Eddie Murphy has said he now ‘cringes’ at his old anti-gay jokes.
The comic had a decidedly homophobic start in comedy, with his 1983 special Delirious opening with a five-minute homophobic rant.
In an interview with the New York Times, Murphy said he regrets the “ignorant” jokes in Delirious and similar ones in 1987 special Raw.
He said: “I was a young guy processing a broken heart, you know, kind of an asshole.”
Referring to scrutiny faced by comics today over non-woke jokes, he said: “I went through all that stuff, so this is not scary… All this stuff they are talking about: ‘Hey, welcome to the club.’”
Murphy has long since distanced himself from the content of the Delirious special.
He first disavowed its content in 1996, when he said: “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused. Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981.
“I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.
“I am not homophobic and I am not anti-gay. My wife and I have donated both time and money to AIDS research.
“I’ve had people close to me die from the disease as well. I don’t know a person who hasn’t been touched in some way by this disease.
“Everybody knows somebody who is sick. Black people have been hit harder by this disease than any other group of people on the planet.”
However, the comedy special still sometimes airs on TV and resurfaces on streaming platforms like Netflix.
When the special was added to Netflix UK in 2016 it received a string of one-star reviews from shocked viewers who were unaware of Murphy’s past in homophobic content.
One says: “Homophobic crap! This needs to be taken off this site immediately. I was disgusted by it and couldn’t watch more than five minutes. Unfunny, homophobic rubbish!”
Another adds: “The most homophobic stand up routine I’ve ever seen.
“Can’t believe all the messed up things he says about AIDS, inclusing saying how you’ll catch AIDS from your girlfriend if she kisses her gay friend. 80s hateful prejudice in full force.”