Judge Brett Cullum got some ice cream!
Our review of Eddie Murphy: Delirious: 25th Anniversary Edition, published June 2nd, 2009, is also available.
Eddie Murphy: "Does anyone have a mother that would hit you with a shoe? I had a mother that would throw a shoe at you at the drop of a dime. And fuck you up wherever she was aiming. So by the time I was like 10, my mother was like Clint Eastwood with a shoe…"
Back in 1983, Eddie Murphy was 22 and the hottest comic on the planet. He had a successful run on Saturday Night Live coupled with a huge movie hit 48 Hours. A year before Beverly Hills Cop, HBO delivered a 69-minute comedy concert called Delirious. It was a television event, and school age kids everywhere stayed up late to memorize every politically incorrect joke Murphy spun out. Nothing was off limits—gays, AIDs, women, Jackie Gleason, Mr. T, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, ice cream, penis size, and marriage. Eddie revealed a decidedly nasty vocabulary, as well as a love of mismatched red leather (his entire suit is made from it). Delirious is a performance that captures a young comic at the moment he explodes to become bigger than life, and it's amazing it is just now getting an official DVD release when people have been begging for it for years.
Revisiting Delirious 24 years after its creation is a nice surprise. The material does seem to have aged, but it's hilarious. The look of Eddie, some of the pop culture mentions give away this is the '80s; however, enough of the material is comprised of solid universal themes it remains funny. I still laugh my ass off when Murphy launches into "I got some ice cream, I got some ice cream!" or "I want half!" He's a filthy mouthed funny guy that reminds me of Richard Pryor's vulgarity coupled with Bill Cosby's charm. He is a brilliant comedian with an awesome standup presence. It's a shame Murphy has given up live performance, because Delirious proves he was a master of the comedy stage.
The shocking thing watching the special is how offensive Murphy was back in the day, and how he offers no apology for the material. He was more hyper than he is now, more irreverent, and also a lot cockier. He does come off as a homophobe with his insensitive remarks, but you have to keep the era in context. He was protested by gay groups all along this tour, and surely outside of this venue picketers could be found (which was Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.). If you're sensitive about politically incorrect topics against homosexuals and women, Delirious probably isn't for you.
Starz Home Entertainment finally delivers the concert in unedited form. When it was on HBO the show ran 69 minutes, and that is what we get here. The transfer is clear, but still retains what it looked like on HBO in 1983. It's fullscreen and has an "early days of video" quality that is unmistakable to the period. Extras are boiled down to two short deleted sequences, and a recent interview of Eddie by Byron Allen (Real People host). The almost 40-minute interview is the best extra; it explores what the concert and special meant to Eddie Murphy at that point in his career.
Eddie Murphy: Delirious is comedy gold on DVD, and it's a shock it took this long to be released. This is one of the greats, and remains a classic of standup comedy. Starz Home Entertainment does a nice job with a value priced DVD that offers solid extras. It should please Eddie Murphy fans, and inspire a whole new generation of imitators running around in mismatched red leather suits. Murphy was a rock star of comedy, and Delirious was his strongest set of material. Murphy could blow away any comedian touring today with just a little bit of leather and a shoe. So go ask your mom the throw down some money, and run this one down from the store. Do it, or I'm sending over Mr. T to sodomize you, and letting your aunt fall down the stairs while screaming for Jesus.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Starz Home Entertainment
• Two Deleted Sequences
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