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Eddie Murphy still keen for stand-up comedy return after pandemic

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Trailer for Coming 2 America

Eddie Murphy is still planning to return to the stage for a final stand-up comedy tour, despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing him to delay his comeback.

The 59-year-old actor has undergone something of a career renaissance in recent years, earning some of the best reviews of his career for playing the title role in 2019's Dolemite Is My Name.

He returns to one of his most famous roles in this week's comedy sequel Coming 2 America, and had previously suggested his next move would be a stage comeback.

Read more: Murphy explains Arnie influence on Coming 2 America

"My plan was to do Dolemite, Saturday Night Live, Coming 2 America, and then do stand up," he told SiriusXM podcast Comedy Gold Minds with Kevin Hart

"And then the pandemic hit, and it shut the whole s*** down. The whole time last year I would have been out working on my act, trying to get my s*** right, and then the whole thing shut down."

Eddie Murphy performs at Madison Square Garden during his 'Raw Tour' on October 13, 1987. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
Eddie Murphy performs at Madison Square Garden during his 'Raw Tour' on October 13, 1987. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

He said that, while the pandemic might have delayed everything, he still has the hunger to get on stage and return to the format that made him famous.

"When the pandemic is over and it's safe for everybody to go out and do it, then the plan is to do it," Murphy added.

Read more: Murphy reveals the role he regrets turning down

Stand-up comedy, along with Saturday Night Live, was a huge part of establishing Murphy as a key voice in the 1980s, with 1983 special Delirious and 1987's Raw receiving broad acclaim and financial success.

Raw, in particular, remains the highest-grossing stand-up special of all time, earning $50.5m (£36.5m) at the worldwide box office.

Eddie Murphy accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Critics' Choice Awards on January 12, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)
Eddie Murphy accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Critics' Choice Awards on January 12, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

While promoting Dolemite, Murphy hinted that he would be unlikely to make many more films once he had completed his return to comedy.

“Once I get back on stage, I kind of feel like that’s what I was born to do more than anything,” he said. “When I get back on the stage, I can’t imagine wanting to do movies again.”

Read more: Murphy says race has never stopped him getting work

Murphy has at least one movie outing still in the tank, having signed on to reprise another of his most memorable characters — Axel Foley — in a fourth Beverly Hills Cop film.

Netflix picked up the rights to the sequel as part of a deal with Paramount, having previously released Dolemite Is My Name.

Watch: Murphy and Coming 2 America cast talk 30-year delay