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Straight talk with comedian Charlie Murphy

Colette Greenstein | 11/14/2012, 9:17 a.m.
Comedian Charlie Murphy performs a stand-up routine. 3000 Eyes Entertainment

Simon and Schuster came to me to do, basically, a “True Hollywood Stories” book. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to tell my story. And of course there were some Hollywood moments revealed, but I didn’t want it to be a book about Eddie or my [celebrity] friends. I wanted people to know me, to understand where I came from and why and how I got to be where I am right now.

You’re known for rocking hats both on and off stage. How many do you own? Would you consider your own line of hats?

Wow. I don’t know. I never counted. Actually, a hat line has come up and we’re looking into a partnership for that.

You’ve been in the entertainment business a long time and have met a lot of celebrities and stars. Is there anyone you’ve met that you were starstruck by?

Starstruck? [President] Obama. I met him in an airport in Chicago. This was when he was still a senator, and he had this presence that was almost regal. I was impressed by him. [I] still am. He’s an incredible role model for young black males and for men in general.

Who makes you laugh?

My brother. Tracy Morgan. Chris Rock. Arsenio [Hall]. Martin [Lawrence], to name a few.

Who do you think are some of the funniest comics doing stand-up today?

There are a lot of funny guys out there and they’re all my friends. Eddie Griffin, Tracy Morgan, Katt Williams, Kevin Hart, Donnell Rawlings — I mean the list goes on and on.

You started doing stand-up when you were 42. Any advice for someone who’s starting out in comedy today?

Stay onstage. If you’re serious about this, you need to get onstage a much as possible. If you want to be good, stay onstage and study some of the greats. Develop your own voice, but know who came before you.

What upcoming projects can we look forward to?

We’re developing some TV show ideas and reading scripts for films. Meanwhile, I’m working on developing my online presence with my YouTube channel — CharlieMurphyTV1 via Shaquille O’Neal’s YouTube channel, Comedy Shaq. Look out for segments like “Charlie Murphy’s Rant” and “The World According To Charlie Murphy.”