A couple links related to two of the greatest SNL talents of all time.
Last week the Washington Post published this feature on Chevy Chase. There aren’t really any surprises in it for anyone who has followed his career. At age 74, you wonder how many more disappointing pieces about him are left to write.
After reading this, I noticed a link at the bottom to a feature on Eddie Murphy from about three years ago and immediately read it.
The contrast is stark. Chevy is a perpetual bomb of inappropriate comments and actions waiting to go off, a sad remnant of what was once one of the biggest stars in comedy. He always seems confused at why people have taken offense at his behavior, and moments later says or does something else that makes you shake your head. Eddie, on the other hand, was even bigger than Chevy, saw a decline in the quality of his output, and made a decision to step away briefly before reclaiming his career on his own terms, and in the process making some of the best work of his life. Eddie seems utterly confident and secure in who he is. And where Chevy is bitter about modern comedy, constantly disparaging modern practitioners, Eddie is still held in awe as one of the funniest performers ever. I love Chris Rock’s quote:
Comics usually talk about how much they need the spotlight, to be loved, to fill an emotional crater left by a terrible childhood. They are misfits and outsiders. Not Murphy.
“Comedy is not music,” says Chris Rock. “It’s a nerd’s game. And he’s got to be the only non-nerd I’ve seen be that funny. He’s like the quarterback on the football team. The quarterback on the football team is never funny, but this guy is.”