Campaigning With Charlie Murphy

Comic Sees Parallels to Election, Predicts Obama Victory

Against the backdrop of the presidential race, comedian Charlie Murphy is waging his own campaign. His “electorate” is composed of promoters and fans who often underestimate him and overlook his extensive acting and writing credits.

Murphy was an accomplished comedian long before his recurring roles on “Chappelle’s Show.” He has been on screen and behind the scenes for movies such as “Harlem Nights,” “Norbit” and “Paper Soldiers.” Starting today, Murphy will be paying a visit to the District at the D.C. Improv Comedy Club through Sunday.

Murphy, 49, shared his ideas about the election, challenges moving forward in his career and the sacrifices that he has made as a result of his successes.

The comedian, older brother of comedic actor Eddie Murphy, has been on the road for the last six years. One of Murphy’s complaints is that promoters fail to recognize his work ethic and don’t anticipate he will draw large crowds.

“The biggest misconception about me is that I’m not a true business man,” Murphy said. “These rumors spark from characters that I’ve played on television.” He said fans and promoters often perceive him as being much like the variety of characters he portrays.

As part of the New York native’s campaign to change that perception, he has been busy with new projects that have opened up opportunities for him to do shows as far away as Sweden.

The idea to perform in other countries sprang from his personal ambitions and the success of “Chappelle’s Show” DVD sales. Growing tired of hearing that his name wasn’t big enough, this challenge gave the comedian an opportunity for growth.

“It wasn’t just the U.S. that bought it,” Murphy said. “Everywhere where they bought that DVD, I’m doing a show there.” The shows have been well received, he added.

He also has several upcoming projects, including some sketch comedy Webisodes with Sony, tentatively scheduled for release in February or March, as well as a “Digging in the Crates” DVD with clips from past shows and previously unaired material. Murphy hopes to return to television if the right opportunity presents itself.

His busy schedule keeps him away from his wife of 15 years and three children. “I’ve been making a lot of sacrifices,” Murphy said.

The comedian often endures the stage for eight to 10 hours in a day to “perform for a thousand people and let them draw on your energy,” Murphy said.

Although he is often exhausted and challenged by his schedule, Murphy keeps his family as a priority. “I know what has to be done,” he said. “I know where I have to be. I understand what my responsibilities are.”

After his series of shows at the D.C. Improv ends on Sunday, Murphy will have a few days in Washington to enjoy what he predicts will be a Barack Obama win for the White House.

“I think Barack got it locked up,” Murphy said. He disagrees with John McCain supporters who claim that Obama is Muslim or has Muslim ties. Like Colin Powell was saying the other day, he’s not a Muslim; never has been one,” the comedian said. “But if he was one, what’s the problem? This is America.”