Review Summary: Eddie Murphy delivers nearly fifty minutes of just pure, explosive and hilariously funny comedy in his second live album that was ahead of its time and deserves its place in classic stand-up comedy.
Eddie Murphy's entertainment career was certainly one on the rise to Hollywood stardom. A fan-favorite thespian and the one who revitalized Saturday Night Live in the early '80s after the original cast departed to pursue movie careers, along with being on his first film with "48 Hrs." in 1982. He also was a singer too, something that was pretty uncommon for comedians, frequently providing out background vocals to songs released by the soul group The Bus Boys. He would start out by releasing his first set of material, self-titled "Eddie Murphy" in 1982 which was a live album. It ended up becoming a huge commercial success, especially with the growing popularity from his skits on SNL and his on-the-rise acting career. The next year in 1983 Murphy would try to duplicate that success, delivering his second live album known as "Eddie Murphy: Comedian" which was recorded during a performance in Washington D.C at Constitution Hall in August of '83. This was essentially a 9-set record of skits covering a bunch of topics that he did during the August 17-18, 1982 performances that also was featured on the HBO special "Eddie Murphy Delirious", some of the subjects he covered were pretty controversial at the time like AIDS for one. There is no beats at all in this one, be warned this is straight-up comedy but it's delivered so well that it deserves plenty of recognition and goes down easily as one of the best early comedy albums ever released.
This record filled with skits from the D.C performance is pretty profane, with Murphy saying the word "f***" over an astounding 230 times and the word "s***" about 171 times. Eddie comes out exploding with his intro track "Faggots Revisited/Sexual Prime", touching on the subject of gay people and how he is scared of them. It is some pretty offensive stuff today especially with the American people embracing them with states legalizing same-sex marriage, but then it wasn't. It is comedy at its finest, with Murphy talking about how he was afraid of gays and later in the track wondered if Mr. T was one too, which is easily the most offensive yet funniest part of the entire track. He also intimidated Mr. T as if he was one, which turned out to be pretty hilarious itself. Murphy throws a fair bit of prejudice jokes at homosexuals, women and other races in this live album but if you can overlook all of that his jokes actually are pretty comical. Another standout track is "The Barbecue", which Eddie tells the masses a story at a barbecue when he was only seven years old. If you could name a comedy track that would stand out as one of the best of all-time, this one fits the bill quite nicely. He continues to build on his jokes on this one, as Murphy does the whole time in the live album. It never lets up, the raw, wild and crazy jokes continue to come out from Eddie and while the audience tries to recover from it, he again throws up another hilarious punch with incredible timing and accuracy.
Comedian never really disappoints, which is why this should be regarded as a comedy classic. Murphy does multple imitations of celebrities aside from Mr. T, doing ones of "The Honeymooners" stars Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, "I Love Lucy" costar Desi Arnez, James Brown and even one of Elvis Presley with Murphy singing "Lemonade.... That cool refreshing drink!". These imitations are nothing short of excellent, very fantastic stuff that Eddie did at the time. While some of the stuff Eddie covers is dated, it does reflect the turbulent times of the 1980's quite well. Eddie also talks about his childhood and early years, including also why he decided to become a comedian in the first place. It's some pretty neat stuff that Eddie gives to the audience, delivering a ridiculously funny look at his life and also telling some very interesting stories in the process. While the profanity can be a bit annoying after awhile, it does fit the comedy and therefore doesn't come out as just throwing profane language just for the sake of it. There isn't one track in this album that disappoints, continuing the machine-gun like style Murphy does throughout the performance: shooting jokes all over the place and delivering the next round perfectly timed.
Comedian is stand-up comedy at its best, you could never find guys like Kevin Hart that can even come close to comedy like the one Eddie Murphy put out. This surpasses any comedy album released after '83 by a long shot, even the Lonely Island couldn't catch up to groundbreaking stuff like this as "Comedian" was easily ahead of its time. Unfortunately Murphy's comedy went a bit downhill after this performance, which is pretty sad because this is the kind of stuff that comedy thrived on and the fans enjoyed it. If you're a Eddie Murphy fan this live album is certain to be the top priority on your list, and deservingly so, with jokes thrown so well and also so enjoyably funny that it is really hard to not listen to this stuff. It is definitely different from his 1982 self-titled record, as he did mostly a bunch of novelty songs in that one with mainly sub-par results but this one sets the tone for sure. While some of the topics covered like homosexuality and AIDS are a bit dated and may come out as offensive to some, but if you can find it in yourself to overlook that it ends up becoming really hilariously funny and that's what Eddie Murphy wanted to accomplish. As long as you can bear the immense profanity thrown your direction in this live record, you will be okay. His later comedy sets would never be able to touch this, as this is the side of Eddie people adored and admired so much but sadly it faded away. Fortunately for everyone you can either watch that entire performance on the "Eddie Murphy Delirious" special DVD or buy the "Comedian" live album to remind yourself of the genuine, well-dressed man we all know to be as Eddie Murphy.