Eddie Murphy talks about that famous basketball game with Prince
The late Charlie Murphy told the story about the famous late-night game on 'The Chappelle Show'
Eddie Murphy has been on a promotional run for the sequel to his classic 1988 film Coming To America, this time entitled Coming 2 America. He stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Thursday, and during the interview, Jimmy Fallon asked about his experiences with the many legends he’s met in his career.
Murphy talked about making Richard Pryor laugh, and how iconic comedian Rodney Dangerfield once gave him bad advice about his future in comedy. Murphy told Fallon that Muhammad Ali was his personal hero and the “greatest African American who ever lived.”
But when it came down to his encounters with other celebrities, a basketball game stands out, even though no one involved played basketball professionally.
As recounted by Eddie’s brother, the late Charlie Murphy, on the fourth episode of season 2 of The Chappelle Show in 2004, Charlie and Eddie were hanging out with Prince at his recording complex Paisley Park in Minneapolis. This was sometime in the 80s “when all that androgynous s– was going on,” Charlie said.
“Prince was the s….,” Charlie remembered, as it was during the Purple Rain era when Prince exploded onto pop culture with the movie and hit soundtrack. “Prince had on a Zorro-type outfit,” Charlie added, saying it looked like “something a figure skater would wear.”
When the skit went what would be now be considered viral in the aughts, it permanently launched Charlie from outside of Eddie’s considerable shadow, established yet another Prince legend, and became one of Dave Chappelle‘s all-time most popular skits from the groundbreaking Comedy Central show.
Now Eddie, who counts Prince among the three geniuses he’s ever met, along with Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, tells Fallon his side of the story for the first time, adding a previously unknown element.
“That is totally and absolutely accurate,” Eddie says of the encounter his brother, who died of leukemia at age 57 in 2017, talked about on The Chappelle Show. “My brother was like, ‘Okay, it’s going to be shirts against blouses.’ The blouses won, they beat the s— out of us. We had one dude on our squad, Larry, who could play but he didn’t have no shoes, so Prince gave him some sneakers.
And Prince wore like two, three sizes smaller than Larry, but Larry was so excited to have Prince’s sneakers on, he put those tiny sneakers on his feet and he couldn’t do his game right. So we lost. The one dude who could play, Prince’s shoes had him shutdown.”
Well, at least the consolation prize was pancakes as Charlie said that’s what Prince served his guests after the ‘Blouses’ won the game.
Before his passing in 2016, Prince said that he loved the sketch. Chapelle Show castmember Donnell Rawlings told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 that it actually fostered a warm relationship between Prince and Chappelle.
“He thought it was hilarious,” Rawlings said about Prince’s response to the skit. “And I think [Chappelle and Prince] really built a friendship after that sketch.”
Eddie will reprise his role as Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America, which drops on March 5 on Amazon Prime.
He’ll be joined by original cast members Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, and John Amos. Other actors appearing in the new film are Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Teyana Taylor, Rotimi, Tracy Morgan, and Eddie’s daughter Bella Murphy.
Watch the full interview with Jimmy Fallon below:
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