cutting his hair, two ladies, one on each leg while we were having a writer's meeting. He's like this with the cigar, I said, "Wait a minute, man. I know you're rich. I knew you were rich before I came up here but this right here is ridiculous. You have five people working on you at the same time."

Charlie Murphy : Are you into the holidays?

Charlie Murphy : I'm a big softie when it comes to my kids, definitely. I enjoy the holidays and I enjoy it because to me the holidays is all about family, seeing them enjoying one another and having fun. I've got one daughter who's 16 months and I have a son who's eight years old. Then I have another son who's 21.

Question: Who do your kids hit up for Christmas gifts, dad or uncle Eddie?

Charlie Murphy : Uncle Eddie. They know who the rich person is. They know who to go to for the big stuff. I'll say no. I'll be like, "What? Come on, man."

Question: What were the best Christmas gifts he's gotten them?

Charlie Murphy : Oh, he's gotten them all kinds of incredible stuff. What we do, my son whose eight gets little toys way before Christmas. Like a month before Christmas, we take all his old stuff and we give it away because there'd be no room. He has to give everything, has to trade all new toys, we have to just throw it away. The ones we haven't been playing with and then he gets new stuff. We don't throw it away, we give it away.

Question: What's going on with your standup? Charlie Murphy: It's going lovely. I just came back from the last show was in Denver, Colorado. I've been on the road for five years now, booked every weekend. I took two weeks off during that whole five years to go on vacation. Two weeks. Everybody around me is going, my family, my wife and children, they go on vacation but I've been on this because I know coming into it, you can't be a standup comedian and be Charlie Murphy and be mediocre. You can't be mediocre. You're not allowed to be mediocre. Another guy can. You cannot be allowed to be mediocre because your brother set a benchmark and that's your brother. We're not asking you to be him, but you cannot be just one of the guys in the crowd. You have to stand out. The only way you can achieve that is not by an outfit. It has to be you actually paying the dues and walk the walk that was necessary. So I stay on stage.

Question: What are you discussing in your material now?

Charlie Murphy : Everything from babies to the president to economics. I talk about everything because what I realized quickly from doing this, you could be a guy, because there's all different styles, you could be a guy that does the style that most black comics do. You're going to, at best, you can ascend to the highest level of that. Then there are the guys who do comedy for everybody. Take the word black out of it. I'll give you a good example. Hawaiian. I went to Hawaii and they had guys over in Hawaii that were the Seinfeld of Hawaii. Let 'em get on a boat and come to San Francisco. He gets nothing, it's crickets because his humor is something that only Hawaiians can appreciate. You have to be Hawaiian to understand what he's talking about so he can't cross over. In every ethnicity, you have comedians that when they're dealing with just their ethnicity, they kill but when they go on grand stage in front of the world, they get that. I never wanted to be that. I wanted to be the guy that could stand in front of everybody. That's developed over the years. If you come see my audience, that's who's out there now. It's not all black, it's not all white, it's not all Hispanic, it's not all Asian, but they're all there.

Question: Do a lot of your fans want more Hollywood stories?

Charlie Murphy : Yeah, but that's only because I'm new so that's the reference point right now. "Tell me some more Chappelle stories." That's what makes you like my show even more because you come in expecting something and you don't get that. You get something else but it's better. It's better than what you expected.

Question: Is the pressure to stay on top more self induced or from the industry? Charlie Murphy: No, it's from you and I'll tell you, as a comedian, what my motivation is. I bombed a couple times and that feeling is so intense that it motivates you to think about jokes 24 hours a day, even when you sleep. You don't want to feel that again. You don't want to ever be in that situation where you don't have something to say. All these people are sitting there, that feeling, I don't know if I can erase it but it's a bad feeling, real bad, horrible. After that experience two or three times, I was like, "I don't want to feel that any more."

Question: Don't you have to go through that to get better?

Charlie Murphy : You have to before you know you're a comedian. You're not a comedian if you don't bomb. You're not a comedian, point blank. You're not a comedian. I remember people saying that to me for the first 18 months that I was doing standup. I never had any problem which gave me the spoiled sense of I'm Lebron James. I think I actually told somebody that one day. I was like, "I'm the Lebron James of comedy." Yeah, okay. This whole thing is about being honest and humble. Being vulnerable. You get full of yourself, you start feeling like it's all about me, then you totally miss that point. You also lose the ability to be honest because if you're a private person who's all about me, you can't be vulnerable. "I'm not going to show you my imperfections because I'm supposed to be perfect." I don't approach it like that. The imperfections, you can see them and I go there, I address them. Yes, this is here and that's there. That's why it's like that. Now you're comfortable with me because you know that I'm not trying to be phony.

