When Eddie Murphy’s classic “Delirious” stand up film came out it was easily one of the most bootlegged tapes of my youth. The film was one of the first ever HBO comedy films but I only ever heard audio of it until I got a bit older. I can’t even remember how I acquired the cassette tape of the film but I remember making tons of copies of the one I had for other friends. At that time Murphy’s comedy stylings were hilarious for adults and naughty fun for us kids. There’s no question that these bits were funny when the film came out. The question is are they still funny 25 years later?
It’s a simple set up, Eddie Murphy in a red leather outfit on stage in front of thousands of fans telling stories about his family, talking TV, and hitting other pop culture issues of the era. The brilliant thing about Murphy’s comedy in this film though is that it doesn’t lock on politics of the day or too heavily on pop culture. His stories focus more on his family experiences, things that are universal and stand up strong against time.
Some bits may feel dated to some younger viewers such as the classic Ice Cream Man bit. Younger viewers these days may not have ever felt the joy of chasing down the ice cream man with a hand full of change to get that cone or pop sickle or whatever. I will say that I still hear an ice cream truck cruising through my neighborhood in the summer months though so I may be wrong about that. Fortunately the pop culture references Murphy does lock into are so locked into the ethos that even younger viewers are vaguely familiar with the subject matter. For example Murphy riffs on Mr. T. Mr. T hasn’t done anything of relevance since the 80’s but everyone is still very familiar with who he is. Thanks to the VH1 show “I Love the 80’s” Mr. T has made a bit of a comeback and has even been appearing in World of Warcraft commercials along with William Shatner and Ozzy Osborne. Sure, some younger fans may have some trouble with the references to the 50’s show “The Honeymooners”. I was never a fan of the show but I was familiar enough with it to find Murphy’s jokes humorous.
I was concerned that I had heard these jokes so much in the 80’s that I wouldn’t find them funny anymore. Well, absence makes the heart grow fonder because I was rolling with laughter all over again throughout the entire running time. Yes some of the jokes are dated and of the era but the 80’s are hip again so suddenly many of the jokes are relevant all over again. Delirious is right up there with some of the best from Richard Pryor and Robin Williams (back when he was funny). Fans of real comedy should own this DVD.
The film was shot on video and it hasn’t aged well. The image is soft throughout the running time making fine detail impossible. Colors are just a bit washed out but having the colors a little washed out keeps the red in Murphy’s suit from blooming especially when he zooms back and forth across the stage. The video is completely watchable and it looks about as good as it ever will considering the source material.
The audio presentation here is your basic stereo option. There are no frills here but the dialogue, which is what’s important, comes through clean and clear. That’s about all you can say.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The two disc set comes packaged in a standard amaray case with a slipcover featuring a design based on the red suit Murphy wears in the film. The first disc just features the film with all of the bonus features on the second disc.
The Making of Delirious is a half hour featurette composed of interviews with Murphy and many of his contemporaries of the era or comedians that came soon after Murphy’s splash including Sinbad, Keenan Ivory Wayans, David Allen Grier and even Chris Tucker and Chris Rock who are two more modern comedians that site Murphy as a major influence on their careers. Murphy share information about the making of the film while all of the other interviews are more about the impact of the film on comedy. This featurette is pretty good offering some solid information from the era and about Murphy but at times it’s made up of two many clips just to complete one small thought.
The Uncut Interview with Byron Allen is much more concise and interesting. The half hour interview features Allen talking with Murphy about his comedy inspirations and about his career. These two featurettes together really offer a lot of fantastic information about Murphy and this groundbreaking film.
There are two deleted scenes available to check out as well. The first one is an exchange between Murphy and an audience member that requests his Buckwheat character from Saturday Night Live. And the second one features more interaction with the audience. They’re a fun watch but they are in really rough shape even having time code on them. Sadly these clips are the only new bonus features provided for this anniversary edition. The featurette and interview were both on Anchor Bay’s previous release of Delirious.
Eddie Murphy’s Delirious is one of the most influential comedy films of all time. It shows its age here and there but overall it’s completely solid and still really funny. Fans of comedy films should own this one.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 9/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 7/10
That Packaging and Bonus Features (Not an Average) 7/10
Overall (Not an average) 8/10