From the outside looking in it would appear that after over 20 years in the business Charlie Murphy finally has it all. Probably best known from his work on Chappelle’s Show, (and especially his hilarious recollections of ’80s run-ins with Rick James and Prince in the skits, ‘Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,’) the 50-year old’s career is definitely percolating. Murphy is perfecting a new standup act that has him booked on the road through 2011; he has an autobiography, The Making of a Standup Guy, in stores now as well as a hit DVD standup concert film, Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize. Charlie is also on TV as one of the featured voices on The Boondocks and has a new summer movie, Lottery Ticket, starring Bow Wow, Naturi Naughton and Ice Cube, which hits theaters August 20th. But personally, the father of four is also rebounding from devastating tragedy; he lost his wife of 12 years, Tisha Taylor to cancer in December 2009.
To date, comedy audiences may have a glimpse of how funny Murphy is, but with his full media assault (books, film, TV and stage) Charlie Murphy now wants to reintroduce himself to the world. He’s out to prove he’s more than Chappelle’s Show, more than just Eddie Murphy’s older brother, he’s a comedic force in his own right. He spoke to VIBE about the passing of his wife, why he’s earned the right to write his autobiography and possible future collaborations with Eddie.
—Ronke Idowu Reeves
VIBE: We were extremely sorry to learn about the death of your wife Tisha. How are you and your family doing?
Charlie Murphy: I’m not okay; you’re never really okay you just learn to live with it. That’s something monumental, losing somebody that close in your life. It happened to my children, and me you don’t get used to and you don’t get over it.
What keeps you going and gets you through the days?
I have responsibilities as a man to other people—I have children. Okay, you can be hurt but you’ve still have to do what you’ve got to do and take care of your responsibilities. I didn’t have a luxury of taking a year off. I’ve been baking this [career] cake for a minute and taking a year off will really cool it off a lot. So I couldn’t do that, I had to follow thru with what I’m doing [my work.] And now I’ve been blessed with the ability to do it and God has been working with me and family. Has it been a baby’s ride? No, but we’re okay. As a man, if you lose your wife it’s a horrible experience especially with kids. But when one person passes away and you’re still alive, people still depend on you—that’s what you have to lean on.