Divine Comedy: 25 Best Stand-Up Specials and Movies

From classic HBO specials to arena-comic concert flicks, these bits continue to crack us up

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5. 'Eddie Murphy: Delirious' (1983)

"Pryor's special is the best," says Chris Rock "but Eddie was the most entertaining comedian who ever lived." Released while Murphy was finishing out his run on SNL (and a year before Beverly Hills Cop made him an A-lister), this HBO special was hugely influential on a generation of stand-ups. Yes, the material occasionally devolves into crude provocation — Ed Norton fucking Ralph Cramden, for starters — and the Stone-Age homophobia is cringeworthy. But no human being has ever been as confident as the 22-year-old rising star, surely the only person who could look that comfortable prowling the stage in skintight red leather while impersonating a kid excited over an ice-cream truck or a shoe-throwing mother. Murphy settles into an act that has him singing, doing impressions (his James Brown is particularly devastating), and getting maximum value from every joke. It's all in the delivery. ST

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