Eddie Murphy’s getting a two-hour tribute on Spike TV at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, taped earlier this month in Beverly Hills. It’s not exactly a roast — it’s more laudatory than that — but a variety of Hollywood big shots will pay their due to one of the most popular and important comics of all time.
Murphy was set to host the Oscars this year, but bowed out when the 2012 Oscars producer Brett Ratner, Murphy’s good friend, left the show following controversial comments. It left us all wondering what might have been — would we have seen some of that cutting with that made him a star? Or family-friendly “Meet the Klumps” fare?
This special is likely the closest you’re going to get to finding out, as Murphy hasn’t expressed interest in returning to standup and has a long-running beef with his old home on “Saturday Night Live” ever since David Spade mocked Murphy’s then-fading star in the early ’90s on his “Hollywood Minute” segment.
Arsenio Hall tried daring Murphy into doing standup on the show, and while reports indicate he didn’t quite get the hour of standup he demanded, Murphy definitely got in a few classic lines.
Watch Murphy perform with Stevie Wonder on the special, who he used to impersonate on “Saturday Night Live”:
|Eddie Murphy Performs With Stevie Wonder|
Murphy first became a star on “Saturday Night Live” in the early ’80s, though he’d also been doing standup, where he made a name for himself with TV specials “Raw” and “Delirious.”
Watch Tracy Morgan rocking a red suit in the style Murphy wore on his 1983 “Delirious” special:
One of my personal favorite SNL moments from Eddie Murphy was his sketch about going undercover into the secret world of white people, “White Like Me”:
Murphy went on to be a film star in movies like “Coming To America” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” He’s set to have a recurring role in a new “Beverly Hills Cop” TV show, focused on the son of Murphy’s Axel Foley.
Other stars appearing on the special include Adam Sandler, Tyler Perry, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Russell Brand and Samuel L. Jackson.
Here’s hoping for some classic Eddie that’s more “Raw” and less “Pluto Nash.”