Release dateNovember 25, 1987 (1987-11-25) (United Kingdom)
December 18, 1987 (1987-12-18) (United States) WriterEddie Murphy (stand-up material), Eddie Murphy (opening sketch), Keenen Ivory Wayans (opening sketch) CastEddie Murphy (Himself), Tatyana Ali (Eddie's Sister (sketch)), Billie Allen (Eddie's Aunt (sketch)), James Brown III (Thanksgiving Guest (sketch)), Eyde Byrde (Mrs. Butts (sketch)), Michelle Davison (Thanksgiving Guest (sketch)) Similar moviesDave Chappelle: HBO Comedy Half-Hour, Bill Maher: '...But I'm Not Wrong', Paul Mooney: Know Your History - Jesus Is Black... So Was Cleopatra, Bill Hicks: Bill Loses it in Chicago, Paul Mooney It's the End of the World, Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong
TaglineUncensored. Uncut. Irresistibly....
Eddie Murphy Raw is a 1987 American stand-up comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Robert Townsend. It was Murphy's second feature stand-up comedy film, following Eddie Murphy Delirious. However, unlike Delirious, Raw received a wide theatrical release film. The 90-minute show was filmed in Manhattan New York City's Felt Forum, a venue in the Madison Square Garden complex. To this day, Raw is the #1 stand-up film of all time box office, making $50.5 million worldwide. The film was released in the United States on December 18, 1987.
The film opens with a pre-taped sketch depicting a scene from Murphy's childhood. At a family Thanksgiving in November 1968, the children take turns showing their talents to the assembled relatives (including one played by Murphy himself). Young Eddie (Deon Richmond) shocks the family with a rude joke about a monkey and a lion.
After emerging on stage for the live show, Murphy begins by discussing the angry reactions of celebrities parodied in his previous stand-up show, Delirious, specifically Mr. T and Michael Jackson, as well as homosexual viewers offended by his jokes about "faggots." Murphy then narrates a phone call he received from Bill Cosby chastising him for using profanity on stage. Angered by Cosby's assumption that his entire act was nothing but "filth flarn filth," Murphy calls Richard Pryor for advice. Pryor declares that his only concerns should be making audiences laugh and getting paid, and recommends that he tell Cosby to "Have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up." Murphy elaborates on his admiration for the "raw" comedy of Pryor, running through a routine from his own teenage years about defecation, in Pryor's voice. He then goes on to talk about how people who don't speak English only pick up the curse words in his act, and shout them at him on the street.
Next comes a lengthy routine about dating and relationships. Murphy explains that the rise of deadly sexually transmitted infections has motivated him to seek marriage, but the divorce of Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland (in which she sought 50% of his assets) has left him paranoid about the financial risk of marriage, concluding that "no pussy is worth $150 million." He mocks the aggression and materialism of American women (compared to the meekness of Japanese women), referring to the popularity of Janet Jackson's song "What Have You Done for Me Lately." He jokes that he intends to go deep into Africa to find a "bush bitch" who has no concept of Western culture... at least until American women convince her to stand up for herself and demand "HALF!" This develops into a broader warning to men to avoid "the pussy trap," and a warning to women that men never remain faithful — once a man has evoked a powerful orgasm from a woman ("ooohhhh!") she will tolerate all kinds of misbehavior, although she may pursue infidelity of her own.
The next segment narrates a childhood memory of his mother promising to cook him a hamburger "better than McDonald's," only to produce a disgusting "welfare burger," a lump of beef filled with onion and green peppers on Wonder Bread (while the neighborhood children show off their McDonald's hamburgers in a call-back to the ice cream segment of Delirious).
Murphy then talks about white people out on the town, criticizing their embarrassing dance moves, leading onto Italian-Americans being inspired by Rocky, then culminates to a bit about fighting in a discotheque with Deney Terrio, eventually starting a large-scale brawl after which "everybody sued me" for millions of dollars.
After the fight, Murphy calls his parents, leading to a long impression of his drunken stepfather (another call-back to a popular bit from Delirious). This final segment runs for over 10 minutes and incorporates his stepfather's habit of misquoting Motown songs (including "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", which opened the film).
The film contained the word "fuck" 223 times, setting the record for highest "fuck count" ever in a feature-length, theatrically released film at the time (surpassing Scarface). Raw held the record until 1990 before being surpassed by Goodfellas.
Cast (opening segment)
Eddie Murphy as Himself
Tatyana Ali as Eddie's sister (sketch)
Deon Richmond as Little Eddie (sketch)
Billie Allen as Eddie's aunt (sketch)
James Brown III as Thanksgiving guest
Edye Byrde as Mrs. Butts (sketch)
Michelle Davison as Thanksgiving guest
Clebert Ford as Uncle Lester (sketch)
Birdie M. Hale as Aunt Rose (sketch)
J. D. Hall as Party guest (sketch)
Tiger Haynes as Card player #3
Barbara Iley as Thanksgiving guest
Leonard Jackson as Uncle Gus (sketch)
Samuel L. Jackson as Eddie's Uncle
John Lafayette as Thanksgiving guest
Davenia McFadden as Eddie's Aunt (sketch)
Gwen McGee as Eddie's Mother (sketch)
Lex Monson as Card player #4
Warren Morris as Poetry reader
Basil Wallace as Eddie's Father (sketch)
Damien Wayans as Child running in the house
Ellis E. Williams as Eddie's Uncle (sketch)
Carol Woods as Eddie's Aunt
Kim Wayans as Interviewed fan (uncredited)
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times praised Eddie Murphy's stand-up routine.