Be Kind Rewind –
Pass the Torch!
Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy are a fascinating study of just how different
two similar things can be. Both caught big breaks on television,
parlayed their comical successes into other successful ventures, and
helped break barriers for future African American entertainers. The big
difference between them comes in their comedic styles, and their
stand-up concert film titles perfectly sum up the differences.
Starring Bill Cosby
Directed by Bill Cosby
The meat of Cosby’s subject matter is family. He converses more than
performs, and that intimacy gives you the feeling that he is being ...
well ... himself. His stories span generations, and his style is such
that anyone over 12 can relate to something in his act.
I first saw this concert on cable with my grandfather when I was a young
teen, and not once were either of us embarrassed. Cosby uses only one
foul word (relatively mild today), but the context is so fitting to the
story that we both laughed hysterically.
Starring Eddie Murphy
Directed by Robert Townsend
And then there is Eddie Murphy, who also waxes about family as part of his
act. The difference is that while 12-year-olds might relate, Murphy’s
language might melt their ears. Thus, Eddie Murphy is ... well ... raw.
I saw Murphy on his Delirious tour, again when I was a teen,
and while my ears didn’t melt, I certainly wouldn’t have taken my
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