Eddie Murphy Is Returning to Stand-Up Once the Pandemic Has Passed

Eddie Murphy Standup Return
(Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz)

He was the biggest comedy star in the world. And then he wasn’t. As Eddie Murphy’s star shot outta this galaxy in the 1980s, he could write his own ticket, which he did to a lucrative movie career (there’s never been a better-animated donkey). But the stand-up comedy itch, his first showbiz passion, never left him. And now, he’s talking about his return to the stage.

He spoke to Kevin Hart on a SiriusXM show and mentioned he was planning to return to the stage in the near future. Like everything else good in the world, his stand-up return was delayed because of COVID.

“My plan was to do Dolemite (his Netflix film), Saturday Night Live, Coming 2 America, and then do stand-up,” he said. “And then the pandemic hit and it shut the whole shit down.”

His movies and SNL appearance are behind him, clearing the path for him to pick up the mic again. Murphy was one of the most influential comedians of all-time and owns the highest-grossing special of all time in addition to several Grammys. While his comedy has aged (like his leather suits and honestly much of pop culture from 30 years ago), so have Murphy’s comedic sensibilities, as you can tell from things like his appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show or on SNL.

Murphy returning to stand-up would make him immediately one of the hottest draws in live entertainment. Of course, live entertainment is an industry currently in shambles, looking to rebuild itself as the world starts to drag itself out from the global pandemic.

“When the pandemic is over and it’s safe for everybody to go out and do it, then the plan is to do it,” he said.

While it’s been years since Murphy has done stand-up, he has kept up with the comedy scene and kept an interest in it. We’ve also seen comics take time off before and come back stronger than ever. Some point to Chappelle’s rebirth as a stand-up after his success with his sketch show, but even that layoff wasn’t that long.


But there will be no shortage of people who want to hear what Murphy thinks about life now, and see how he can be funny in 2021.

COVID Stopped Matthew McConaughey’s Planned Stand-up Comedy Tour

Matthew M Comedian
(Getty/Jerod Harris)

COVID has taken a lot from us in 2020, and now we learned there’s one more thing to add to the list; Matthew McConaughey’s stand-up comedy debut. That’s right, the gifted actor, now memoirist, was going to try his hand at yet another artistic endeavor and tell jokes in front of a brick wall. He had planned to do a comedy tour this year, but those plans were scrapped by the pandemic

It’s important to note we do respect, enjoy, and admire McConaughey. He’s a good actor and, by all accounts, seems like a good person. Plus, he loves being a dad, so yeah he’s good in our book. And can he tell a compelling story? No doubt. But stand-up comedy? If any celeb could pull it off, he’d be right up there.

I say this as someone who has performed stand-up comedy professionally for more than a decade; stand-up comedy is not easy. When done right, sure, it looks easy, but that’s why so many celebrities try to do it and then often bomb horrifically. But Matthew McConaughey is a lot more willing to make himself the butt of a joke compared to most celebrities and his self-awareness, combined with his openness and a lifetime of great stories, couldn’t help but make him compelling on the stage.

It was in an interview earlier this week, he said he was interested in doing stand-up comedy.

“I haven’t shared this with many people, but stand up is a no-filter communication,” he said. “What I do as an actor is my raw expression through four filters before it gets to the screen. I’m doing someone else’s script, being directed by someone else, I’m being filmed by someone else and edited by someone else before it’s put in a capsule and put in front of you on screen.

That’s four filters from my original expression. Where do you go where there is no filter? That’s stand-up. That was the plan before COVID, going on the road and telling stories in an hour of stand-up.”

His reasons for wanting to do it make sense, and he goes on to say it would be a great thing to get addicted to (spoiler: it very much is).

“It sounds like a great thing to be addicted to, the ultimate buzz. You look at stand-up comic, they are the best truth teller we have. If I  can get away with this, then I’d love to.”

So who knows, we may get a whole new version of Matthew McConaughey, coming to a Funny Bone near you in 2021.

A Conversation With Comedian Jason Weems, a Dad Who Literally Died Onstage

Jason Weems' new comedy special, "Unknown"
(Amazon Prime)

Jason Weems died in 2017. Literally, flatlined on the floor of a comedy club in Philadelphia. No heartbeat for 5 minutes thanks to a severe asthma attack.

He was (and still is) a rising star in the comedy world after reaching the semi-finals on two seasons of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and performing at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, and thankfully, his brush with death has only given him more material.

His newest special, which debuted on August 4, is titled “Unknown” in reference to the bizarre way the hospital labeled him on that fateful night.

Weems is also a father of three (and has plenty of material to prove it), so kicking the bucket that day would not only have been a tragic end to a promising career, but would’ve left his sons without a father.

In light of his new special and Grade-A dad material, we sat down with Weems to discuss near-death experiences, his sons’ pediatrician (who moonlights as a DJ), and balancing his roles of comic and father.


Jordan: So the title, “Unknown.” Can you jump into the origins of that a little bit?