Question: Do you ever have to scrap an idea because it's too similar to an Eddie bit?

Charlie Murphy : No, but there's always, if you look at the dudes at the top of the food chain in this game, it's all about talking about me discussing what you've been thinking and saying what you might want to say but you can't for whatever reason say it. That is the gem of the whole game. There's a lot of people sitting out there, what does everybody talk about? I know that but I'm not the only comedian that knows. There are other comedians that know that, so there may be a lot of things that I may talk about. Bin Ladin, you think I'm the only one? If I talk about Bin Ladin and I have a joke about him and this other guy has a joke, he didn't steal my joke. Everybody is reading about Bin Ladin. Bin Ladin is something that everybody knows what I'm talking about. I'm going to make a bit about him. Marriage is something that a lot of people know about so I can talk about that. Being single is something a lot of people talk about so I can talk about that. Once you start knowing that, it's easier to write the jokes because you're playing in a subject matter that is digestible by everyone. When you do things that only these two people are going to get and not have everybody at the table, but I'm doing this for money. I want you all to come back. I don't want just her and her to come back. There are other people at the table. I want all you all to come back. My thinking is trained on that. What are the things or subjects that everyone can relate to? The best movies, that's what makes them the best is that everyone can relate to them. That's what makes those ones that do $300 or $400 million, that's because everybody went. That's why those big numbers were produced.

Question: Did you think the Rick James bit would become so iconic?

Charlie Murphy : Oh no, no. In fact, when we were talking about doing it, I was scared that I was going to ruin my chances at ever being anything in this business because one of the things that I did in that was admit to drug use. I sniffed cocaine with Rick James. I was like, "Do you really want to tell the world that you sniffed cocaine period? What's that going to do to you?" They're going to go, "Oh, he snorts cocaine so we don't want to hire him. He might have a drug problem." I didn't have a drug problem. You're just talking about when you were young, you did this. I was very hesitant to do that and I remember there was an actor named N'Bushe Wright, she was there on set and we were talking about it. She heard me telling Dave and all them stuff and he was saying how we were going to make a sketch out of it. She turned to me and said, "You really want to let them put this out?" And out of rebellion, I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to let them put it out. I ain't afraid." Inside I was afraid. Then when it came out, it had the exact opposite of what I expected. The impact was the exact opposite of what I expected. I was expecting a backlash but I did it because like I said, it was being honest. It's the truth. That really happened. I can't say that I didn't come out here in the '80s and everybody, it wasn't just Charlie Murphy, it was the culture in LA. Everybody was buck wild.

Question: Are you still in contact with Dave?

Charlie Murphy : For me to see Dave, I've got to go to San Francisco. That's where he's at all the time. That's where I bump into him. It's guaranteed. If you go up there and you go to the Punchline, he's going to be coming through. I think he has a house up there. That's his main club that he works at.

Question: If they revived the show, at this point in your career would you go back?

Charlie Murphy : With Dave, yeah. If Dave went back, yeah. Definitely.

Question: What's next for you?

Charlie Murphy : Next I have in January this film called Bar Stars I did, this independent film. That's coming up next. Then after that in February is another film. I did a whole bunch of movies over the last three years that all are getting ready to come out this year. The public is going to think I've been making every month, "Starring Charlie Murphy," just another one. "How many movies did this guy do?" It took like the last three years and the best one that I did is this one. That's why it worked out good. In my opinion, the one that I was allowed to show the most range was this one, so it sets it up to make all the other ones have even that much more meaning because you seem to do more. You know what I'm capable of doing, so it's good.

Question: Has it been hard to be away from your family on the road so much?

Charlie Murphy : Yeah, but you know what, I struggled with that issue for a long time and I realized that there's people making way bigger sacrifices than I am and getting paid far less. I'm talking about US Servicemen. They go and be deployed overseas for two years straight and they've got kids. They don't get to come home. I get to go home three days a week. They don't get to do that. When I go to work, I'm coming back more than likely. They might not come back. They might be killed on their job. So I can't look at what I do and get mad and say my kids are getting short changed because my wife doesn't work. She's there. My kid has a full tape. His mother's there all the time. That's a blessing in the world we live in today to have one parent able to be home, then live the lifestyle we live when the kids can go on vacations and stuff like that in the summer. That's the sacrifice I have to make. I'm the one that's living in a suitcase. That's the life.


Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2007 - Present
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