It’s been over a decade since the Chappelle Show ended. How has your transition to doing standup comedy gone? It has to be a kick to prove people wrong, right?
It’s been a riot. It’s been fun. But all the people that have been wondering if I could pull this off and wondering if it was real, that’s human nature. Given the opportunity to do this I’m not going to make a fool of myself or besmirch my brother’s legacy. Before I started doing standup, I knew that I had what it takes to develop an act. I went down to clubs with not many people there and I just worked on it, man. A lot of my friends are comedians, so that part had a lot of encouragement, even though the shows were very caveman like.
You were pretty raw back then, huh?
I really was. Back then, I was able to get over because Chappelle's Show was so hot. A lot of people were coming out not because “Oh, this is Charlie Murphy, the funny comedian.” They just wanted to see Charlie Murphy, the guy that did those skits on Chappelle. So that brought them in, and then when they got there they saw that I was okay. Being okay was enough back then. But now 12 years later, being okay is not enough. If I didn’t develop into a real standup, I wouldn’t still be doing it.
Was there anyone on the road that you looked at and said, “I like what they are doing…I want to go that direction…?”
Nope. There’s no one on the road that I tried to pattern myself after. There’s no one in history that I tried to pattern myself after. Because one thing I was told that in standup you want to develop your own voice. There are other guys right now who are big names. They are not going to be around forever. I know where they got their whole shit from. It’s stolen…their persona, their tone…everything they do that people like is stolen from another comedian.
Anyone we know?
I’m not naming names. But they steal other people’s jokes. Eventually they are going to fizzle out because they never developed their own voice. Even if you get super hot you can’t maintain stolen goods.
Is Eddie your hardest critic?
Absolutely not. The audience is my hardest and best critic. I don’t perform in front of my brother every night. At this point I don’t even care what Eddie thinks [laughs]. When I go onstage at night there’s an audience of people there that came to see me. It’s not like I’m sitting there on a panel with Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Martin Lawrence. It doesn’t work like that. I don’t care what any of those guys think. I’m not being arrogant or disrespectful, but I’ve been around long enough doing this to now look at any of them and say, “I’ll eat you.” That’s what I’m in this to do. I’m not in this to just be one of the guys. I’m in this to be one of the best.
Can you talk about the stand-up special you have coming up?
I’m about to do my next comedy special this coming October, which will be a direct download. I’m just getting everything tight for that, and I’m doing it live. It’s going to be called Acid Trip, and it’s appropriately named. This is my second one…for all those who really doubted me they can ask someone, “Is this really happening?” Yes, it is happening. I didn’t sit on my hands to wait for somebody to do it for me. I did the work. Just log in and watch it all across the globe. It’s a Lex Luthor program…I’m trying to get a couple of million bucks in just one night and not split it with anyone.