Netflix UK review: Eddie Murphy – Delirious
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James Butlin | On 14, Jun 2014Reading time: 1 mins
Stand-up comedy is a difficult subject to criticise either positively or negatively. It’s based purely on taste and preference. It’s one person stood on a stage yelling thoughts and observations into the void. You have people who can be clever, loud or thought-provoking. Then you have people with so much energy and talent that nothing really matters – you just have to hold on for the ride. Eddie Murphy demonstrates this in Delirious, his debut stand-up special.
Filmed in 1983, shortly after his first movie (48 Hrs) and after his stellar stint on Saturday Night Live, Delirious captures Murphy in his absolute prime. There are a few unsavoury moments that through more modern eyes feel a bit dated and offensive, most specifically a long piece about homosexuality and AIDs, but once these are put aside, you are shown some of the best stand-up moments you’ll see in any routine.
There are note-perfect impressions aplenty – showing off his SNL chops – and it’s easy to see that Murphy is a huge star by this point, performing to screams in an audacious red leather outfit opened to the chest. He doesn’t need the applause but it only helps to inflate his ego as he powers through his set.
Two highlights include a skit on ice-cream trucks and one on farting in the bath. They’re not particularly clever pieces but injected with Eddie’s personality, they become gut-wrenchingly hilarious.
Coming away from such a controlled and exhausting TV environment, Delirious feels like an uncorking of Murphy’s talent; it helped to launch a strong film and comedy career for Eddie Murphy throughout the 1980s. Despite going through a fall from grace in more recent years, this demonstrates the best from the man himself, without resorting to 20 rubber faces and fat suits.