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Eddie Murphy says past jokes about gay people make him ‘cringe’

Comedian stopped short of apologising, saying he was ‘a kid’ and the jokes were made ‘in the context of the time’

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 31 December 2019 16:47 GMT
Eddie Murphy says past homophobic jokes make him 'cringe'

Eddie Murphy has said that some of his old stand-up material that took aim at gay people makes him “cringe” now.

The comedian and actor, who hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this month, made a number of homophobic jokes in his debut stand-up special, Delirious, in 1983.

During the set, Murphy made jokes about Aids, used a gay slur multiple times and told the audience he was “afraid of gay people”.

Murphy released a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1996 after gay rights activists protested the comedian’s Late Show appearance while he was filming in San Francisco.

“Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about Aids in 1996 than I was in 1981,” he said. “I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year-old man.

“I know how serious an issue Aids is the world over. I know that Aids isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about Aids now.”

“Some of it, I cringe when I watch it. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I said that’,” Murphy told CBS in a new interview.

“I’ve seen stuff that I’ll go, like, oh, that’s, ooh, yeah, you’ll get a joke that’s cringey,” he added.

However, Murphy did not apologise for the jokes and said he looked at them “within the context of the times”.

“And I’m going, okay, I’m a kid saying that,” he said.

In September he made similar comments, telling the New York Times that his past material on Aids and the LGBTQ community was “ignorant”.

Murphy’s comments were made in the wake of a new Netflix special starring Kevin Hart, in which the comedian expressed regret for how he handled his own scandal surrounding past homophobic comments.

While Hart initially refused to make a full apology, in the series he admits he acted “immature” by refusing to acknowledge the hurt he had caused.

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