The title of Andy Cohen’s hit Bravo show tells it all, “Watch What Happens Live.” You know from the onset that there will be drama. And while most guests come on to participate in some of the foolishness, actor and entertainer Tituss Burgess was not here for it.
Cohen was interviewing both Burgess and Laverne Cox, taking questions from viewers. One of them asked Burgess what was the crazies thing Eddie Murphy did on the set of their upcoming movie My Name is Dolemite.
Andy started off tepid, asking if Murphy was cool to work with.
Tituss gushed about the comedian. “He was wonderful to work with. He is a brilliant man and I’m so excited for the younger generations who do not know Eddie Murphy will learn why he is the legend that he is.”
Then Cohen pushed it another step further. “Did you get to chat with him at all?”
Burgess answered with an air of confusion. “Of course I did. Why wouldn’t I?”
Cohen: Well no, I just wondered if you got close at all because he was very problematic for the gays at one point when I was coming up.
Thankfully, Burgess was quick to acknowledge what was happening.
“Oh I see. Well, he wasn’t problematic for Tituss. And we had a wonderful time.”
At this point, Cox interjects. “It was a long time ago. People can evolve.”
Burgess continued. “We talked about Dreamgirls. He should have won the Oscar I believe. He was great. Any troubles he may have had with gay people, I guess they’re gone because he loved me. “
As Laverne laughs, Tituss shot Cohen a knowing look. Then as a camera pans away from him he starts wagging his finger, as if to say this is what we’re NOT going to do.
Cohen must have seen him out of the corner of his eye and asked, “What are you saying, Tituss?”
Burgess responded: “Keep going girl, do your show.”
He handled it properly in the moment. But apparently, he was still perturbed and had more to offer in an Instagram comment on an unrelated post.
“Watch What Happens Live” is indeed known for drama but the way Andy dislocated his shoulder for this reach was uncalled for.
True, in the late eighties Eddie Murphy’s standup was homophobic. In his 1981 HBO special Delirious, he used the f word and frequently lambasted gays during the routine. But by 1996, the comedian issued a public apology for his offensive comments.
According to SFGate.com, Murphy’s statement read:
“Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981. I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year- old man. I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now. I am not homophobic and I am not anti-gay,” the statement said. “My wife and I have donated both time and money to AIDS research. I’ve had people close to me die from the disease as well. I don’t know a person who hasn’t been touched in some way by this disease. Everybody knows somebody who is sick. Black people have been hit harder by this disease than any other group of people on the planet.”
Given other comedians and their use of slurs way past 1981, I think Murphy ws actually ahead of the curve. And given this statement and apology from decades ago, there was absolutely no reason for Cohen to bring up this old stuff. In case you hadn’t noticed, the enterainment industry is known for pitting Black people against each other. And Burgess was not about to let it happen to him, especially when it was unwarranted.
When you really boil down Andy’s profession, a part of his profits come from Black people perpetually beefing with one another. That’s fine for them. These are grown folks who have signed up for this. But Tituss wasn’t wit it. And he let it be known.
What did you think about this exchange?