Eddie Murphy Reveals the Challenges and Joys of Working with Richard Pryor
When Eddie Murphy had the opportunity to work alongside comedy legend Richard Pryor in the film “Harlem Nights,” he was filled with excitement. However, looking back on the experience, Murphy realized that it wasn’t as fun as he had anticipated.
Eddie Murphy’s Inspiration from Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor played a significant role in Eddie Murphy’s decision to pursue a career in comedy. Murphy attributes his desire to become a comedian to seeing Pryor perform, saying, “Oh, that’s what I want to be.”
Murphy went on to become one of the biggest comedians of all time, following in the footsteps of his idol. Eventually, he had the opportunity to star alongside Pryor and other comedy legends in the film “Harlem Nights.”
“Harlem Nights” is a 1989 feature that revolves around a team of nightclub owners dealing with political corruption and mob activity. The movie also starred Redd Foxx, Arsenio Hall, and Murphy’s older brother Charlie Murphy.
The Fun and Challenges of Filming “Harlem Nights”
While Murphy doesn’t remember much about filming “Harlem Nights,” he does recall the good times shared with Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. He reminisced about the off-camera moments when the three of them would laugh together, saying, “The funniest shit was off camera, we’re all just crying. Redd was a really funny dude, he would have the set screaming all the time.”
However, Murphy also reveals that Pryor was already battling multiple sclerosis (MS) during the filming of “Harlem Nights.” Despite not realizing what Pryor was going through at the time, Murphy reflects on the sadness he felt when he later understood the extent of Pryor’s illness.
A Memorable Encounter and Honest Review from Richard Pryor
Murphy’s admiration for Pryor predates their collaboration in “Harlem Nights.” Murphy recounts the moment he first met Pryor on a plane ride from Atlanta to L.A., during his early days on “Saturday Night Live.”
During the flight, Murphy plucked up the courage to approach Pryor and asked him to listen to his comedy album. Sitting behind Pryor, Murphy witnessed his idol’s hysterical laughter, which served as an affirmation of Murphy’s talent and comedy skills.
The Unfulfilled Dream of Playing Pryor’s Father in a Biopic
While there have been discussions and plans for a Richard Pryor biopic, the film has yet to materialize. However, during the interview, Murphy expressed his hope for the project’s success. Murphy even envisioned playing Pryor’s father in the biopic, mirroring the unique dynamic of their relationship.
Murphy’s desire to tell Pryor’s story and share his admiration for the comedy legend highlights the impact Pryor had on Murphy’s career and personal life.
In conclusion, working with his idol Richard Pryor was a bittersweet experience for Eddie Murphy. While the collaboration allowed for memorable moments and shared laughter, Murphy realized the challenges and sadness that Pryor was facing while battling his illness. Despite the ups and downs, the mutual respect and admiration between the two comedy legends remain undeniable.