Eddie Murphy’s 1983 stand-up performance Delirious made him a star, and to commemorate its 25th anniversary, Entertainment Studios has double-dipped and released a 2-disc special edition DVD set. Serious fans will love this excessive, knob-waxing presentation; everyone else will be no worse off for watching only the performance on the first disc and skipping the bonus material — mostly friend and interviewer Byron Allen and fellow comics/imitators swooning — on the second.
The hour-plus of stand-up says it all. Murphy, at age 23, had incredible polish and swagger (not to mention an unforgettable red leather suit), and the show stands as one of the five best of all time. His gifts as a storyteller are on vivid display, from recollections of his father getting drunk and asserting his domain to his uncle’s enthusiasm for summer grilling. The influence of Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby is obvious, and the undeniable strength of the set a solid tribute to both men. His impression of a gay Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton is still funny, even if his asides about AIDS and his naive and casual use of the word “faggot” is something that he and his bosses at Disney would like to forget.•••
Robert Newton is a veteran film critic and the editor of NorthShoreMovies.net. He runs the Cape Ann Community Cinema in Gloucester, and makes novelty records (as “Fig”). He believes popcorn should be its own food group.