EDDIE MURPHY: DELIRIOUS
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Eddie Murphy
Director: Bruce Gowers
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: See Review
Length: 70 Minutes
Release Date: February 6, 2007
“You don’t even have to be able to talk to sing and get famous, cause James Brown’s been singing twenty years. I don’t know what the f*ck James is talking about.”
When we at DMC do our Top Picks at the end of every year, you may notice a little section called “I’m So Glad This Made DVD”. With each progressing year, I’m finding it more and more difficult to mention titles in this category. The reason for that is more and more films and television specials that came out in the pre-DVD era have made it onto the format, at least a great many of the titles I’ve waited to be released.
But much to my surprise I already have one huge title to mention in the category when we do our Top Picks at the end of this year, the groundbreaking stand up comedy concert TV special, Eddie Murphy: Delirious. I had actually given up hope on this making it to DVD ever since Eddie Murphy: Raw came to DVD more than two years ago. I thought, if Delirious wasn’t going to be released in an around the release of Raw, it may as well never ever hit the format.
I remember seeing Delirious for the first time as if it were yesterday. I was in my first year of high school and was with a group of friends who had it in the VCR one Saturday night. I had never laughed harder in my life at a single stand up routine. I already knew that Eddie Murphy was a comedic genius after seeing 48 Hrs., Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the many gut busting laughs that Delirious had to offer.
Filmed before a live audience at Washington D.C.’s Constitutional Hall in 1983, Delirious is a full on display of Eddie Murphy at his energetic best. His knack for flawless comic timing and numerous dead on impersonations is wonderfully captured in this gleefully vulgar stand up performance that then was ahead of its time and is still uproariously funny by today’s standards.
Who could ever forget the routine that Murphy starts the show off with; the perception of Mr. T as a homosexual. That classic bit is followed by an even bigger laugh when Murphy imagines what it would be like if Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners were lovers. Not only is Murphy’s impression of Jackie Gleason dead on, but the scenario is made twice as funny by the way Murphy lets it build up.
Many of the issues that Murphy tackles in Delirious couldn’t be gotten away with today in an all to PC climate. He makes fun of homosexuals and the AIDS epidemic, which keep in mind was a new threat then. Eddie pulls no punches in this routine and had any comedian done the same routine today, you just know they would’ve come under fire in a heartbeat.
There are two segments in Delirious that have always stuck in my mind from the first time I saw it. The first is Murphy’s priceless impersonations of an array of musicians including Michael Jackson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and yes even Elvis Presley! The second segment that gets me laughing even when I think of it is a phenomenon known as The Fart Game. Murphy’s personal experience playing the game in the bathtub as a child serves as one of the biggest laughs I have ever had!
If there’s anything better than Delirious, it’s Murphy’s theatrical stand up concert film, 1987’s Raw. That film is one I still label as the single funniest comedy concert film ever made. But Delirious should be just as appreciated as a groundbreaking piece of stand up hilarity. For one thing, to fully appreciate Murphy’s milestone bit as his drunken father in Raw, you have to see Delirious which has a similar bit.
And it’s because of both Delirious and Raw that Eddie Murphy will forever remain, in my viewpoint, as the funniest comedian of all time. If you want to challenge my opinion on the matter, then it’s clear that you need to experience Eddie Murphy Delirious as it has arrived on DVD in time to deliver gut busting laughs to a whole new generation!
Being a televised special on HBO in 1983, the live format is pretty much nothing too different from the VHS copy you’ve seen up until now. But hey, I expected nothing more than such, which is why for me the video presentation isn’t so bad. It is what it is, but you’re going to spend so much of the running time laughing hard that you won’t be wanting to concentrate on the picture quality.
The 2.0 channel mix doesn’t make for the liveliest concert experience on DVD, but that again is because of the age of the presentation. Murphy’s words are delivered in a clear enough form.
Included on the disc are two deleted scenes and a thirty five minute interview with Byron Allen which covers a lot of ground surrounding the classic concert performance.
If you find yourself either lonely or down on an evening with nothing to do, you simply cannot go wrong with Eddie Murphy Delirious, which will have you laughing harder and harder with each repeated viewing! A classic piece of stand up comedy that will forever hold a place in my heart when it comes to pure laughter.