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Neal Brennan On His Theater Debut, Eddie Murphy And Hollywood Diversity

The funnyman brings laughs and more to The Breakfast Club.


Neal Brennan is not only one funny dude, but the Philly comedian has a square head on his shoulders. He's candid about his time working with Dave Chappelle, for better or worse, and he's a sure bet for a revealing tidbit or two about how Hollywood function. This morning (February 29) he visited The Breakfast Club to dish on his friendship with Eddie Murphy, explain why Hollywood struggles with diversity and promotes his latest project, a John Legend-produced theater event, "3 Mics."

On Telling Black Jokes

If you set it up right. If you make it clear, like, I mess with black people. The Chappelle Show credit helps. But even that, still, it’s like some jokes… When I do black shows where it’s all black comedians and black crowds and me, they’re not dying to see me. [Laughs.]

On Being Friends With Eddie Murphy And His Reluctance To Return To Stand-Up

I have Eddie’s Murphy’s number, but I don’t know if it’s still good. You know how it is, at a certain level you have to change your number every three months. I don’t think I’ve ever used it.

Eddie likes money. And if you make $20 million every time you do something…. He explained to me one time, to do one of those Oscar movies, I got to not get paid, I gotta work out and then I don’t win an award. They have this movie that makes a bunch of money, I don’t get any of the money. Where, if he does "Dr. Doolittle 3" he gets $20 million on day one and he doesn’t have to worry if it’s good or not. He still has the crown. He knows he’s funnier than everybody. Every time I see him he says something so funny it’s painful.

Me and Dave [Chappelle] were bugging him like, just do stand-up. And Dave was like, Rodney [Dangerfield] did it till he was like 80. And he goes, Dave, I’m not Rodney, I’m with [Charlie] Chaplin and them. At first we were like, uh, wait. But he really is. It sounds like an arrogant thing to say but he didn’t say it out of arrogance. He’s not an arrogant dude. Eddie is a comedy fan. He’ll call comedians. He’ll say he likes them, he gets in touch with them. In my experience, he’s a great dude.

On Hollywood's Apprehension To Diversity

I just feel there’s a cache you get from working with white people. It’s like some otherness. Same with women. They’d rather make money off a male movie than a female movie. It’s some other, you’re dollars aren’t as valuable as white dollars. Also, white people feel out of their depth doing a black story. They don’t want to mess it up. There’s a level of intimidation. It’s almost too much trouble. If you screw it up, you get picketed. That’s my feeling.

On His Theater Show "3 Mics"

Every night 9:30 pm in New York for the next three weeks. You talk about doing interesting thing with your girl, this is your chance. Take her to the theater.

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