Eddie Murphy announced yesterday that he's gotten the itch to go back on the road and do stand-up comedy after a 20 year hiatus from the stage and I must admit I was excited by the thought of seeing him on stage again. Save your rumors and move all of the horrible movies to the side for a moment and fix your mouth to tell me that Eddie Murphy didn't rule the 80's. You can't do it, from "Saturday Night Live" to the silver screen, onstage with Delirious and Raw and I know you jammed to "Party All the Time"; Eddie Murphy became the second-highest film grossing star ever, a comedic genius and a national treasure.

We were first introduced to Eddie when he became "the Black guy" on Saturday Night Live, but quickly turned into the only reason we had to watch, as his characters and presence helped revitalize the show. The characters he created (Velvet Jones and Mr. Robinson), modernized (Gumby and Buckwheat) or parodied (Stevie Wonder and James Brown) were pure comic genius and it became obvious that he was the heir apparent to Richard Pryor as the king of comedy.

Hollywood saw the potential as well, Murphy was cast to star opposite Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs, the ebony and ivory buddy flick like Pryor and Gene Wilder successfully made, that would become the template for action-comedy buddy flicks for years to come. Next was Trading Places with "Saturday Night Live" alum Dan Akroyd and Eddie had two box-office hits under his belt, a promising future and carte blanche on the roles he took.

What came next is a character that's gone down in the annals of cinema history, Axel Foley, from Beverly Hills Cop. Beverly Hills Cop was Eddie Murphy's first solo starring role and originally written with Sylvester Stallone in mind (could you imagine) and went on to gross over $200 million dollars at the box office, making Eddie a bankable movie star. That same year also saw what would become a trend in a few years, taking on bad scripts, as he was a "strategic guest star" in what he called "the worst movie in the history of everything", Best Defense.

The Golden Child, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Coming to America all followed suit at the box and were sandwiched by Eddie's venturing out into the music business and headed back to the stage. His concert films Delirious and Raw are certified classics in our community and can be recited line for line by Eddie Murphy purists, as the jokes are just as memorable as the leather outfits he wore in both. The same can't be said for his music, his 1985 album How Could It Be spawned the guilty pleasure hit, "Party All the Time" with Rick James, though I think the song "How Could it Be" is a decent song.

His ability to imitate and create voices has been the source of some of the funniest moments in television and movie history. Who could forget his portrayal of a White man on "SNL" or the barbershop scenes in Coming to America, dinner scene in The Nutty Professor, pure unadulterated genius. Add in impersonations of Michael Jackson, Elvis, Bill Cosby, Mr. T, and Jackie Gleason during Delirious and Raw and you start to get my meaning.

1989 marked the beginning of a series hit or miss films for Eddie Murphy, beginning with Harlem Nights, a film which he shared screen time with two of his idols, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. He wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film which was killed by the critics, but ranks high in the hood. The same can't be said for Another 48 Hrs., The Distinguished Gentleman, Beverly Hills Cop III, or Vampire in Brooklyn. Thrown in the middle of those bad decisions was Boomerang, a romantic comedy classic that costarred Halle Barry, Martin Lawrence, and Robin Givens.

In 1996, Murphy made a comeback as "Prof. Sherman Klump" and numerous family members in an updated version of the Jerry Lewis classic "The Nutty Professor". This marked a transition for him, as he began a run of successful family-friendly movies like Dr. Dolittle 1 & 2, Mulan, the Shrek franchise, and Daddy Day Care. There were plenty of horrible films (Holy Man) in between, but Life wasn't one of them. Sharing the screen with Martin Lawrence, the two aged into their 90's while serving life in prison for a crime they didn't commit. It is one of those films that mixes comedy and drama and really plays on the talents of its stars.

Even more bad films followed (I Spy) before Eddie stole the show as James 'Thunder' Early in Dreamgirls. The role in Dreamgirls allowed him to mesh his comedic talent, singing ability and showcases his acting ability and led to his winning a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Supporting Actor and an Oscar nomination. Then more bad films (Norbit and Meet Dave), but the announcement that he's heading back to the stage gives me hope for more of the classic Eddie Murphy I grew up on, as does the announcement that he's starring in a film called The Trump Heist reportedly alongside Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker.

The rumor mill has been out of control since he was stopped by the police with a transvestite in his car back in 1997 and he's gone through a divorce, fathered 8 children, had a marriage annulled and various career failures, but he's alluded the drugs and violence that seems to haunt comedians. Eddie Murphy has made me laugh to the point of tears numerously in my life, taught me how to curse correctly (sorry mom) and given us countless characters (Reggie Hammond, Billy Ray Valentine, Axel Foley, Prince Akeem, "Quick", Marcus Graham, Sherman Klump, and Ray Gibson) that have made lasting memories, he is one of those talents that we can't take for granted, because he is so rare.

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