Eddie Murphy Delirious

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Eddie Murphy Delirious
Eddie murphy delirious.JPG
UK video cover
Directed by Bruce Gowers
Produced by Eddie Murphy
Robert Wachs
Richard Tienken
Written by Eddie Murphy
Starring Eddie Murphy
Edited by Ken Denisoff
Dave Barr
Eddie Murphy Productions
Release dates
  • August 30, 1983 (1983-08-30) (VHS)
  • February 6, 2007 (2007-02-06) (DVD)
Running time
69 minutes
Language English

Delirious (1983) is an American stand-up comedy television special directed by Bruce Gowers, written by and starring Eddie Murphy. The comedy became a TV Special for HBO released August 30, 1983. The 70-minute film became Eddie Murphy's first feature stand-up film, becoming the predecessor to the wide theatrical release in 1987, Eddie Murphy Raw. The stand-up was also released as an album on October 24, 1983 titled "Eddie Murphy: Comedian", which won Grammy for Best Comedy Album at the 1984 Grammy Awards.

Murphy's unique comedy routine consisted of raunchy and everyday topics, including; sex orientation, puberty, dating, disciplinarian mothers, ice cream trucks, and personality traits of celebrities. It is also considered one of the most famous and influential comedy routines in history; Murphy left the standard comedy of SNL and brought a loud and profane routine that has delighted millions.


Eddie Murphy had been doing stand-up comedy routines since he was 15, and was heavily influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. He gained a skill for impressions at a much younger age. Much of his early success revolved around talent shows, one of which he impersonated Al Green. After repeating the 10th and graduating as the "most popular" kid in school, he enrolled into Nassau Community College and began work as a shoe store clerk. He performed in local clubs and eventually worked his way to popular New York City venues.

After joining NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1980, and was skyrocketed into the starlight. He became even bigger after the "Buckwheat" skit in 1981. He starred in his first motion picture role in 1982, titled 48 Hrs.. He also recorded his first live comedy album in 1982. Afterwards he began to put together a TV stand-up special for HBO. He wrote the routine himself, and threw on a red leather boiler suit. He entered the stage on August 3, 1983, and performed for a little over one hour and five minutes.


Unlike his acts on Saturday Night Live, this performance was very profane, with Murphy saying the word "fuck" a total of 230 times, and "shit" used 171 times.[1] He also used the derogative term "faggot" multiple times throughout this performance, creating a mockery of the LGBT+ community. The insensitivity Murphy portrayed through his homophobic jokes became the point of critical analysis for many forms of queer art and cinema, such as Marlon Riggs' Tongues Untied.

Another topic that Murphy addresses is the lure ice cream trucks have on children. Once the ice cream was bought, they would sing and dance mockingly in front of kids who could not afford it.[2]


Delirious was filmed on August 17, 1983 at DAR Constitution Hall in D.C. The routine contained varied and controversial topics that was profane, and at the same time funny.

Murphy took the stage and began to talk about a fear he has of homosexuals. He tells the audience a nightmare he had of Mr. T having sex with him. After that he began roasting different singers such as The BusBoys, Mick Jagger, Luther Vandross, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder.

His third topic was one of the most popular, the ice cream truck. He joked about how kids 'lose their shit' when they hear the ice cream truck, screaming at their mothers for money, and running after it. Then the kids would sing and mock the other kids who didn't have ice cream. His fourth topic was about his mother, who was extremely accurate with a shoe, and would punish the kids by throwing the shoes at the kids.

His fifth topic was his most popular, and most profane. 44 times Murphy said 'motherfucker' or variations of the word. The barbecue included an impression of his drunk stepdad (who voiced most of the profanity), and a theory of his stepfather's brother's 'strange' family, complaining about how Gus (the stepdad's brother), would burn down his backyard and his wife would fall down the stairs, every year.

His final topic introduced some of his many impressions. He acts as African American acting as Asians, Asians, Asians acting as African Americans, Arabians, Ricky Ricardo, children who have nightmares after listening to his show, and people (mainly white people) who stay in haunted houses.


Delirious is considered one of the greatest and most influential stand up comedy films of all time. Modern artists have cited it and his 1987 film Raw as an early inspiration.

Critical Response[edit]

The film has received many positive reviews. The film review collection website, Rotten Tomatoes has given the film an 80% approval rating based on 5 reviews, while IMDb cites it an 8.3/10 based on 10,879 reviews.

Home video release[edit]

The special has been released in the UK and US on VHS and Laserdisc.

In February 2007, Delirious was released on Region 1 DVD, and March 2007, it was released on Region 2 DVD.

In June 2009, a 25th Anniversary Edition was released.

DVD features[edit]

  • Interactive Menu
  • Bonus Footage
    • Buckwheat request
      • In this bonus feature, someone in the audience requested Eddie's Buckwheat impression from Saturday Night Live.
    • "Cursing Though Can't Fight" skit
      • This bonus feature takes place seconds after one audience member yelled, "Shut up, bitch!" at a heckler. This led Murphy to topics such as cursing and fighting.
  • Interview with Eddie Murphy and Byron Allen.


  1. ^ Jeff Swindoll (June 2, 2009). "Eddie Murphy: Delirious - 25th Anniversary – DVD Review". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ Willa Paskin (September 8, 2011). "Nostalgia Fact-Check: How Do Eddie Murphy's Delirious and Raw Hold Up?". Vulture. New York Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]