Still some of the most howlingly funny stuff I ever saw in my life.
That, of course, is from an early installment of Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories, one of the standout feature skits from Dave Chappelle’s short-lived (2003-06) TV show. The Rick James sketch was always my personal favorite, but the Prince one before it was a scream too…and apparently, as Murphy always swore and Prince and James both later confirmed, it really did happen.
Secrets about Charlie Murphy’s true Hollywood story and pancakes with Prince — among the best Dave Chappelle sketches ever
The funniest sketch on “Chappelle’s Show” didn’t come from Dave Chappelle — it was a gift from Charlie Murphy.
Murphy, who died Wednesday at 57, spent years as part of an entourage around his famed younger brother, Eddie, amassing weird tales from Hollywood. And while most of his stories seemed too crazy to believe, the greatest one of all was the time Charlie learned how Prince not only had a great jump shot, but could cook amazing pancakes as well.
“I swear it’s true,” Murphy told me years later. “I swear every word of it is true.”
In the sketch, part of an ongoing series called “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” Eddie, Charlie and their friends meet Prince (played by Chappelle) and his band, The Revolution, at a party.
In November 2003, Marcus Bishop-Wright, a stand-up comic, landed a part in the sketch playing Miki Free, a member of Prince’s band. He arrived on the set the day it started filming. He didn’t know much about Murphy and they had never met.
“There was definitely an air of comedy royalty about him (Murphy),” said Bishop-Wright. “He seemed like this other version of Eddie, the street-cred version.”
The sheer absurdity of Charlie’s story made it tough to film without people on the set laughing,” he recalled. “It was really hard keep a straight face. Dave (Chappelle) was cracking up the whole time we were shooting, he would say, ‘Stop! I can’t believe this s–t really happened.'”
But there was Murphy the whole time insisting everything was true.
“I could even believe the part about them (The Revolution) arriving on the basketball court in those outfits,” Bishop-Wright said. “But the part about the pancakes? I kept thinking, ‘This is where it all becomes part of a comedy.'”
The sketch was filmed over a two-day period along with another “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” about the time he met Rick James.
Years later, Prince and other members of the band confirmed Murphy’s entire tale was true.
“The sketch didn’t even have to be written,” Bishop-Wright said. “The only stuff that was added were Dave’s little flourishes while being Prince.”
More from the real-life Micki Free:
Charlie Murphy wasn’t lying. Everything that happened in that [”True Hollywood Stories” sketch] was for real. We went back to Prince’s house after the club. It was 1985, and there was a bunch of girls with Eddie [Murphy], myself, Charlie—rest in peace—and some other guys. And out of nowhere Prince says, “Do you guys want to play basketball?” Me and Charlie and Eddie are looking at each other like, what the hell? And Prince goes, “Me, Micki, and Gilbert against you, Eddie, and Uncle Ray.”
We played three-on-three. I don’t remember if we changed our clothes, but I know for certain that Prince did not change his. He didn’t gear up to play. If anything changed beyond the blouses, it was his heels. Prince changed into some tennis shoes. All I remember is when Prince made that first shot, it was all-net. I’m looking at him make shot after shot, like, “What the hell?” Then at the end they really did make us pancakes—blueberry pancakes. And they were good! Hanging out with Prince was magical.
Oh, I bet it was at that.
I didn’t know Charlie Murphy was gone, I must confess; he died of leukemia in 2017, poor guy, at a too-young age. He’ll live on via his unforgettable contributions to Chappelle’s Show, among other performances, and forever may he rest. While we’re at it, here’s another Chappelle’s Show classic: The World Series Of Dice.
“Dis why black people don’t have nuthin’! Dis just what dey wan’ us to do! Yo’ mutha ain’t shit!” Too, too funny.