The Fish
for 20 June 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor


Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

The Friends of Eddie Murphy

Your article reminds me of a
thing Hilton Als wrote in the
New Yorker a while back,
wherein he claimed that Eddie
Murphy, Chris Rock , Martin
Lawrence and Eddie Griffin
(the buffoonish guy from
Malcolm and Eddie, yeah, I
forgot who he was, too) were
all knockoffs of Richard
Pryor. You and Hilton should
get together and fight.

Bye Bye,

Darin H.
Strret Fightin' Man

Darin, thanks for writing.
I'll fight anyone named
"Hilton" anytime, anywhere.
Except Lawrence

— 40SB (Tom Spurgeon)
Fish With Letter Icon

Sandy Hunter wrote: piece on
Murphy-clones, but don't you
think Chris Tucker's work in
the Ice Cube weed flick
Friday was worthy of note?

sandy hunter
staff writer
'boards magazine

Hi, Sandy:

I liked Chris Tucker much
more in Friday — and the
other early film he did (Dead
) — than any
of the work that's followed.
Of course, it's the success
of that work that priced
Tucker right out of the
Friday sequel.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon


Excellent - one of the most
engaging articles I've seen
at Suck in quite a while -
probably because I agree with
almost everything you said. A
few nitpicks:

* Dave Chappelle owes as much
to Cheech & Chong as he does
to Eddie Murphy.

* I think you missed the
point on both The Fifth
Element and Martin Lawrence's
comedy - sometimes it's not
about character, or plot, or
quality performances -
sometimes its about the glory
of pure, pressurized,
ultra-refined baroque

* While Bruce Lee clones are
not as cool as Bruce Lee
himself, the Eddie Murphy
clones named here are
generally funny as hell,
often funnier than Eddie

And didn't people used to say
that Eddie was a clone of
Richard Pryor? Why wasn't he
at the Richard Pryor award
ceremony? That schmuck Robin
Williams was. Someone should
get that dude back on coke.



Thanks for writing, Colin.

I agree with you David
Chappelle has a wider variety
of influences — so does
Lawrence, for that matter.
Although I disagree that all
of the comedians and actors
mentioned in the article are
funny, I'll grant you any one
of them is funnier than Bruce
Li is compelling. But I think
it's too bad across the board
that they play those
Murphy-style roles. I really
haven't seen any of them
out-Murphy Murphy, in other

Speaking of Bruce Li,
remember Jackie Chan went
through a period of being the
new Bruce Lee, too.
Regardless of your opinion of
Chan's comedy films, you have
to admit they're way better
than the Lee-style movies.

I'm glad you enjoyed the

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

First of all, very well done.
I'm an avid suck reader and
have never taken the time to
write an author, but today's
essay got me thinking. I
agree with you almost 100%
but there is 1 thing I really
would have liked to see in
your essay, and if you have
time, what your opinion might
be... The fate of the 80's
contemporary, Murphy
sidekick, and I would say
failed clone: Arsenio Hall.
He played multiple roles
right along side Murphy in
"Coming to America" and
clearly with less skill. He
never quite made it to
feature film and his talk
show was made fun of in every
venue. How did this guy get
famous? But what's even more
interesting is his stint on
CBS as sidekick to Sammo
Hung. Now we've got clone of
a clone with the TV show
immitating Rush Hour,
imitating 48 Hours?

If you have a chance, I'd be
curious to hear...


Chris Robert

P.S. Why don't we see more
stuff from you? You got some
good insight...

Hi, Chris:

I didn't include Arsenio Hall
because he — and maybe
I'm blocking this out because
the memory is too painful
— didn't go on to carry
his own movies. If Coming to
were made right now,
the Hall role would likely be
played by Martin Lawrence,
I'm guessing. I agree with
your analysis of Hall's

You're also right that
Arsenio playing on Sammo
Hung's show makes him in some
ways a kind of clone of a
clone, which is truly
frightening. CBS didn't even
seem to hide the fact much
when casting Hall.
Although... from the only
episode of the show I've seen
Hall seemed less like a
Murphy-type partner than one
of those humilating sidekicks
on the Sam Raimi action
shows, there to give the star
someone to interact with
between fight scenes and look
less impressive than while
they're going on.

Incidentally, some feel that
Rush Hour was a lot like the
it-was-big-in-Russia movie I
describe in the essay,
Drive. Which would give
Arsenio two clone bloodlines.

Anyway, thanks for the kind
words and I hope to be
writing for Suck more often
in the near future.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Angry, versatile,
boundary-pushing black
performer with enough talent
to crossover to the
melanin-deficient mainstream,
made a big splash with his
concert work and went on to
movie blandness: Richard
Pryor. Angry, versatile,
boundary-pushing black
performer with enough talent
to crossover to the
melanin-deficient mainstream,
made a big splash with his
concert work and went on to
movie success: Eddie Murphy.
As you said, "What separates
star cloning from such common
occurrences as young hopefuls
assuming an older actor's
outward ticks or public
persona mantle-passing is
intent." But to know that,
we'd have to peer into Lorne
Michaels' brain (eeeeeeeew!).
Murphy was clearly a Pryor
clone to begin with. The
reason that Murphy has the
influence to launch half a
dozen spores of his own is
that sadly, even before his
tragic illness, Pryor's story
didn't have a second act. I
could argue that Pryor was,
in turn, a Flip Wilson clone
but you can push this thing
only so far.

