Veteran actor-comedian Eddie Murphy is the latest comic to take a stand against cancel culture, suggesting that he doesn’t want to apologize for what he says when he returns to stand-up comedy in a tour scheduled for next year.
Eddie Murphy told the Associated Press in an interview published Wednesday that there is a backlash among comedians against forced apologies.
“It’s almost like there was this thing where for the last couple years, people had to apologize for saying this and that. It seems like I’m seeing a couple comics going ‘You know what? Enough of this shit. I’m doing my thing and let the chips fall where they may,'” Murphy said.
“That’s where I’m coming from,” he added. “I’m not planning to step on nobody’s foot or get in some controversy or turn over the applecart. I’m just going to be Eddie. Whatever comes out, that’s what it’s going to be.”
Murphy — who dominated the comedy movie world in the 80s and 90s with classic films like 48 Hours, Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop — cited stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle for embracing edgy jokes.
“I want to see what’s in me. I want to see what comes out. And I see what’s going on, so I know there are parameters. You’ve got to eggshell it in certain areas,” Murphy said. “(Dave) Chappelle has some new stuff out that’s edgy, and I see a couple of other comics doing stuff that’s edgy.”
Murphy told the AP that he gave up stand-up comedy two decades ago amid protests over his 1980s act, prompting him to issue a statement apologizing for jokes about AIDS.
“I wasn’t getting the kick that I would usually get from it. I started feeling like there’s a pressure. People had an expectation,” Murphy said.
“A lot of it was controversial. I’d get picketed. They started being on my act. If I said something it would be in the newspaper. I just wanted to tell some jokes. They were reading too much into it. I was like, You know what? How about I just go do ‘Dr. Doolittle.’”
The AP said Murphy will return to stand-up with a tour next year, along with a Netflix special. “The muscle that always came up with jokes, I never stopped using that muscle,” he said. “At the core, I’m a funny person. I’m a funny guy.”
Murphy was speaking the the AP about his role in the new Netflix movie Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic of performer Rudy Ray Moore.
The movie marks the latest comeback for Murphy, who is set to star in the sequel Coming 2 America. He is also scheduled to host Saturday Night Live in December, marking his return to the show after being a cast member during the 80s.
Comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Marlon Wayans have publicly spoken out against what is often referred to as “cancel culture,” where left-wing political activists in conjunction with the mainstream media apply social media pressure to get their targets and adversaries fired.