CBS Sunday Morning‘s Tracy Smith sat down with Eddie Murphy following his return to television in a hosting role on Saturday Night Live and in the Netflix comedy Dolemite Is My Name.
Smith asked Murphy about his past jokes mocking gay people.
“When you watch that stuff, do you laugh? Is it still funny to you?
“Some of it. Some of it, I cringe when I watch,” he replied. “I’m like, oh my God, I can’t believe I said that!”
“People were picketing you. Did that bother you?” asked Smith.
Replied Murphy: “No. In the moment, you kind of was like, hey, it is what it is, you know?”
“Does it bother you now?”
Said Murphy: “I’ve seen stuff that I’ll go, like, oh, that’s, ooh, yeah, you’ll get a joke every now and then that’s cringey. But that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate it. I still appreciate it. And I’m looking at it within the context of the times, you know. And I’m going, okay, I’m a kid, saying that.”
“No regrets?” asked Smith.
In 1996, Murphy apologized for jokes he had made about people with AIDS and homosexuality, saying, “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused. Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981. I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year- old man. I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now.”