Eddie Murphy talks 'You People,' Rick James, Arsenio Hall on 'Kimmel'
By Tonya Pendleton
Eddie Murphy arrives for the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on January 10, 2023. Murphy appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to promote his Netflix movie, "You People." Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 26 (UPI) --Eddie Murphy is a Hollywood veteran, which means he has a lot of stories to tell. He shared a few on an appearance onJimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday after receiving theCecil B. DeMille Icon award at the Golden Globes and promoting his new Netflix film, You People.
The film stars Nia Long, Lauren London and Jonah Hill. In it, Murphy plays a Muslim father, who isn't too happy when his daughter (London) takes up with a white man (Hill).
"When I read the script, I said I have to do this. It was kind of like a modern Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Most romantic comedies don't have an edge to them. This one does. It's like Guess Who's Coming to Roscoe's?"
Murphy's brother, the late comedian Charlie Murphy, used to do a segment on The Chappelle Show called "True Hollywood Stories." One of them was about the funk singer Rick James. In the skit, Charlie recounts a time when James came by Eddie's house. He sat on a white couch and put his feet up, leaving muddy shoe prints behind.
But Murphy says he remembers a time hanging with James quite fondly, confirming a story that he was once stuck in the singer's hometown of Buffalo during a snowstorm.
"We were snowed in for two weeks," Murphy told Kimmel. "I went up there to record "Party All the Time,"' his 1985 hit single that was written and produced by James.
"I was supposed to go there for two weeks," he remembers, calling it "maybe the most fun I ever had. I was supposed to go there for like one weekend, and we got snowed in in Buffalo. It was like five feet of snow."
Kimmel then asked, "Are you sure it was snow outside Rick's house?" as the audience and Murphy laughed, given James' own admission that he was on drugs for many years.
"Rick never did that around me," Murphy said. "Because I wasn't into it. People that do that, don't do it around people that don't do it. It's not like weed. People that do that all go off into a room."
As far as visits to celebrity friends go, though Murphy and former TV talk show host Arsenio Hall have been friends for more than 40 years, he says he's been inside his house just one time.
"He was at [my] house the other day. He's very mysterious. We actually call him Mysterio. He just pops in and pops out." When Kimmel suggested Murphy "pop up" at Hall's place, Murphy said, "I don't know where his house is!"
Murphy also dished on his legendary entourage, which once was up to "6 or 7" people including his cousin Ray Ray, his brother, and a man nicknamed Fruity.
"As you get older your circle gets smaller and smaller," Murphy said. "It's usually their fault why they wind up out of the circle. They eliminate themselves."
He pointed out Ray, who was with him on the Kimmel set, saying he was the last remaining member of the original squad.
When asked who he thought was the funniest person he'd ever met Murphy had an easy answer.
"Redd Foxx [was the] most naturally funny. Without even trying, just naturally funny. Everything that came out of his mouth was funny."
He added, "Redd Foxx actually died on a show I was producing ('90s sitcom) The Royal Family. He had a heart attack on the show. That's how funny he was -- they thought he was joking."
Foxx, the legendary star of the sitcom, Sanford and Sondied in the emergency room of a Los Angeles hospital in 1991.
Given his 40-plus decades in Hollywood, Murphy is already a wealthy man. But he also owns one asset that is immensely valuable on its own. Murphy purchased the Eddie Barnes painting Sugar Shack that appears in the opening credits of the classic TV show Good Times. It is also the cover of the Marvin Gaye album I Want You. A duplicate also painted by Barnes recently sold at auction for $15.2 million.
"I have the real one. I think I paid 50 grand for that picture," Murphy said.