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Eddie Murphy says his old anti-gay jokes were ‘within the context of the times’

Nick Duffy December 30, 2019
Eddie Murphy addressed his early record

Eddie Murphy addressed his early record (Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Niche Imports)

Eddie Murphy has distanced himself from his old anti-gay jokes.

The comic had a decidedly homophobic start in comedy, with his 1983 special Delirious opening with a five-minute anti-gay rant.

The comedy special features Murphy insisting that “f***ots aren’t allowed to look at my ass while I’m on stage” before claiming straight men could get AIDS from their girlfriends kissing gay friends.

Eddie Murphy says he appreciates his old jokes ‘within the context’

In an interview with CBS, Murphy was asked about whether he still finds his old material funny.

He said: “Some of it. Some of it, I cringe when I watch. I’m like, oh my God, I can’t believe I said that!”

Asked if he was bothered by protests from the LGBT+ community t the time, he said:  “No. In the moment, you kind of was like, hey, it is what it is, you know?”

Eddie Murphy 'can't believe' some of his old jokes
Eddie Murphy ‘can’t believe’ some of his old jokes (Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images)

He added of his past material: “I’ve seen stuff that I’ll go, like, oh, that’s… [uncomfortable] ooh! Yeah, you’ll get a joke that’s cringey. But that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate it.

“I still appreciate it. And I’m looking at it within the context of the times, you know. And I’m going, okay, I’m a kid, saying that.”

Asked if he had regrets, Murphy said: “None whatsoever.”

Comedian: I am not homophobic and I am not anti-gay

Murphy has long since distanced himself from the content of the Delirious special.

He first disavowed its content in 1996, when he said: “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused. Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981.

“I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.

“I am not homophobic and I am not anti-gay. My wife and I have donated both time and money to AIDS research.

“I’ve had people close to me die from the disease as well. I don’t know a person who hasn’t been touched in some way by this disease.

“Everybody knows somebody who is sick. Black people have been hit harder by this disease than any other group of people on the planet.”

However, the comedy special still sometimes airs on TV and resurfaces on streaming platforms like Netflix.

When the special was added to Netflix UK in 2016 it received a string of one-star reviews from shocked viewers who were unaware of Murphy’s past in homophobic content.

More: Eddie Murphy

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