Lights, Camera, Action! That’s the typical call of attention for the start of something big in Hollywood, but on Saturday, November 3, 2012, the calls were for Hollywood’s African-American A-listers like Quest Love and The Roots, Anika Noni Rose, Holly Robinson Peete, Terry and Rebecca Crews, Jimmy Jam, Tracy Morgan and of course, the guest of honor, Eddie Murphy, who were blasted by paparazzi and press on the hottest ‘black carpet’ of the season. The crowd of stars gathered for Spike TV’s “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” in celebration of the veteran comedic genius’ decades of contribution to entertainment.
Spike TV left no stone unturned from the front door to the stage set, pulling out all the stops. From the moment guests arrived, their wish was the demand of the more than 150 wait staff holding choice top-shelf beverages and hors d’oeuvres fit for royalty. The who’s who was seated on the lower level with the guest of honor, who arrived with his new girlfriend carefully placed on his arm. The tall, blonde has been scoped as 33-year-old Paige Butcher, an Australian model.
While the new school Murphy lovers have enjoyed his success from his more recent films: The Nutty Professor (1996), Norbit (2007), Shrek (2001-2010) and Tower Heist (2011) to name a few, there’s the classic stand-up and late-night belly busting gigs that put Eddie Murphy on the map as a the lead architect of funny. We know them as the single-name performances that need no introduction: Delirious (1983) and Raw (1987). Through Murphy’s pure, unadulterated and funny-as-hell stand-up, the entire country – the entire world – took notice of a thin framed black man in the most leather ever seen on one person at one time, who made grown folks recite words like “Goonie Goo Goo.“ His choice of the purple and red leather suits became a must repeat among his fans, as told by friend Adam Sandler, who wore a red leather tux to his own Bah Mitzvah in honor of his mentor.
On the night of Eddie’s top honors, the Saban Theater’s black carpet held the presence of Murphy’s friends and family. Among the very special guests was Arsenio Hall, who is profoundly identified with Murphy in Coming to America (1988) as his trusty sidekick Semmi. Hall worked the carpet for over an hour, giving the press his latest and greatest. Hall presented a huge highlight during his roast-like presentation, spilling the true story behind the casting for his role as Semmi. Hall confessed to initially urging Murphy to give black actors a chance instead of using himself with costumes and makeup for different characters. When Murphy told him he would also be cast in several roles with heavy makeup, which meant more money for himself, Hall’s response was, “Let them [expletive] find their own jobs, Let’s do this!”
Other presenters of the night were actor Russell Brand, who’s off-color jokes about the King of Pop induced much-expected side-eyes, and smirks. Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, Brett Ratner, who gave his own ear-wrenching version of “Party All the Time,” also made appearances. Martin Lawrence, Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s brother) and Keenan Ivory Wayans took the stage to roast and toast the legend formerly known as Buckwheat (Saturday Night Live).
Among the VIP guests was Brandon T. Jackson, who will be starring as Murphy’s son in the upcoming TV sequel of the 80’s hit film “Beverly Hills Cop.” Eddie Murphy will be Executive Producer of “Beverly Hills Cop” the TV series.
One of the most surprising and special moments of the night was the impromptu performance of Murphy’s longtime friend Stevie Wonder. Murphy runs onstage for a dynamic duet of “Higher Ground.”
Murphy’s final stop wrapped in the press room, where he was asked about the possibility of a "Coming to America" sequel. Murphy hesitated then responded by saying [paraphrase] "Nobody would come see that (expletive). I’m middle aged. What? He gets divorced in that one?"
“Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” will air Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 10pm ET/PT on Spike TV.
To check out the photo gallery, click here.