Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show was arguably a blessing and a curse. It was definitely a plus for the cable network when the show outsold both Sex and the City and Friends, bringing in $4.5 million in DVD sales. But we all remember when Chappelle walked off the stage during a standup performance after one "I'm Rick James, bitch!" too many, heckled from the audience. Then less than a year later, he up and quit the show in the middle of production during the third season, citing the show was going in a direction he didn't agree with. And of course, a result of the show that fans will be forever in Chappelle's and Comedy Central's debt for, is the day they were introduced to the comedic hilarity of Charlie Murphy.
Don't get me wrong: Charlie Murphy did not just ride in on Dave Chappelle's coattails. Nor did he just use the name of his younger brother—Eddie—to find fame. He doesn't owe his recent success to anyone but himself. He's been working in "the business" since 1984, acting in a considerable list of roles: Harlem Nights, Jungle Fever, Martin Lawrence's Martin, to name a few. But these previous accomplishments pale in comparison to his work on the recently deceased comedy show.
Featuring his own unique and rollicking ability to retell a story, Murphy wrote the most recognizable sketch of the hit comedy show, "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories," which featured Chappelle as the much-too-frequently quoted Rick James—thus immortalizing Eddie Murphy's couch and Rick James' incomprehensibility. The parody of E!'s documentary series and its creator have grown to become such pop sensations that "Charlie Murphy" paired with "comedy tour" is now synonymous with "sold out." Therefore, make sure to secure your seat at the campfire this week to catch Charlie Murphy as he tells us another one of his stories.
Charlie Murphy at the Brea Improv, 120 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 482-0700; www.improv.com . Thurs.-Sun. Call for show times. $30.