Pretty fly for a Canadian

Michael K

I bet looking into the mind
of Lorne Michaels would be
like that one big scene in
Being John Malkovich where
Malkovich looks into his own
head, except that there'd be
a few Paul Simons and a
couple of Chevy Chases amidst
all the Lornes.

I think at most you can
define Murphy's early
popularity as a reflection of
Pryor — he's clearly the
biggest influence on his
stand-up, although I see a
lot of Redd Foxx (the way he
uses profanity) and Bill
Cosby (that Mom/shoe routine)
in the early Murphy material,
too. But Murphy always lacked
that sense of vulnerability
that made a lot of what Pryor
did in stand-up great, and
informed a lot of Pryor's
film work. It's weird, but I
think Murphy could have
played Bill Cosby's TV and
film roles more easily than
just about any of Pryor's.

Thanks, Michael.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Yngwie Malmsteen: now there's
a name I haven't heard since
high school. I guess he got
surgery for his carpel
tunnel, as he's obviously
still playing violin, er,
guitar. Who else would think
of taking spirited, lyrical
riffs from Paginini and
putting them in the somber,
heavy-metal version of
Wagnerian opera?

Rob Peneguy

It's a brave artist who mixes
and matches with that kind of

I don't think the world's
quite ready to come to terms
with the massive debt all
arts owe Malmsteen.


— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Your work is a treasure. This
is your best since that tax
revolt piece. Have you
considered a collection of
essays ,a la George Will or
WFB? I'd buy ten! Thanks for
doing that voodoo, that you
do, sooooo well.

Steven P. Sanabria


I'm not as interested in
doing their kind of essay
books as I am in writing
gimme essays on baseball and
smoking pot on a sailboat.
Thanks for the encouragement.

— 40SB (Tom Spurgeon)
Fish With Letter Icon
Farewell, My Lovely

You missed an amusing angle
on the apparent demise of -- their recent
success in obtaining
financial disclosure records
for the federal judiciary (or
at least, a ruling from a
judicial commission that has/had the right
to those records).

Perhaps federal judges have
influential friends ???


An amusing theory, indeed,
Jim. But if you know what's
good for ya, it'd probably be
best if you just kept it to
yourself, OK?

Fully disclosed,

Fish With Letter Icon

What if had
limited itself to something
closer to the 2.2%
advertising-to-sales ratio
that traditional newspapers

Well, admittedly it should've
spent a LOT less on
advertising. But there IS a
reason why dot-coms pour such
a high percentage of their
resources into advertising;
they don't have the
brick-and-mortar expenses a
lot of the other businesses
do. Newspapers need presses,
paper, delivery trucks... A
server and a T3 line cost a
lot less. Though I do agree,
APB poured much too much of
their cash into ads.

John Hoffman

I mentioned the 2.2% just to
remind people how little
traditional newspapers spend
on this kind of thing. Sure,
there are different sorts of
factors to suggest that
spending on promotion should
be a lot different online
than off, but it's pretty
illuminating to see just how
big the difference in
spending is...

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Mr. St. Huck,

Good story, Maybe Suck can
merge with and
then we would REALLY have a
good content site. Wouldn't just love that! ;-)

David Akerley

I'm lobbying for Suck to
purchase APBNews' video
archive when/if the fire sale
starts. of course, i doubt
Suck has any spare cash, but
maybe the APB liquidators
will trade the archive for
some Suck t-shirts...


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: I LOVE SUCK

I'm not one of those types to
write an email to a company.
It's campy and I always feel
like I have something better
to do. For example, it's
unlikely that I will tell
Charmin that I hate their
toilet paper because it's not
soft and it's not quilty;
it's just really poorly
constructed paper mache that
leaves a toxic silt on
everything it touches. That
having been said, I love
Suck. I am a writer and
African American woman and I
appreciate that your
expressions (tainted and
angry as they may be) are
multi-hued and

Kai Bowe

Thanks for the good word,
Kai. Speaking of the taint,
though, just where do you
think most of that toxic
Charmin silt ends up?

Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Krushchev Remembers, by Nikita Krushchev (authorship disputed), translated by Strobe Talbott
Five-Star Day Cafe
Athens, Ga.
Salon's "Action Figures"
TV ad
Donna's Famous "Long and Short of It," by Donna Anderson and friends
Two-Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman (The Anchor Bay/Universal letterboxed edition)
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance, by Lydia Millet (Scribner)
King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score, by Max Steiner Moscow Symphony Orchestra, William J. Stromberg conductor (Marco Polo)
Eightball #20, by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)
The ECW's Little Spike Dudley
Stan Kenton, City of Glass, featuring arrangements by legendary weirdo Bob Graettinger (EMD/Blue Note)
Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

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