Jason: Of course. One of the main themes for the special is I die, May 3rd, 2017.

Hell of a strong start.

[laughing] Yeah, I had a severe asthma attack in Philly, a few minutes into a headline set at a show. There was a doctor in the crowd, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to hook my nebulizer up quickly enough. And the attack was so aggressive that it literally shut down my airways and then ultimately stopped my heart from beating. From what I’m told from third-party people who were there—audience members, bar staff, all that stuff—I literally just coded right there in the venue.

Then there was a 16-hour period when I was unconscious in a Philadelphia hospital. And when I came to, they had me listed as “Unknown”. So, in the literal sense, it comes from that.

And it’s almost a decade since your first special, right? “Intellectual Property”?

Literally a decade. That was filmed December 4th of 2010, and this one’s coming out 2020.

That one was also filmed here in Baltimore at another great theater, completely self-produced. Both of these specials have been self-produced.

It wasn’t like somebody put the money up for us [for “Unknown”]. There was no guarantee for distribution. It was a true hail Mary, but it was a story that I felt was important. I felt it was, as much as “Unknown” as a comedy special, I feel it’s also a celebration of life.

You definitely delve into those deep and heavy themes that a lot of people might steer away from, but it’s those topics that really makes it feel authentic and real.

Yeah. Absolutely.

 

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I’m beyond proud of this project. This is the team that partnered with me to make this shit happen. Completely Self-Funded & Produced. We envisioned it, worked for it, manifested it, worked a whole lot more & now it’s almost here. It’s a pride & anxiousness you only truly know after witnessing your child being born into the world. This is dreams materializing. Not by chance, but by grace & by hustle. We really ran this bastard from end zone to end zone (in the rain ☔️). Thank you for the support. ⁣ ⁣ Please share the MF’ing wheels off of that trailer, thumbs up those tracks from the album on Sirus XM & Pandora right now, and burn the special up when it drops on Amazon next Tuesday August 4th, 2020. Then rinse & repeat. ⁣ ⁣ Even if you don’t think it’s funny, just write a rave review off of GP & then we can work out your poor taste in art in a personal text message. Don’t y’all fuck this up for me !!! Love y’all. I’m very grateful & humbled right now ❤️✊🏽.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #JasonWeemsComedy #Unknown #6DaysAway MyBmore #FromBaltimoreWithLove #audaCITY🔥

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And speaking of this whole show being a community effort to come together and create something great, your house DJ and your kids’ pediatrician… are the same person?

Same dude.

I’m going to need you to talk about that.

Yeah. So, this guy’s name is Ashanti Woods. If anybody ever moves to Baltimore and needs a good pediatrician, this guy’s amazing. His wife and my wife went to high school together, but then they lost contact. Years later, I become a father and we need a new pediatrician. This was a world that we were new to. We wanted somebody that could grow up with the kids, not somebody who’s 85.

So we put out some feelers on Facebook and she responded to my wife, like “Hey, my husband’s a pediatrician”. And then we realized, ‘Oh, we do know him. And he’s a great guy.’

He was amazing with the kids. It was an instant comfort. And then years later, I’m a couple of years into doing comedy. I see that he’s starting to DJ.

Did he have posters in his office about future shows and stuff? He’s like, “Oh yeah. After you get this prescription, come down to this club.” Like, how does that translate?

[laughing] Yeah. And it feels like he does. So his name is DJ P-O-P. If you look at the trailer, that’s my DJ. P-O-P stands for Prince of Pediatrics.

Of course it does.

So then we were pulling this special together and we really didn’t want to outsource the talent. We wanted this to be us all the way through. So it was a no-brainer. It was just a matter of whether he was going to say yes or not.

And he was into it?

He was into it. He’s a dad as well. He’s got two little ones.

 

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La Familia ❤️. ⁣ ⁣ #JasonWeemsComedy #TeamWeems #WeemsTheNextGeneration #GangGang

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Speaking of kids, how has fatherhood impacted this new special compared to the last one? Have you noticed a shift?

Oh, absolutely.

I noticed you’re not wearing crispy white New Balances when you’re out there. You don’t have cargo shorts on or anything, but I’m assuming there had been some kind of development or evolution.

Definitely in the sense of material. I mean, the first special was 2010. I wasn’t even a dad yet. So we filmed the first special, “Intellectual Property,” December 4th, 2010, and I think December 11th or 12th, I found out that we were having our son.

We had shot the show. Everybody was exhausted. So my wife and I flew to Florida and went down to the Harry Potter resort.

We’re drinking Butterbeer and walking all around the streets, and she just kept telling me that she felt weird. So I figured we just drank too much Butterbeer.

You never know how that’s going to hit. It’s a magical concoction, man.

Then we got back to Baltimore, it was still continuing. And we were out with one of my buddies for his birthday party and she said, “Can you drop me at the house? And you guys can just continue on.”

So then I came home from the party and she was standing at the door with the test and it was a strong-ass plus sign.

