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The Continuum of Black Stand-up Comedy, Pt. 1: Eddie Murphy’s 'Raw'

Shadow and Act By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act April 10, 2013 at 1:44PM

Kevin Hart may be one of the most popular Black stand-up comedians today but, at one time, a young, leather jumpsuit-clad Eddie Murphy dominated the stand-up scene. His acclaimed "Eddie Murphy Raw" (1987) captured the attention and laughter of critics and audiences alike, with Murphy drawing comparisons to a young Richard Pryor.
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'Eddie Murphy Raw'
'Eddie Murphy Raw'

Kevin Hart may be one of the most popular Black stand-up comedians today but, at one time, a young, leather jumpsuit-clad Eddie Murphy dominated the stand-up scene. His acclaimed "Eddie Murphy Raw" (1987) captured the attention and laughter of critics and audiences alike, with Murphy drawing comparisons to a young Richard Pryor.

Filmed live in New York City, the film finds Murphy instigating everything from the "innate" unfaithfulness in men to the pseudo bravado of Italian-Americans after watching the "Rocky" film series. "All right Rocky! All right Sly," he screams in a thick Italian accent, before performing a scene where two characters engage in a culture clash, dispelling all stereotypes that had previously been set up.

It’s this kind of raunchy, non-PC humor that helped shape Murphy’s brand of stand-up. Nothing was ever too sacred or controversial to laugh at in that skit, or even in another where Murphy transforms into his childhood self, craving a fast food hamburger from a mother who was sure she could cook one “better than McDonald's.” What follows is a thorough, hilarious story that borders on comedic genius.

What are your favorite stand-up moments from "Raw"? Or can you think of another stand-up routine that deserves more kudos?

XFINITY On Demand™ is currently featuring "Eddie Murphy Raw." Learn more and join the celebration of Black entertainment at xfinity.com/celebrateblacktv.

Editor’s Note: Shadow and Act partnered with XFINITY to celebrate Black entertainment. Be sure to visit xfinity.com/celebrateblacktv, a unique digital community built around the love of Black TV, film, sports, music and more. Shadow and Act hopes to enrich this community and provide a launching pad for insightful discussion. Look to Shadow and Act for features and content examining and exploring key themes and topics that run throughout the history of Black entertainment.

This article is related to: Xfinity Celebrate Black TV, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy Raw


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