Shortly after Chappelle went crazy and moved to Africa, I worked on a movie with Charlie Murphy. I like to think we became acquainted to the point of facial recognition- not name, but I was confident if he ever saw me at a Trader Joes or in a prison lineup he’d vaguely remember me. One day, I was sitting at the Crack Bean, on Sunset and La Brea, when a dark figure with a large white smile walked in. He was rockin some sort of hybrid coat, red alligator and suede with a napped finish, that had to be comprised of at least 5 dead animals (Baller!). I walked behind him, grabbed him firmly on the shoulder, and trying not to sound too Caucasian said, “Hey Charlie, what is up brother?” When the figure turned around I realized I had just made an enormous mistake. The man standing before me was none other than his majesty, the real king of comedy, the raw diggity: Eddie Murphy! He paused for a second, looked into my eyes, and said, “that’s a first.” As we stood there, glaring at each other in awkward silence like an old couple dining at a Ponderosa, my brain was on overhaul, brimming with rejoinders:
1) Coming to America is my favorite movie. 2) Despite this faux pas, I don’t really think all black people look alike. 3) I never saw Norbit, but I wanted to. 4) I voted for Obama. 5) You should have won the Oscar for Dream Girls 6) I wish Scary Spice was my baby's Momma. Thankfully, before I embarrassed myself further, he broke the eternal silence, “You really know Charlie?” “Yea,” I replied confidently. “Well then, you probably talk to him more than I do, so tell him I said, hi.” I don’t know if this was a casual insult or a careful instruction, but frankly it didn’t matter. I had just conversed with one of my boyhood idols, the idol who taught me how to say "fuck" and wear gaudy clothing for attention. Then he shot me one of those ultra cool glances from Bowfinger, I mean Boomerang, walked out of the Crack Bean and got into a cream colored Nissan Altima with the hottest chick, with the largest deltoids I had ever seen (I’m pretty sure it was a she, but evidently he's been mistaken before).
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