Stand-Up Sit-Down: Charlie Murphy

Hold up...does Eddie Murphy have a twin brother?

Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s older brother, has North Texan’s seeing double this weekend as he graces the stage of the Arlington Improv. Charlie is most commonly known for his role on the “Dave Chappelle Show” and appearances in Hollywood films like Ben Stiller’s “Night at the Museum.” This is Charlie’s ninth year doing stand-up but he has been in the entertainment business for over 20 years.

Murphy is the oldest of three boys and spent his childhood growing up in New York.

“I was a normal rambunctious little boy; but I’m the oldest, so living in Brooklyn as the oldest means a lot of responsibility following on your shoulder,” Murphy said.

The life of an entertainer was not necessarily a childhood dream growing up. 

“I don’t think anybody who’s young knows what they want to be. Every once in awhile you get that chosen elite who are in touch with what they want to do from a very young age and follow though with it and you can see that in a lot of champions that we have in different arenas of life. Most people figure it out as they go along -- and I’m one of them."

Along the path to his current career, Murphy has had a series of odd jobs.

“If you look at my life’s resume I’ve had all kinds of jobs. A lot of people would be surprised to find out that Charlie Murphy used to cut grass in a graveyard.”

After taking on some roles in Hollywood, Murphy’s humor was noticed by some of his peers in the industry. Then his stand-up career got its non-conventional start.

“It came to me as a dare. A comedian said to me 'I think you’re afraid of addressing an audience. You're funny if there is a camera on you and just a camera crew there; but let's take the camera crew out and bring in some regular people off the street and see if you freeze up, and I bet you will.' And I said, 'I bet you I won't. You know why? Because you don’t freeze up.' And even though I wanted to freeze up after that I couldn’t -- I had to walk the walk after that.”

Charlie and his younger brother Eddy found themselves on the doorsteps of Hollywood shortly after Charlie’s service in the military. He took note of the lavish benefits received by celebrities and producers in the field and got motivated to give it a try.

 “I thought 'What is he doing that you can't do?' then at the same time I was looking at it and thinking -- 'I wonder if I could do that' So I picked a pen up and started writing -- never looked back.”

The resemblance of the Murphy brothers is uncanny. Charlie has been mistaken for his younger brother Eddy many times in the past.

“I get confused for him a lot. But the problem is people think I look a lot like him when in actuality he looks like me because I’m the oldest,” Murphy said.

"Chappelle Show,” the former spotlight show for Dave Chappelle on Comedy Center, gave the elder Murphy an immense amount of exposure -- and gave him the artistic freedom he needed to mold his craft.

“Dave is one of the geniuses in this comedy arena. The environment that we worked together was a free environment -- not a lot of 'You can say this or you can see that' -- none of your material getting watered down. We were on cable, not network television. My humor and my comedy I produce are more for that world. I’m more like 'kids are in bed, turn on Charlie Murphy!'”

Murphy credits his success to all the mentors he encountered along the way.

“I’ve developed really fast as a comedian, not because I’m a genius, but because I’m in the company of geniuses”

Even though Murphy has had a series of odd jobs, his career as a comic is near and dear to his heart.

“Anyone that’s around me knows that I’m completely committed. This is not a part-time job. This is what I do. This is what I go to bed thinking about, this is what I wake up thinking about, and what I’m proud about throughout the day.”

As Charlie looks at how far he’s come, he can say with confidence that it was a product of persistence.

“Never give up. That’s a lot of people’s thing -- if you wanted your way and didn’t win, it's because you quit. The only way you can win is to not quit”

Charlie Murphy can be seen June 3-6 at the Arlington Improv. For tickets and more info click here.

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