Eddie Murphy Raw
|Eddie Murphy Raw|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Townsend|
|Edited by||Lisa Day|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$50.5 million|
Eddie Murphy Raw is a 1987 American stand-up comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Robert Townsend. It was Murphy's second feature stand-up comedy film, following Eddie Murphy Delirious. However, unlike Delirious, Raw received a wide theatrical release. The 90-minute show was filmed at the Felt Forum, a venue in the Madison Square Garden complex in New York City. The film was released in the United States on December 18, 1987. As of October 2019[update], it is the highest-grossing stand-up comedy concert film of all time at the box office, making $50.5 million in the United States and Canada.
The film opens with a pre-taped sketch depicting a scene from Murphy's childhood. At a family Thanksgiving in November 1968, the children take turns showing their talents to the assembled relatives (including one played by Murphy himself). Young Eddie (Deon Richmond) shocks the family with a rude joke about a monkey and a lion.
After emerging on stage for the live show, Murphy begins by discussing the angry reactions of celebrities parodied in his previous stand-up show, Delirious, specifically Mr. T and Michael Jackson, as well as homosexual viewers offended by his jokes about "faggots." Murphy then narrates a phone call he received from Bill Cosby chastising him for using profanity on stage. Angered by Cosby's assumption that his entire act was nothing but "filth flarn filth," Murphy calls Richard Pryor for advice. Pryor declares that his only concerns should be making audiences laugh and getting paid, and recommends that he tell Cosby to "Have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up." Murphy elaborates on his admiration for the "raw" comedy of Pryor, running through a routine from his own teenage years about defecation, in Pryor's voice. He then goes on to talk about how people who don't speak English only pick up the curse words in his act, and shout them at him on the street.
Next comes a lengthy routine about dating and relationships. Murphy explains that the rise of deadly sexually transmitted infections has motivated him to seek marriage, but the divorce of Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland (in which she sought 50% of his assets) has left him paranoid about the financial risk of marriage, concluding that "no pussy is worth $150 million." He mocks the aggression and materialism of American women (compared to his believed meekness of Japanese women), referring to the popularity of Janet Jackson's song "What Have You Done for Me Lately." He jokes that he intends to go deep into Africa to find a "bush bitch" who has no concept of Western culture... at least until American women convince her to stand up for herself and demand "HALF!" This develops into a broader warning to men to avoid "the pussy trap," and a warning to women that men never remain faithful — once a man has evoked a powerful orgasm from a woman ("ooohhhh!") she will tolerate all kinds of misbehavior, although she may pursue infidelity of her own.
The next segment narrates a childhood memory of his mother promising to cook him a hamburger "better than McDonald's," only to produce a disgusting "welfare burger," a lump of beef filled with onion and green peppers on Wonder Bread (while the neighborhood children show off their McDonald's hamburgers in a call-back to the ice cream segment of Delirious).
Murphy then talks about white people out on the town, criticizing their embarrassing dance moves, leading onto Italian-Americans being inspired by Rocky, then culminates to a bit about fighting in a discotheque with Deney Terrio, eventually starting a large-scale brawl after which "everybody sued me" for millions of dollars.
After the fight, Murphy calls his parents, leading to a long impression of his drunken stepfather (another call-back to a popular bit from Delirious). This final segment runs for over 10 minutes and incorporates his stepfather's habit of misquoting Motown songs (including "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", which opened the film).
Cast (opening segment)
- Eddie Murphy as Himself
- Tatyana Ali as Eddie's sister (sketch)
- Deon Richmond as Little Eddie (sketch)
- Billie Allen as Eddie's aunt (sketch)
- James Brown III as Thanksgiving guest
- Edye Byrde as Mrs. Butts (sketch)
- Michelle Davison as Thanksgiving guest
- Clebert Ford as Uncle Lester (sketch)
- Birdie M. Hale as Aunt Rose (sketch)
- J. D. Hall as Party guest (sketch)
- Tiger Haynes as Card player #3
- Barbara Iley as Thanksgiving guest
- Leonard Jackson as Uncle Gus (sketch)
- Samuel L. Jackson as Eddie's Uncle
- John Lafayette as Thanksgiving guest
- Davenia McFadden as Eddie's Aunt (sketch)
- Gwen McGee as Eddie's Mother (sketch)
- Lex Monson as Card player #4
- Warren Morris as Poetry reader
- Basil Wallace as Eddie's Father (sketch)
- Damien Wayans as Child running in the house
- Ellis E. Williams as Eddie's Uncle (sketch)
- Carol Woods as Eddie's Aunt
- Kim Wayans as Interviewed fan (uncredited)
The film contained the word "fuck" 223 times, setting the record for highest "fuck count" ever in a feature-length, theatrically released film at the time (surpassing Scarface). Raw held the record until 1990 before being surpassed by Goodfellas.
Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times wrote that it was "a surprisingly poor concert film of Murphy’s stand-up act," saying Murphy is "like a musician with fabulous technique playing 'Chopsticks.'"
- "Eddie Murphy Raw (18)". British Board of Film Classification. November 25, 1987. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
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- "Eddie Murphy Raw". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- "'Raw' Passes 'Pryor' As Top Concrt Pic". Variety. January 13, 1988. p. 7.
- "Freeze Frame: Suicide Kings". Familymediaguide.com. Archived from the original on May 9, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- Maslin, Janet (December 19, 1987). "'Eddie Murphy Raw'". The New York Times.
- Patrizio, Andy (August 26, 2004). "Eddie Murphy Raw". Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)". Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Eddie Murphy Raw". September 10, 2004. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Wilmington, Michael (December 21, 1987). "MOVIE REVIEW : Eddie Murphy Stands Up--In the 'Raw'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 26, 2010.