Eddie Murphy knows some of his older jokes were “cringey.” But the comedy legend, 58, says he doesn’t regret the material he put out early in his career.
In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Murphy said he still laughs at “some of” his old material that would be considered widely controversial by 2019 standards.
“Some of it, I cringe when I watch it,” he added. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I said that.’ “
“I’ve seen (old) stuff (now) where you go like, ‘Oh, that’s – ooh.’ Yeah, you get a joke every now and then that’s cringey. But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate it. I can still appreciate it. And I’m looking at it within the context of the time. I’m going, ‘Okay, I’m a kid saying that.’ ”
Murphy acknowledged those who criticized his jokes in the past, telling CBS “in the moment, you kind of was like, ‘It is what it is.’ “
In this file photo from Nov. 6, 2019, Eddie Murphy attends the WSJ Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Photo: Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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Looking back on his nearly 40-year career, Murphy added he has no regrets “whatsoever.”
Three years into his “Saturday Night Live” gig, Murphy released the Grammy Award-winning special “Delirious” in 1983, in which he made jokes about AIDS, used a gay slur multiple times and told the audience he was “afraid of gay people.”
Murphy released a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1996 after gay rights activists protested the comedian’s “Late Show” appearance amid him filming a movie in San Francisco, slamming Murphy for never apologizing for past jokes about AIDS.
“Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981,” he said. “I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year-old man. I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.”
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