At the end of July I wrote about how I hoped the upcoming comedy Tower Heist would be a comeback vehicle for Eddie Murphy. But you know what would make for a much bigger, much more impressive comeback? Hosting the 84th annual Academy Awards… and killing it. (But even if he were to bomb, the show would have to be worlds better than the disaster that was last year’s telecast, right? It’s a win-win situation!)
Murphy’s going to get his chance to remind the world how funny he is/was once the calendar rolls around to February 26, because it was in fact confirmed today that the ex-SNL cast member and stand-up comedian extraordinaire will be the emcee of next year’s big show. One of the show’s producers, Brett Ratner, who also just so happens to be the director of Tower Heist (along with the Rush Hour films and X-Men: The Last Stand), had this to say: “Eddie Murphy is going to bring it, that’s my opinion. He knows the meaning of the Oscars and what an impact it has globally. He’s going to work really hard and deliver for audiences. That’s what he does. I’ve never seen him on a stage, before a crowd, not be funny. That’s what he does. He makes people laugh. Don’t underestimate a genius. Eddie’s not a star by accident.”
I definitely agree that Eddie used to be a genius… but it’s just so darn hard to get past the likes of Norbit and The Nutty Professor and The Adventures of Pluto Nash and The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and… well, I’ll stop. But you get my point.
Obviously there’s a good chance that Murphy will go above and beyond to bring the funny precisely because his reputation has taken a hit over the past several years. As I said before, yes, his “Donkey” from Shrek was hilarious, but that’s not the same thing as seeing the guy in the flesh.
If I had to make a call right now, before seeing Tower Heist, I’d bet that Eddie will end up being a great host. He’s got a lot to prove, he’s motivated, lots of people are rooting for him, and he’d be a welcome change from last year’s “hyper trying-too-hard chick and doesn’t-wanna-be-here stoner” snafu.
What do you think? Does this news make you more likely to tune in on February 26?