Russell Brand to Eddie Murphy: 'Have all the Spice Girls, for all I care'
Spike TV's "One Night Only" homage to Eddie Murphy Wednesday night was mostly tribute, with Murphy friends and colleagues like Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, Adam Sandler, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Tracy Morgan, and Russell Brand singing the actor's praises as a comedian and Hollywood icon.
But there were also a few roastlike elements to the show as those who know Murphy best, and some who are simply famous fans of the star, took some gentle jabs at him.
Brand, who's never worked with Murphy and revealed that he'd only recently met him, drew the night's biggest laughs from Murphy himself when professing that he grew up with the "Beverly Hills Cop" star as one of his comedy heroes.
"I would forgive you anything, even as an Englishman … have all the Spice Girls, for all I care. Line 'em all up! There's not enough Spice Girls in the world [for you]," Brand joked, referring to Murphy's very public relationship and paternity battle with Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Murphy is the father of Brown's five-year-old daughter, Angel).
A recurring theme among many of Murphy's pals was the comedian's trademark leather suits, which led Brand to deem him "the Rosa Parks of leather trousers."
"Not one comedian can tell you they didn't look at Eddie Murphy and want to be like him," Jamie Foxx said. "Eddie Murphy did something that no other comedian did … Eddie Murphy told jokes so good he started looking sexy."
Added Chris Rock, "I met Eddie at the Comic Strip; he saw me perform … I met the real Eddie Murphy. I didn't meet Dr. Dolittle, OK? I met Eddie Murphy in a leather suit, like a green-lizard leather suit, with boots on. People think he used to just wear that doin' standup … (he) used to walk around with that … in Kmart."
And Morgan took the stage at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills wearing a knockoff of Murphy's famous red leather suit from his "Delirious" comedy special, while noting his own less-trim physique in the suit.
"I also walked in his shoes at 'Saturday Night Live' as a cast member," Morgan said. "And I felt honored to walk the same hallways as Chris Rock and Eddie. If it wasn’t for those guys … they held the door open for me, so I love them so much, and they mean a lot to me."
Samuel L. Jackson thanked Murphy for giving him one of his early movie roles -- playing a thief in "Coming to America" -- and noted that, since Murphy's character beat his character up in the film, he hoped maybe they'd co-star in a "Star Wars" movie one day.
"So I could pay him back with a lightsaber," Jackson joked.
And Wayans shared a story to illustrate how his longtime pal is as cool in real life as the characters he plays onscreen."Here in Hollywood, we'd go out to clubs. And it's different now, but back in the day, they wouldn't let brothers in clubs. They had, like, a two-brother maximum and that was it," Wayans said. "And I remember, we went to this club in Hollywood, and there were about 10 of us. And the bouncer was like, 'Sorry, I know you're Eddie Murphy, but I can't let all of you in. I'll tell you what, I'll let four of you in.'
"Eddie said, 'OK … one, two, three, four … you all go in, tell every fine girl there I'm having a party at my house.' And he left. And 10 minutes later, the whole club left. We went back the next week and there were 20 of us, and he let us all in."