I used to love Eddie Murphy. Back in the day on SNL, he was so hot and so bright, he practically glowed with talent. Buckwheat, Gumby, Mr Robinson’s Neighborhood, James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party. I thought everything he did was comedic gold.

Loved Delirious, wasn’t as crazy about Raw — the misogyny and anger was too close to the surface even for me, and I’m not the only one who sees it as a turning point in his career. Even Eddie feels that way, in this Essence interview he says: “I was 22 when I did Delirious. I was 25 when I did Raw. I was a kid… I can’t even watch Raw now. When I see where my head was, when I look at myself at 25, it’s like, ‘Damn, I was tripping.‘”

Eddie Murphy’s older films are straight-up classics. 48 Hrs. Trading Places. Coming to America. I can watch those movies over and over again. I think the last Eddie Murphy movie I really enjoyed (Shrek excluded) was Bowfinger. Seriously, I thought that movie was hilarious.

I’m dying to see him in Dreamgirls, and I was so proud that he won a Golden Globe. Fingers crossed that he wins an Oscar.

I seriously hope that receiving that prestigious gold statue that has eluded so many equally talented African American actors and actresses, will serve as a wake-up call to Eddie Murphy.

Hopefully then he will stop wasting his talent on crap like Norbit.

Somewhere along the way (most definitely after Party All the Time), Eddie Murphy started believing his own hype, and settled into a safe zone of comedies that pander to a family audience (Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion, Dr. Dolittle) or perpetuate the most ancient stereotypes.

This time around, he’s not just reveling in the Mammy stereotype, he’s adding a touch of oversexed Jezebel in there too. But why stop at offending black women? Why not also piss off overweight people, and put on yellowface?

I don’t get the comedian in a dress shtick. I didn’t even like Mrs. Doubtfire. But I’ve noticed the trend here, and I have to agree with Jenice Armstrong in asking — what’s so funny about a black man dressed as a fat black woman?

I don’t predict that Norbit will be number one at the box office, but it’ll probably make the top five. It’ll sell like hot cakes on the bootleg market. And that will be enough for Hollywood to invest in another one of these hackneyed, weary, dumbed-down laffapaloozas aimed squarely at an “urban” audience. If Eddie doesn’t want to do it, there are other black comedians waiting in the wings to slip on the fat suit and don the wig.
But I’m wondering if I’m the one with a humor chip missing, because based on the comments on one of my favorite websites, Concrete Loop, people actually want to see this film much to my surprise.
What do you bellas and fellas think?

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