Abbott Elementary’s Tyler James Williams Talks Meeting Up With Eddie Murphy At Golden Globes And Getting A Standing Ovation From Him

Tyler James Williams on Abbott Elementary and Eddie Murphy in You People
(Image credit: ABC/Netflix)

One of the 2023 Golden Globes’ surprise wins came when Abbott Elementary’s Tyler James Williams picked up a trophy for Best Supporting Performance in a Television Series – Musical-Comedy or Drama. Of course, Williams -- a former child actor -- was on cloud nine after his win but not for the reason fans might expect. That night, the 30-year-old actor got to meet one of his idols, Eddie Murphy (who made headlines himself for his Cecil B. DeMille Award speech). Weeks after the awards show, Williams got the chance to talk about meeting Murphy and getting a standing ovation from him following his win.

The 80th Golden Globes got off to a very interesting start for the Abbott Elementary star, it would seem. Tyler James Williams was completely focused on the show when commotion began to happen on the red carpet. The comedic actor explained on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he was initially confuse over this unknown person taking the spotlight from him. However, things changed once he realized a certain Hollywood icon had just arrived, and what happened from there turned out to be even wilder:

I’m at the [red] carpet, right? And they stop me from going on the carpet, and someone’s cutting the line, and my ego’s about to go off. But then it’s Eddie Murphy, and I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, that makes sense. Yes, let him go.’ And we have a brief moment on the carpet, and someone says ‘Can you guys take a photo together?’ And I’m like, ‘That’s completely up to Eddie Murphy.’ He gets to decide that, and he was fine with it.

Of course, like any Eddie Murphy fan would, the Everybody Hates Chris star had an out-of-body experience upon meeting him. The Emmy-nominated actor revealed that getting to take that photo with Murphy made his night. He could’ve left before the awards ceremony even before it started. He mentioned his snap with Murphy would be just another photo on his mother’s wall after snapping a photo with SNL alum Tracy Morgan as a young actor.

Tyler James Williams went on to claim that his idol said nothing to him after their red-carpet moment. However, the Beverly Hills Cop 4 star did give him a thumbs up before he continued making the rounds. But it was what happened later during the ceremony that affected the TV star. He spoke about how being on the Globes stage kept him from seeing Eddie Murphy’s standing ovation:

Okay. So, when you get up there and you win, what no one tells you is that the lights are really bright… I’m up there lights are really bright. so, I can’t really see anything, and I don’t know how people talk through that award wrap-it-up thing because it starts blinking immediately. It’s really red, and it’s anxiety-inducing so I’m just trying to get off stage as fast as I can. And it wasn’t until I got back to my seat that there were a bunch of text messages from people saying ‘Eddie stood for you.’ And I was like ‘What does that mean?’ And then, they sent me the photo, and I’m still trying to process this.

Can you imagine getting a standing ovation from someone like Eddie Murphy and not even getting to see it in real time? Thankfully, Tyler James Williams' family and friends were able to capture the moment for him and texted him the image. The Everybody Hates Chris alum admitted to spending several days trying to get in contact with Murphy just to thank him.

Before their Globes run-in, the Walking Dead alum had never actually met the Academy Award nominee. But he's admired the famous comedian for years and shared some warm sentiments about why he looks up to him:

I had seen him in passing. I just really wasn’t aware that he knew who I was to be completely honest with you. You don’t imagine somebody like Eddie Murphy watching anything that you would do… I think every Black actor who does comedy is stealing from Eddie Murphy, in the same way Black actors who do drama ultimately are stealing from Sidney Poitier… he’s the golden standard, man. it doesn’t get any better than that.

As Tyler Williams pointed out, Eddie Murphy has been the blueprint for decades now and has given advice to young Black comedic actors as well. You have to love the fact that Williams was not only able to meet the man but also get some high praise from him, too. Also, you can't help but marvel at the sheer level of respect that Williams shows Murphy. There's nothing like seeing stars chop it up in this way, and I'm hoping this these two up working together at some point.

You want to watch Tyler James Williams’ Golden Globe-winning performance by catching Abbott Elementary Season 2 on Wednesdays at 9 pm EST on ABC. Get caught up on past episodes by getting a Hulu subscription, and check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering this year.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).