In July 1976, Jerry Seinfeld and Eddie Murphy were rising comics, launching their stand-up careers at the Comic Strip in New York City. In fact, the two started at the famed comedy club the same week.
“[Seinfeld] was always the funniest. He had his show down, he was polished, he had it all down before everybody,” Murphy recalled on Wednesday night at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. “You had it together as a person too. You were the first comic to have a nice car. I remember he had got a Saab…and we were all on the side, like ‘He bought this with jokes.’”
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The pair, who united for an event to celebrate Murphy’s appearance on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” have come a long way since gushing over a Saab. Murphy is Seinfeld’s guest for the Season 11 premiere of his car and coffee talk show. Though Seinfeld has booked an impressive array of comics and celebrities for the Netflix series over the years — including former president Barack Obama while he was in office — convincing Murphy to ride along was still a big get.
“To me, that’s the fun thing …just to be with him for the day. That’s why I do [the show],” Seinfeld told the audience during a candid conversation led by “AM Joy” host Joy-Ann Reid held after the episode screened. “There’s an air in the room with comedians, right? The air changes….That was the most addictive thing to me about entering this world.”
In the episode, the two riff about everything from growing up in New York and the first time they learned they could made people laugh. Murphy also performs impressive array of impressions and explains why he hasn’t done more stand-up in recent years. Murphy even revealed his complicated and competitive history with Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby as he rose to stardom. During the conversation on stage, Seinfeld offered his take on why Murphy’s success was a threat to fellow comedians.
“What happened to you, happens to nobody. Your fame and your power and your intensity was so explosive [that] it scared everybody, because nobody had ever seen anything like that happen before or since really,” Seinfeld explained. “That kind of thing only happens once every 50 years, 100 years. It’s very, very rare.”
Also rare is such a splashy appearance from Murphy. The actor has limited his film roles in recent years, last seen in 2016’s “Mr. Church” and 2012’s “A Thousand Words.” But the comic is currently gearing up for up for sequel “Coming 2 America, which is set to hit theaters in August 2020, amid rumors of a “Twins”-follow up titled “Triplets” and “Beverly Hills Cop 4.” The special event also featured a first look at Murphy’s upcoming portrayal of Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix biopic “Dolemite Is My Name,” pleasing both the audience and the star, who was also viewing the trailer for the first time.
Toward the end of the evening, Reid asked the comedians what’s still on their professional “bucket lists,” to which Murphy replied: “I want to get some more laughs, I want to keep being funny.”
The Wednesday night gust list included Bill Maher, Neal Brennan, Sebastian Maniscalco, JB Smoove, Yvette Nicole Brown, Fortune Feimster and Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.
Season 11 of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” debuts July 19 on Netflix. It features Murphy, as well as Seth Rogen, returning guest Ricky Gervais, Matthew Broderick, Jamie Foxx, Martin Short, Mario Joyner, “Saturday Night Live” player Melissa Villaseñor, Bridget Everett and Barry Marder.