Opinion: A brief ode to Charlie Murphy

Matt Poe

No satire today, my friends.

I’m starting to realize that the crazier the world becomes in reality, the harder it is to write something that rivals its preposterous nature on paper.

Actor and comedian Charlie Murphy died Wednesday at the age of 57 after succumbing to leukemia. Charlie, the older brother to actor and comedian Eddie Murphy, was lesser known to the entertainment world than his once-superstar brother.

That being said, Murphy always held a special place in my comedic heart and memory bank. He was most notable for being a key writer and performer on “Chappelle’s Show” during the early 2000s, where he played a variety of hilarious characters alongside Dave Chappelle and Donnell Rawlings.

“Chappelle’s Show” was, and is, still one of the funniest sketch shows ever made, albeit its short-lived career. I remember secretly watching clips of it on late night Comedy Central while simultaneously trying to avoid my parents finding out I was indulging in such profane humor.

Granted, these are the same parents who didn’t mind me watching “South Park” at the age of 11, so I doubt they would have been too mad in the first place.

A lot of “Chappelle’s Show” success is owed to Murphy. His “E-True Hollywood Story with Rick James” is still one of the funniest bits I’ve ever seen, and the same can be said about the episode with Prince. Murphy would poke his head into plenty of other infamous Chappelle skits, including my personal favorite, “The Playa Haters’ Ball.”

I encourage you to watch those bits and more, because they’re absolutely side-splitting regardless of how many times you’ve seen them. I loved those skits as a kid and still do to this day, even if I was much too young to understand most of the racial or social jokes that Murphy and the gang made at the time.

To this day, I can still find a ton of humor in those skits, especially the ones with Murphy. And while he did other works during his career that I have failed to mention here, I’ll remember him most for those.

Charlie Murphy made me laugh, and that’s one of the best remarks someone can say about another person. If anything, it’s one of the best things a person can be remembered for.  

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].