Before the 2020 pandemic hit, Eddie Murphy had a strategy to let the world know he was funny again. After years of distancing himself from the movie industry, the comedy legend didn’t want the masses to think he’d merely given up after a string of high-profile bombs left his image in a bad place. But the big reason that spurred both his self-imposed exile and ultimate return in films like Dolemite Is My Name and Coming 2 America was the fact that movies like Norbit and Imagine That led to a string of Razzie nominations that was too long to ignore.
Eddie Murphy was recently the guest of honor on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast., and among the shop talk pertaining to Murphy’s legendary rise as a stand-up comedian, they conversed about the big tour that the actor was planning to embark on before COVID-19 had put things on hold. Through further remarks about why he’d planned that tour in the first place, Eddie Murphy ended up explaining why he’d stopped making movies in the first place, which went as follows:
The plan was, ‘cuz I’d stopped making movies in 2011. I was like, ‘Let me take a break from movies.’ I was making shitty movies, and it was like, 'This shit ain't fun. They’re givin’ me Razzies.’ I think those motherfuckers gave me the ‘Worst Actor Ever’ Razzie, or some shit. It was like, ‘Yeah, maybe it’s time to take a break; when you get the worst actor ever razzie. Maybe I need to pull back.’
A solid pattern of Razzie nominations between 2002 and 2010 actually led Eddie Murphy to be selected for the “Worst Actor of the Decade” honors at that year’s celebration. 2002 alone saw Murphy nominated for Showtime, I Spy and, of course, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and that was just for Worst Actor alone. In that span of time, 10 nominations would be given to Eddie Murphy, which prompted a break after 2012’s A Thousand Words. Which, as you can tell, was also nominated for a Razzie in 2013.
Dropping off the face of the Earth, with movies like Norbit still providing fresh punchlines, was only supposed to be a momentary stop on the road for Eddie Murphy. But before he knew it, more time had passed than he’d intended, and Murphy himself decided it was time to get back on the horse. That moment inspired him to come back to the fold, through the following chain of events:
I was only gonna take a break for a year, and then all of a sudden, six years go by, and I’m like sitting on the couch. And I’m like, ‘You know? I kinda could sit on this couch, and not get off it. But I don’t wanna leave the last bunch of shit they’ve seen me do is bullshit.’ So I was like ‘Let me get off the couch and do some stuff, and remind them that I’m funny. And then, if I want to come back to the couch, I can do that.’ So the plan was to do Dolemite, Saturday Night Live, do Coming 2 America, and then do stand up, and then see how I felt afterwards.
As Coming 2 America has now made its streaming debut, and Eddie Murphy still very much wants to get on the road with his standup revival when the coast is clear, the Murphy-ssiance may be fully underway. So whatever the legendary funnyman plans to do next, it’s going to be on his terms, and hopefully without any further Razzie involvement. That is, unless he’s able to win another Razzie Redeemer, like he did in 2019 for Dolemite Is My Name. Now there’s a Razzie you can actually put on the mantle.