For a good chunk of the '80s, Eddie Murphy was one of the biggest comedians in the world (possibly the biggest), and a strong contender for the funniest person on the planet. He released a string of enormously popular comedy specials, starred in a number of blockbuster movies (many of which still hold up today), and enjoyed the sort of success that most stand-up comedians can only dream of. He was a no-shit phenomenon. And then came the '90s. Murphy stopped doing stand-up and started headlining softer, gentler comedies. Over time, these projects took more and more of the shine off Murphy's star, and before you knew it, well, he had all but disappeared.
Recent years have found Murphy exploring a different side of himself. This resulted in a 2007 Golden Globe win for his performance in Bill Condon's Dreamgirls and a forthcoming Rudy Ray Moore biopic from Craig Brewer, and those are certainly interesting additions to Murphy's storied career. But for many fans, the real hope has been that Murphy might one day return to the stand-up stage.
And now, thanks to one streaming network's seemingly bottomless pool of money, it might finally happen. According to TMZ (a morally-bankrupt gossip site we might not normally pay much attention to), Murphy is currently in negotiations to headline a brand-new stand-up special for Netflix, one that would deliver unto him a $70M payday. That's 7-0. Seventy. Million. Dollars.
That sounds astronomical and it is, but it's also not outside the realm of possibility. Netflix has shelled out big money for standup specials in the past, including $20M each for Dave Chappelle's latest round of specials and a $40M payday for two Chris Rock specials. Obviously, $70M for one special is something else entirely, but it's not insane given Murphy's history and the pent-up demand to see him performing new material. This sounds precisely like the sort of thing Netflix would do...and who knows? It could actually be worth it.
Of course, rumors of Murphy's imminent return to the stage have circulated for years now, but this is the first time a rumor has come attached to a price tag, and with a buyer that has the money to back it up. Will Murphy finally make a return to the stage? Could anyone, even Eddie Murphy, turn down that kind of payday? Is TMZ completely full of shit? We're eager to find out.
In the meantime, we're keeping our fingers crossed. Stay tuned.