For actor-comedian Charlie Murphy, life after the unbelievable success of Chappelles Show is a beautiful thing. After all, it was his True Hollywood Stories sketches featuring retellings of his classic run-ins with Prince and Rick James that helped launch Chappelles Showfrom cable sketch series to comic cannon. His newest show on BET, We Got to Do Better, examines negative stereotypes in black America; it just premiered to a heap of controversy. We dialed up Murphy to discuss the show and his explosive stand up career.
New Times: Whats the goal of We Got to Do Better? Charlie Murphy: Well, its just to hold a mirror up to people and say, Hey man, look: Do you realize that this is what youre doing? Do you realize that this is the effect? Its about making people realize that we have got to do better. Critics say that the shows portrayal of negative stereotypes will encourage that kind of behavior rather than prevent it. Whats your take on that? Its all about context. Yesterday on CourtTV they were talking about the Michael Vick situation, and the whole time they were showing dogfights. If you take the story away from that and just show the images of dogfights, people wouldve been calling in from all over saying how horrible it was. But CourtTV had a point-of-view that said, This image is necessary for you to understand what were trying to tell you. And thats what We Got to Do Better is trying to do. Do you think the show will make a positive change in the Black community? Absolutely. I believe in peoples intelligence. There are a lot of people that speak to the general public with guarded tongue. The spirit theyre doing it in is, I have to talk down to these people because they cant understand me. Ill never do that. Im a common dude with a common perspective. Have you made any more True Hollywood Stories? Man, life is a True Hollywood Story with Charlie Murphy! Theres always going to be something crazy going on. My main thing now is stand up comedy. Im having a blast. Catch Charlie Murphy Friday through Sunday at the Improv Paradise Live (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Tickets cost $32. Call 954-981-5653, or visit www.improvftl.com.