Last night, 11/19/2013, was one of the better nights in the annals of late night talk show history. Two of the funniest men alive, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were reunited on the Arsenio Hall Show. Arsenio Hall frequently had Eddie Murphy on as a guest during the first incarnation of the Arsenio Hall Show more than 20 years ago. They were flying high at the time, riding the waves of success. Murphy, clad in a fitted red leather creation, was steaming up big screens around the country in the stand-up comedy movie “Raw”. Together the men had audiences rolling in the aisles with movies like “Coming to America” and “Harlem Nights”.
Flash forward and there they were last night, discussing the 25th anniversary of “Coming to America”, and teasing about a possible sequel. I saw many comments on Facebook saying how remarkably well and fit both of them looked after all of these years. The show opened up with a video of Eddie Murphy in a video performance of “Red Light”. Murphy was singing lead and strumming guitar in the Reggae-styled tune, with Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) lending some smooth raps.
The whole interview was good, but two segments were downright hilarious. In the first one Hall recounted the story of how years ago he got Murphy to drink some screwdrivers at a house party. The problem was that Murphy did not (and still does not) drink alcoholic beverages. Hall said that with a houseful of guests, Murphy was so drunk that he was on the kitchen floor talking to a dog named Val and saying, “Val you’re the only one I can trust”.
The second crazy story involved Murphy telling about how he had actually been sued by an African prince after the movie “Coming to America” came out. Apparently the African prince said that he had come to America in search of meeting and pursuing the actress Ola Ray, star of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. He accused Murphy of stealing his life. Murphy had the audience in stitches imitating (with flailing arms and high-pitched African dialect) the guy screaming “You stole my life. I want it back!”. You can read all about it here.
The only criticism I have been reading about was that the segments were too short and the commercials were too long. Judging from the crowd’s reaction last night, 25 years has been long enough and we were ready to see these two do more movies, more television, more anything as long as it is together. In an age where show business friendships are often discarded as quickly as yesterday’s shoes, there’s something that warms the heart when you see long-lasting friendships. And in this harsh economic climate during which many people are looking for reasons to smiles, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall gave us just that last night.