Charlie Murphy, who sadly lost his battle with leukemia, was a man of many talents (comedian, writer, actor, voice actor, screenwriter), but most people will remember him as a cast member and writer on Chappelle’s Show. That’s where he shared his “True Hollywood Stories,” the artful — and hella funny — tales of celeb encounters he had while rolling with his little brother Eddie Murphy’s entourage in the ’80s.
When Prince died nearly a year ago, Charlie’s sketch about meeting the singer in 1985 was dusted off and reshared. “It’s when ‘Purple Rain’ came out and Prince was the s***,” said Charlie to set the scene. He went on to describe the rock star’s “Zorro-type” outfit — “it had the ruffles that come down the front, the big perm, a mustache that was just drawn on. It looked like something that a figure skater would wear.”
They were at a club and Prince — perfectly played by Dave Chappelle — approached Eddie, Charlie, and company to invite them back to his place to listen to music. Once assembled chez Prince, the singer declared the scene boring and asked his guests if they’d be up for a game of basketball. (Keep in mind Prince was 5-foot-3.) After a healthy laugh, they agreed and Prince had an assistant bring them some gym shorts before they hit the court.
But when Prince and the Revolution arrived on the paint, they were still wearing their club clothes. “You know what we’re going to call this? The shirts against the blouses,” Charlie joked. “And when I said that, this look came on [Prince’s] face. He ice grilled me. I’m looking back at him thinking to myself: What are you angry about? You know where you got that shirt from — and I’m damn sure it wasn’t the men’s department.”
But that was the last laugh Charlie had. He quickly learned that “this cat can ball.” He said Prince “was getting rebounds like Charles Barkley. … [He] was incredible. … It wasn’t even like it was close. It was a landslide victory.”
After the “Blouses” won, Prince took them back to the house and fed them … pancakes. And while the whole thing sounds unbelievable, Murphy ended with, “Who the f*** could make up that s***?” For his part, Prince — and one of his friends who was name-checked by Charlie in the sketch — confirmed that it really happened. The singer even used the image of Dave Chappelle dressed up as him on the cover of his 2013 single, “Breakfast Can Wait.”)
Even more popular was Murphy’s retelling of his run-ins with Rick James, who was again played by Chappelle in the flashback, but included cameos by the real Rick James. Charlie described the “Super Freak” singer as a guy who’d “walk up to any chick” at the club, “lick the whole side of their face,” and say, “I’m Rick James, b****.” That popular catchphrase was born out of that sketch.
For whatever reason, Charlie said Rick always liked to mess with him — and he wasn’t sure what started it. However, he said, “things escalated to the point where my man got too familiar and I ended up having to whip his ass because he would step across the line. Habitually. He was a habitual line-stepper.”
One time Charlie bumped into James at Studio 54, and the singer walked up to him and sucker-punched him. The ring James was wearing said “unity” and it left a mark across the funnyman’s forehead — for a week. Eddie and crew kind of laughed off the whole thing, but not Charlie.
While Charlie didn’t do anything right away, later — after he peeled off from his famous brother and friends — he paid a visit to James’s hotel room. Once there, Charlie knocked him across the room.
James called security, which didn’t really do anything because the men patched things up. They eventually smoked a peace pipe (or a joint!) — though the real Rick James adamantly denied that Charlie got the best of him.
There was a part two of the sketch: At a later time, James came over the Eddie’s house and tracked mud all over the carpet and furniture, which led to another physical altercation — this time with both brothers. Charlie described James having legs like “linguine” as he slithered out of the room to his limo.
“My brother — he’s a lot more compassionate than I am. He’s looking — the limo’s driving off — [and said] Rick really needs help. I was like, ‘Yo, we just gave him some help. Busted his f***ing head.'”
It ended with the real Rick James saying, “Cocaine is a helluva drug,” a line he had repeated several times throughout the bit.
Charlie contributed many funny sketches to the show, which ran through 2006.
Charlie, who starred in the current Starz drama Power as a prison guard named Marshal William, died from leukemia, his spokesperson told TMZ on Wednesday. He had been going through chemo when he died in an N.Y.C. hospital.
Read more from Yahoo Celebrity: