Three words: Red. Leather. Suit.
God forbid you don’t know who Eddie Murphy is, but if you don’t, the poor soul you would be, the most important thing to know about him is the suit.
Eddie Murphy started out as a comedian in the late 70′s, gaining popularity after becoming a cast member of Saturday Night Live in 1980. Toward the end of his SNL career in 1983, he released a television comedy special called Delirious, arguably one of the most iconic and hilarious sets of his career.
Murphy touches on topics such as homosexuality, the relationship between kids and ice cream trucks. and his own family in the special.
It wouldn’t surprise me, however, if people nowadays would feel uncomfortable watching it. Major networks would probably even steer away from airing it, simply because it’s become harder to find the line drawn between funny and offensive.
As a result, Delirious could easily be seen in today’s America as discriminatory towards race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and maybe even weight.
It wouldn’t have always been considered that way though.
America’s become more conscientious with each passing decade, continuing to perpetuate more positive sociopolitical change and equality. This is not a bad thing.
However, it’s hard to say that America has really progressed as a country if it’s become so apologetic and sensitive that it can’t laugh or take a joke about its past transgressions, conflicts, pains, etc.
And I’m not just talking about some asinine prick who says “I was just joking” after saying something really offensive. I’m talking about people who do comedy for a living, specials and writing and clubs and all associated acts.
This doesn’t just go for comedians, though. All forms of artistic expression are at risk for either real or potential offense, some of which are definitely valid.
However, the validity of any offense should lie within the true context of the content. If you understand that Eddie Murphy was a twenty-something black man living in the 80s, and if you understand the social climate of the 80s, Delirious probably wouldn’t be so offensive.
Delirious also wouldn’t be offensive for another reason, and probably the most pensive reason: you have found where the line between funny and offensive is drawn. Which, congratulations, because that’s an extremely important thing to know.
Comedy’s primary function is comic relief. It’s supposed to get you to relax. It’s supposed to help you realize that it’s okay to move past the things that have hurt you or that you have done to hurt others.That’s why laughter is the best medicine.
So no, Delirious is not just a comedy special. It’s a social marker, and it’s a reminder. Yes, we’ve come far as a nation and are much more sympathetic and conscientious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at each other and ourselves. Otherwise, can we really say that we’ve matured and moved on from our past?
Rant end. Oh, and here’s one more red leather suit pic.
You can never have too many.