Eddie Murphy Reveals the One Time He Bombed Doing Stand-Up

Cut Murphy some slack — he was only 17
Eddie Murphy Reveals the One Time He Bombed Doing Stand-Up

It’s comforting to young comedians when they know even huge stars like Eddie Murphy bombed early in their careers, says Seth Meyers. But Murphy did bomb, right? 

The Beverly Hills Cop star had to think about it for a moment before confirming that he did fail at stand-up — once. Well, responded Meyers, maybe this story won’t be so helpful to young comedians after all. 

Murphy told the tale anyway on last night’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. He was only 17 when it happened, at a jazz club in Queens named Gerald’s. Were 17-year-olds allowed in Queens jazz clubs? For that night, at least, they were.

Someone from the club explained to Murphy how the night would work. He would do two spots — the band would play, Murphy would do some stand-up. Then the band would play some more, followed by the comic’s second spot. Okay, cool.

There was no dressing room at Gerald’s so teenage Murphy had to sit in the audience with the rest of the jazz lovers. “There’s all these adults around,” he remembered. “And I had on a suit and I had mascara in my little mustache.” 

The emcee took the stage after the band’s first set, telling the crowd it was time to bring on the comedian. “And I came up and I did my act, and I was horrible,” Murphy said with a grimace. “And I was going so bad that I started racing through it. I did everything, trying to get it. So I did my whole act, and it was like, Okay, nobody laughed.”

The worst part? Now Murphy had to slink back into the audience and take a seat “with everybody I had bombed with. I was just sitting there, and people were walking by me going, ‘Hey, (bleep).’” Go ahead, fill in your favorite curse insult.

The band played their second set, and then once again the emcee introduced Murphy. “People go, ‘Aw, (bleep), man." 

“I go up, and it's the worst ever,” Murphy said. “I don't even remember it. You know how when you bomb, you get that hot feeling? You feel real hot in the back of your neck, like it’s a red light back there. I was terrible, and I bombed.”

But the night wasn’t quite finished. There was still the matter of getting paid for a night of miserable comedy. “Afterwards, I went to the bar,” he said. “The dude, Gerald, was sitting at the bar. And I walked up and I said, ‘Uh, yes, I was supposed to get, uh, $50 for tonight.’"

“And he looked at me and said, ‘You better get the (bleep) out my face.’”


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