Sting Of Murphy's Jokes Linger
With Eddie Murphy's Dreamgirls performance earning Oscar hype, a letter writer to San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter reminds an eager gay audience that during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Murphy's routine contained lots of cruel jokes:
I'm sure that many of the B.A.R. 's readers are old enough to remember that in 1983, as the AIDS epidemic was ravishing San Francisco, New York, and other gay "centers," as many of us watched and ached with horror and fear as friends around us dropped like flies from the disease, Eddie Murphy was making untold millions of dollars with his stand-up "comedy" routine which prominently featured endless AIDS "jokes."
When he was confronted in an interview in Rolling Stone magazine about the controversy surrounding his routine and his refusal to change it, Mr. Murphy replied, "If the faggots don't like it, they can kiss my black ass!" (As a side note here, in my letter to Rolling Stone, published a couple of issues later, I offered, "Kiss your black ass, Eddie? Sure! As soon as you get your head out of it!")
Every gay person who considers going to see Dreamgirls should first consider that some part of their $10 admission will end up in the pocket of this ignorant, homophobic, racist head-in-ass idiot who thinks that the suffering and deaths of "faggots" is appropriate fodder for "comedy."
Yes, Dreamgirls is on its way to San Francisco.
And I am telling you, I'm not going. You shouldn't either.
I had forgotten all about that and it had infuriated me at the time. In 1987, I was working for AMC Theatres during the run of Murphy's smash concert movie Raw, and it used to sicken and enrage me to witness my customers hooting and pumping their fists in the air during those jokes. Maybe all those tranny hookers he's been giving rides to have changed his mind? I'll have to think about this.
Related: Here's a fascinating look at those days: The Plague Goes Public.