This better be good

Spike will air an Eddie Murphy tribute on November 14th featuring Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Tracy Morgan, Arsenio Hall, Brett Ratner, Charlie Murphy, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Martin Lawrence called “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only.” I really hope it’s good.

The special, produced with Don Mischer Productions, will include short films, musical performances and sketch comedy — as well as an appearance by Murphy. It will chart his rise from a 15-year-old standup to a star of “Saturday Night Live” and such films as “Raw,” “Coming to America,” and the “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise.

This better be good

Alec Baldwin articles

NewImage Pic via Hamptons Magazine.

I noticed two long Alec Baldwin profiles pop up in the last month so I figured I’d put them in a post. Then I figured I’d try to find all the Alec Baldwin profiles, interviews, and longreads I could. Here are those two new stories, in Vanity Fair and Men’s Journal, along with all the others I found. I couldn’t find the full text of his Playboy interview, and I was surprised not to find any profiles in Esquire or GQ. If you find them or anything I missed, let me know.

Baldwin on the cover of the August, 2012 Vanity Fair.

As a college junior, Baldwin lost an election for student-association president. He learned, he now says, “when you draw the posters, draw more neatly.” As his political passion waned, his dramatic passion waxed: all those years of hamming it up at home began to exert a pull. Manhattan may have been a place that cost money, but as a teenager Baldwin had made it into town often enough to become acquainted with the theater. He vividly recalls a performance from his first Broadway show—John Cullum singing in the musical Shenandoah: “I’ll never forget watching a man onstage do that, a man move like that, and then the whole audience—I looked to the right of me, I looked to the left of me, the light in people’s faces … ” He was accepted into the drama program at New York University, and, on the long car ride from Washington to New York, Baldwin asked his father, who “wasn’t a chatty guy,” if the decision to transfer had been the right one. The answer was a question: “Do you have the things it takes to be a good actor?,” which the elder Baldwin went on to define as, above all, intelligence, ultimately declaring that he thought his son did indeed have what it took.

Baldwin in the July, 2012 Men’s Journal:

Though these days Alec Baldwin is probably best known as a television comedian, he remains a movie guy at heart. In his home screening room, there is a no-phone rule. You watch the movie straight through, without interruption, and the world goes away. As a young actor, like all of his peers, he wanted to be Brando, “in the back seat of that car with Rod Steiger” (he’s referring to the famous “I coulda been a contender” scene from On the Waterfront) or Pacino, whose career he obsessively studied, watching classics like Serpico and even misfires like Bobby Deerfield dozens and dozens of times. Now, though, looking back, Baldwin wishes he’d been more like William Holden – Baldwin says Bill Holden – who might not have reached the outer bounds of acting virtuosity, but who had perfect pitch when it came to both dramas and comedies, and was such a charming leading man, in classics like Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Network, The Wild Bunch, and Sabrina, that to Baldwin’s mind he certainly “reached the outer bounds of movie stardom.”

Here are the other long reads I found.
October, 1989. Interview Magazine.
April, 1998. Slate.
March, 2004. The Guardian.
April, 2006. Elle.
March, 2008. The Advocate.
June, 2008. The Guardian.
September, 2008. The New Yorker.
March, 2009. Departures.
November, 2009. Elle.
December, 2009. New York Times.
December, 2009. Men’s Journal.
March, 2010. Vanity Fair.
June, 2012. Fresh Air.
July, 2012. New York Times.
July, 2012. New York Times (VOWS!!!).

And the transcripts from 3 cool interviews on Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing. Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, David Letterman.

Alec Baldwin articles

Chris Rock interview

I would like to excerpt this entire Chris Rock interview, but I guess I won’t.

Q. So how do you strategize on your acting career, going forward? What are you looking for?

A. I’m actively trying to be in some good stuff, and mix it up and do some fun stuff too. But sometimes your fame gets in the way of what you’re doing. If you get the poster for “Good Hair,” it looks like a Tyler Perry movie. It looks like a big, broad comedy. The movie’s a success for a documentary, but the company that you’re making it with realizes that you’re really famous, and they don’t promote it like a normal documentary. They kind of get greedy. [He laughs.] And in the process of that greed, they overshoot. Not that there’s any more video stores, but if you went to any place that had DVDs, it’d be hard to find “Good Hair” in the documentary section. It’s next to “House Party.”

Q. Where does “Grown Ups 2” fall on the spectrum between good and fun?

A. This is fun and good. Dude, people love “Grown Ups.” I don’t care what the critics say. Who won the Academy Award this year? “The Artist”? Hey, “The Artist” was great. “Grown Ups” is better than “The Artist,” and it’s better than “The Artist” ’cause the audience says so. No film critic’s going to say it, but “Madagascar 3” is better than “The Artist,” and it’s better because it makes people feel better. That’s ultimately what it boils down to. Carrot Top’s better than Mort Sahl. Is he a better writer? Are we going to jot down Carrot Top’s prose 100 years from now? I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is, Carrot Top makes people feel better than Mort Sahl ever made people feel.

Q. Louis C. K., who is everywhere these days, is someone else you’ve helped out and collaborated with. What do you think about his ascent?

A. I feel like I’m James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix was in my band. He was just some kid I used to beat up, and now he’s back, and he’s Jimi Hendrix. Is he better than me? I don’t know, maybe. He used to write for so many people. “I’m going to L.A. and take some pitch meetings, write some shows.” Dude, write for yourself, I would constantly tell him. And some people are funny older than they are younger. Rodney Dangerfield was that. Redd Foxx was that — had careers as young people but when they got older, it was, like, this guy’s hysterical. And Louie, at 44, it’s the sweet spot for him.

Chris Rock interview

Chris Rock on Eddie Murphy

And then Chris Rock on Eddie Murphy.

When he wants it, nobody’s funnier than him. No one’s even close to him. I just went through a little exercise where I watched a bunch of old movies, like from the ’80s. The only ones that held up were the Murphy movies. A Murphy movie is like a Sidney Poitier comedy — he’s that intensely good… He revolutionized acting. He’s literally black Brando. Before Eddie Murphy, there were two schools of acting for a black actor: Either you played it LIKE THIS or youplayeditlahkdis. He was the first black guy in a movie to talk like I am talking to you right now. Just like we’re talking right now. That did not exist for black actors before him. Good Times is a good show for that: It was either John Amos or Jimmie Walker; that’s what black acting was.

Via Jonah Keri

Chris Rock on Eddie Murphy

Chris Rock on Howard Stern

Chris Rock on Howard Stern

Howard Stern’s a bad motherfucker, man. Whenever I talk to Howard, I always point out — and I’ve been trying to point this out to my wife — I know some of it you don’t like, but if I had to be on six hours a day, it would be just as nasty and foul and not sophisticated. The fact that you’re going to see me do an hour every four years? Reduce Howard Stern to an hour every four years, you’d have the most brilliant comedian who ever lived. It’s not even close.

Via Jonah Keri

Chris Rock on Howard Stern