Strong plus sign, like it’s punching through the screen.

[laughing] Yeah. You could feel it. It was like braille.

And then it instantly shifted the way I toured, instantly shifted the way I performed, how I accepted shows.

I was passing up so many gigs, because it was like, ‘I’m just in love with this little guy.’ But then it got to a point where, financially, I needed to start taking shows again.

But the thing was, I just filmed the special “Intellectual Property,” so I hadn’t been out enough to turn over new material and truly test it. So I started riffing a lot on stage. I’ve always been quick on my feet, but the crowd work element of my stand up, the fast and loose stuff, it really grew out of me becoming a father.

And now that’s probably what I’m known for the most. Like, if you talk to comics in the Baltimore-DC area, all of them go, “Weems just goes off the top of his head, he just riffs it. He just comes out of thin air.”

 

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And you can tell a lot from your material that you’re a dad who’s involved. Like, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of overlap when it comes to bathroom material and kid material. I think a lot of parents would have that Venn diagram, too. Toilets and showers and bath time… there’s always a story.

Right. I mean, there are just so, so many things can go wrong when you’re washing a little person. Or when you send a little person into a bathroom alone, you don’t know what’s going to come out. It’s always a gamble.

There’s a sentence in your special where you’re talking about giving your boys a bath and you say, quote “nut crumbs… butt crumbs… armpit juice… and piss.”

Right, it’s a good summary of boys in general.

Have any of your boys manifested that entertainer gene yet? Has that been passed down through your bloodline?

All of them…

Oh no.

It’s like The Wayans Brothers. Like straight up, these kids are so talented. Our oldest is eight turning nine, yet the level of humor that he possesses is easily that of a 14 to 16-year-old. I swear, he’s coming for my position.

Yeah, I’d totally feel a little threatened.

Now, the other two, they’re hilarious. I have twin six-year-olds. So the youngest twin is younger by a minute. He’s the most flamboyant and like really out there and he wants to dance on stage and be in front of people. And he has that real kind of firecracker type of humor.

My other twin, little quieter, his stuff is more, he’ll slip in something real quietly under a conversation. Like, me and my wife will be talking, but you hear him say something like [quietly, under breath] “I would have done that…” Like just real quiet.

Ooh, like a little sarcastic dagger.

A little dagger, yeah. Also, things lined up and my kids are in this special! Like physically you see them when the special ends. My wife, my parents are sitting front row and my mother-in-law, people I went to college with and high school. So it’s almost like a block party.

Yeah. It feels like a homecoming. A love letter to Baltimore.

It’s beautiful. Truly a love letter to Baltimore.


You can check Jason’s new comedy special “Unknown” here on Amazon Prime.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan Announces His Retirement…From Fatherhood

Jim Gaffigan Announces Retirement
(Facebook/CBS Sunday Morning)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan took to CBS on Father’s Day to announce he was retiring from “the hardest and worst job he’s ever had,” being a dad. You know how dire it’s become when he mentions how it’s even worse than dealing with internet commenters that don’t care for his appearances on the show. After 14 “thankless” years as a father, he’s officially out.

Because it’s 2019, and every joke has to be explained, he IS being sarcastic. Although, you could be forgiven for being unsure at the start of the video. After all, this is the same comedian who has some fairly consistent views of being a parent:

Parenting is a cult. And as a cult member, you can try to explain it to other people, but we just appear like lunatics.”

“The hardest part of parenting is when I’m with my kids.”

“You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.”

I used to wonder why I had hair on my legs, but now I know it’s for my toddler sons and daughters to pull themselves up off the ground with as I scream in pain.”

Of course, he can’t really retire, because talking about his kids is his primary source of income. Without being a dad, his bestselling book, “Dad is Fat,” just becomes…”is fat” and there’s no honor there. Plus, he’d have to get rid of some of his best jokes.

Stand-up Dad of the Week: Nate Bargatze [WATCH]

Stand-up Dads: Nate Bargatze
(YouTube/Link TV Instagram/natebargatze)

Every week we showcase a talented stand-up comedian whose jokes clearly indicate that he’s married… with children.

Usually, you try very hard to keep your baby from crying. Parents often have Vietnam-esque flashbacks to the days of hour intervals of sleep punctuated by the piercing screams of a newborn. But, there is one time you want your baby to cry.

Comedian Nate Bargatze is one of the best comedians you (maybe) haven’t heard of. He cut his teeth in New York, both his comedy albums (Yelled at by a Clown/Full Time Magic) were in the Billboard top ten, but the Nashville comedian is best known for his Netflix half-hour special and his late night performances on Conan and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

 

Both of his albums are terrific, as is his Netflix half-hour. Check them out, find him at a live show, like him on Facebook and make yourself happier by filling your life with more laughter.

This late night set on The Tonight Show about running into his wife’s ex-boyfriend, taking his daughter to Disney World, helping with homework, and going back in time is an outstanding place to start.