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Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reveal the MAGA joke they cut from 'Coming 2 America'

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read
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When the long-awaited Coming 2 America premieres on Amazon Prime Video on March 5, fans of the 1988 blockbuster comedy will be thrilled to see many familiar faces returning, from stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall to father figures James Earl Jones and John Amos. But there's at least one thing viewers won't see. Speaking with The New York Times, Murphy and Hall reveal that one early draft of the script had a MAGA-related joke that they cut from the film prior to shooting.

The gag in question would have taken place in the Queens establishment that served as the location for some of the funniest moments in the original movie. After moving from the fictional African nation of Zamunda to New York City in search of a bride, Prince Akeem (Murphy) visits a nearby barbershop and makes the acquaintance of its staff and clientele, including eternally-bickering duo, Clarence and Saul — both of whom are also played by Murphy thanks to the make-up magic of Rick Baker.

Murphy will reprise both of those characters in Coming 2 America, and an early version of the screenplay — which was penned by the actor's longtime collaborators, David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein, as well as Black-ish creator Kenya Barris — would have exposed their surprising political leanings. "There was a draft where the barbers had on MAGA hats and it turned out they were Republicans," Murphy says. "But it wasn't because they were for Trump — they were Herman Cain supporters."

Cain pursued the Republican nomination during the 2012 presidential election, and briefly led the field before ending his campaign amidst sexual harassment allegations. He later became the co-chairman of Black Voices for Trump during the former president's 2020 re-election campaign and attended a Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla. last summer. Not long after that rally, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and died of complications from the virus in July. (The Trump campaign subsequently denied that he contracted the virus at the event.)

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy star in the long-awaited sequel, 'Coming 2 America' (Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures)
Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy star in the long-awaited sequel Coming 2 America. (Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures)

Ultimately, Murphy and his co-writers felt that the Cain joke wouldn't stand the test of time. "We thought it was funny but it kind of dates the movie if we do this," he tells the Times, adding that Baker's makeup, on the other hand, remains timeless. (Baker, who retired in 2015, didn't directly work on the sequel.) "We aged them up nice and good," he says. "They're supposed to be in their late 80s, early 90s now. Looking at the first one, I was amazed at how young we looked — the skin is tight."

Speaking of age, other dropped storylines from early drafts of the screenplay included casting Tracy Morgan as the son of now-King Akeem. "I love Tracy and he's the funniest guy in the world," Hall remarked. "But yo, Ed, y'all about the same age!" (Morgan still appears in the movie as the uncle of Akeem's actual son, played by Jermaine Fowler.) Murphy also says that he and the writers decided to deep-six a scene involving a pair of randy Zamunda goat herders. "[They] had a dispute over a goat, and it was very funny, but it culminated in, one of these guys [had sex with] this goat. It was like, uhhhh, we've got James Earl Jones in this movie — let's keep it all classy!"

Coming 2 America premieres March 5 on Amazon Prime Video.

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