When it comes to dry humor, Charlie Murphy is the King of Comedy. Whether he had Black America busting their guts with his absurd “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” on Comedy Central’s defunct “Chapelle’s Show” or playing a criminal on the big screen, Murphy has always had a knack for making folks laugh. Now, the comedian and actor is delivering new laughs via the Web with the premiere of “Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy,” an online sketch comedy series. ESSENCE.com caught up with the jokester to talk about why he’s joined the digital movement, reuniting with Dave Chapelle, and why he’s never had to walk in the shadow of his famous brother.
ESSENCE.COM: Mr. Charlie “True Hollywood Stories” Murphy, we hear you’re going digital on us and will be delivering your brand of funny in online webisodes from your new skits. What’s up with that?
CHARLIE MURPHY: It’s the way of the world now, and young people are not sitting home in front of the television. They are watching YouTube, so if you want to be involved with the new and cutting-ede, then you have to get with the program. I had an opportunity to take my show to other outlets, but I thought the Web was a perfect [platform] because there are no handcuffs—you can say what you want and it’s your vision.
ESSENCE.COM: We hear you on the digital takeover. Has it been a smooth transition for you?
MURPHY: The process is the same as far as writing and filming only it’s downloaded on the Web. Really the only reason we have television now is for commercial purposes because they need to sell products—that’s the hook. But once they figure out how to translate those dollars to the Web it’s going to be a new day. The first episode will feature Ashy Larry (Darnell Rawlins) and it’s good funny stuff. You’ll see Charlie Murphy meet bin Laden, Lil’ Wayne and a few other folks along the way too.
ESSENCE.COM: So, we see you’re hooking up with some of the old Dave Chappelle crew. Any chances of you reuniting with him on your show?
MURPHY: I would love for it to happen, but I doubt it. I don’t think he wants to be on anybody’s show. Who wouldn’t want to work with Dave? I see him out on the West Coast doing a lot of comedy.
ESSENCE.COM: As a comedian, have you ever bombed so badly that your ego was beat up?
MURPHY: Of course! One time I had a bunch of new material that I never tried out on stage. I remember someone told me: Remember, you can’t write this in your room, it has to be written on stage. I didn’t understand the message but I did after that show (laughs). I went on stage with five jokes and none of them worked. The audience was silent and looking at me like, “I don’t get it.” It was 20 minutes of torture. There’s nothing worse than someone looking at you like, What the f— are you talking about? (laughs)—it’s a horrible feeling. I remember I used to lose sleep think of the next joke. That taught me to mix a bunch of really funny jokes with the weak jokes so if you bomb no one will really know.
ESSENCE.COM: Hey, no pain, no gain. As Eddie Murphy’s bro, have you ever felt like you were living in his shadow?
MURPHY: I’ve never felt like I was living in anyone’s shadow. My life was what it was. I was always proud of my brother. He helped me tremendously, but we’re family so we were never in his shadow.
Check out the premiere of “Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy” on Crackle.com every Friday.