unny how things change with time. Five years ago many people would have referred to Charlie Murphy as Eddie’s brother. Four years ago few people would have believed Charlie could hold his own on as a stand-up comedian. Three years ago no one could have imagined Charlie playing a crucial role on the most influential sketch shows of the 21st century.
“A lot of people didn’t want to give me a [acting] job. Or if they did, I was treated like ‘you’re not really A-list… you’re just somebody’s brother” –that’s Charlie calmly explaining his travels through Hollywood throughout the last few years…. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s rewind to the beginning of the story…
Charlie was born Charles Quinton Murphy Jr. in Brooklyn, NY and lived there with his parents and younger brother Eddie until the age of 6 when his parents devoiced. His mother remarried and moved the family to Long Island. “When we supposedly moved to suburbia that’s when the gang banging started; when I seen people shooting heroin, all that in [Roosevelt] Long Island”. Years later Murphy enlisted in the Navy, “I had to get away from where I grew up… it was crazy out there.”
“…I was in [the Navy] for six years. I got out when they had the Beirut/Lebanon thing I was getting out and I thought ‘this is a good time not to reenlist’”. Charlie left military service in 1984 the same year his brother starred as Det. Axel Foley in the hit movie ‘Beverly Hills Cop’.
He followed in his brother’s footsteps and started acting, appearing in films ‘Harlem Nights’, ‘Mo’ Better Blues’ and ‘CB4’ along with a string of TV shows. And also found a talent for writing (see: Vampire in Brooklyn, Paper Soldiers, Norbit).
I met up with Charlie, at club Fusion 215 in Manhattan about an hour behind schedule (the driver from the car company we arranged for him “got a little uppity so he had to be replaced”). To be honest the first five minutes after meeting him I kept flashing back to the scene with Prince, as played by Dave Chappelle, dunking on Charlie and his crew on the ‘Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories’ episode of Chapelle’s Show.
He ran through a list of the projects he’s working, his stand-up comedy act and his contribution to Chapelle’s show. “I started doing comedy three years ago… before that I was trying to be the mean guy in movies. When I went on the Dave Chappelle show it was because of the movies I was in. Dave and Neal Brennan seen those movies. They called me in the do the "Real World" sketch. Every job I got was the result of the last job I did”.
“Now Imma tell you something, when you start doing comedy you get to find your voice, that’s one of the things you go through. I went through that where I was on stage telling jokes about people eating a**holes and all that. I did jokes like that and people laughed but I felt like an idiot afterwards, like that was some ignorant… that was just shock value cause I talking about a**holes and cursing, that gimmick hack sh*t that’s when you star