It’s not every day that Eddie Murphy does interviews, so when he sits down for one he has great stories to share. Ahead of SNL‘s 40th anniversary show and working on more Reggae music, Billboard managed to catch the iconic comedian and conducted a lengthy Q&A with him. From stories about Rick James to working on his own music and comedy, Eddie has seen it all. These are some of the most memorable moments of the interview, of which there are quite a few.
Eddie’s reaction to an old story where he swore he would never return to SNL:
Did I say that? That was a long time ago. The show hadn’t been around for very long compared to today and I’d probably only been gone for a few years.
But it’s at 40 years and that’s a really long time. SNL is part of my history. I got on the show as a kid. That’s the show I got known from. I watch it a lot now. Any type of feelings that I had 25 or 30 years ago — those are feelings from 25 to 30 years ago. Now I have an affection for it; it’s like going back to a college reunion.
Being on SNL gives you a unique experience that almost no one else has. It’s like Harvard for the comic actor. Think of every great comedian to come out from there — it’s crazy. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Every great comedian has hosted and almost everyone great in the music business has been the musical guest. There’s nothing like SNL and now it’s in the 40th year. I’m happy to be a part of that.
Did he hate Hip-Hop? No, he just was not as starstruck by it:
I never hated hip-hop. It became the new rock and roll. It became the biggest thing that Africans have ever done in the history of the Americas. Hip-hop put more black Americans on than anything before it. It fed more people. It allowed them to diversify into clothing lines and billion dollar headphone companies.
Will Smith was the biggest star in the world. He’s hip-hop. Black folks never had anything like hip-hop, but I already had my own thing when the hip-hop wave jumped off. They weren’t my heroes, because I was running with them.
His thoughts on the Ferguson decision:
I’m not surprised about any type of racial madness in this country. That’s as old as bread.
On being in Michael Jackson‘s ‘Remember The Time’ Music Video:
It was surreal. You know a surreal moment never gets lost on me. Even though I got known really young, I still know when I’m having a surreal encounter. When it’s like, ‘This isn’t just regular show biz.’
So I’m sitting there with this Pharaoh shit — and I’d been to a Michael Jackson concert before — but when you’re sitting two to three feet from Michael Jackson doing Michael Jackson, it’s a trip.
It was like seeing someone plugged into a wall socket — especially if you knew him and talked to him on a normal day. He was a frail dude until he does this Michael Jackson thing and then you realize the concept of a spirit world. He’s tapping into a deeper spirit. You know how like when you drink different alcohols, they contain different spirits — some make you want to dance, some make you horny, some make you want to fight. Or certain drugs bring out different spirits. Well, when I saw that, it was confirmation that the spirit world was real.
The full interview is here, and the SNL 40th anniversary show airs on February 15th.