The Interesting Relationship Between Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson

It Really Confused Me For Years

Deante L. Young
5 min readDec 30, 2020


Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy at the 16th annual AMA’s in 1989.
Jim Smeal/

Without question, two of the biggest and most globally popular and successful figures of the 1980’s were comedian and actor Eddie Murphy and singer/dancer Michael Jackson.

I was a massive fan of both men, and I still am. But one thing that really confused (and later delighted) me was the relationship between those guys. Here is a list of their history together (as I saw it).


  • On August 17, Murphy, then a 22 year old superstar cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, performed a now iconic stand up routine that was filmed for broadcast on HBO. The flick, Eddie Murphy: Delirious, recorded at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. was hilarious and raunchy, but Murphy imitated Michael during the routine (I was personally offended when I eventually screened the film). It seemed that he was making fun of MJ, which was a no-no in my book.
  • On November 14, Michael Jackson’s now seminal short film, Michael Jackson’s Thriller made its theatrical debut at the Crest Theater in West Hollywood, California in order to qualify for a possible Academy Award nomination. After the 13 minute classic ended, Murphy (who was one of the luminaries in attendance) stood up in the theater and demanded that it be played once more.


  • On December 1, Murphy’s third consecutive successful film, Beverly Hills Cop was released in L.A. and features a scene during which the 23-year old rising star’s character Axel Foley passes two guys on the street wearing replicas of MJ’s famous “Thriller jacket.” Upon seeing them, Murphy’s Foley chuckles. In another scene, Foley lies to a hotel official by telling him that he was in town “to do an interview with Michael Jackson.”


  • In October, Murphy shot his legendary concert film, Eddie Murphy: Raw in New York City. The profanity laced film features an extended bit about MJ which definitely angered me at the time. In the bit, the 26-year old comic legend details a supposed phone call that he received from an angered Michael, whom he said weighs “a buck oh five” and that he’d “bust that ass off Mike.” He then mocks Jackson’s…



Deante L. Young

Personal Development Writer | Deante Unlimited podcast, Host | Deante: Under Construction web series, Star | Deante Young Enterprises, Chief Creative Architect