Charlie Murphy
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Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy, July 12, 1959-April 12 2017 was an American actor, comedian, voice artist, and writer. He is the older brother of Eddie Murphy. He is most notable as being a writer and cast member of the Comedy Central sketch-comedy seriesChappelle's Show.

Murphy was born on July 12, 1959 in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator, and his father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian. As an adolescent, he spent 10 months in jail.

In 1978, on the day Murphy was released from jail, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served for six years as a Boiler Technician. In 1983, shortly before being discharged from the Navy, Murphy witnessed a mushroom cloud over Beirut. He later learned that it was the aftermath of the Beirut barracks bombing in which 307 people were killed.

Although he had minor roles in several films in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Murphy's first major role in a motion picture was in the 1993 film CB4, where he portrayed the antagonist, Gusto. In 2005, he appeared in King's Ransom alongside Anthony Anderson and Jay Mohr. In the film, Murphy portrayed "Herb", a gay ex-con who is hired by King Anderson to kidnap him in a fake kidnapping.

Murphy also worked behind the scenes with the hip hop group K-9 Posse, a hip hop duo composed of his half-brother Vernon Lynch, Jr. and Wardell Mahone. On their 1988 self-titled debut, Murphy was credited as the album's executive producer as well as songwriter on the songs "Somebody's Brother" and "Say Who Say What". He also made an appearance in the video for the duo's first single "This Beat Is Military".

After Chappelle's Show host Dave Chappelle left the show, Murphy and Donnell Rawlings hosted the "lost episodes" compiled from sketches produced before Chappelle's departure. Murphy has done voiceovers for Budweiser radio commercials, provided the voice for Iraq War veteran/criminal Ed Wuncler III on Cartoon Network's Adult Swimseries The Boondocks, and the voice for a pimp named Jizzy-B in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game. Recently, Murphy provided the voice for Spockon the G4TV's Star Trek 2.0 shorts, and the dog in his younger brother Eddie's 2007 film, Norbit.

 

Dave Chappelle
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Dave Chappelle

David Chappelle, born on August 24, 1973 is an American stand-up comedian, screenwriter, producer, and actor. After beginning his film career in 1993 as Ahchoo in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights, he landed supporting roles in box office hits including The Nutty ProfessorCon Air, and Blue Streak. His first lead role was in the 1998 comedy film Half Baked, which he co-wrote with Neal Brennan.

In 2003, Chappelle became more widely known for his sketch comedy television series, Chappelle's Show, also co-written with Brennan, which ran until his retirement from the show two years later. By 2006, Chappelle was called the "comic genius of America" by Esquire and, in 2013, "the best" by a Billboard writer. The show continues to run in late-night syndication and on television networks around the world. In 2009 Comedy Central ranked him No. 43 in the "100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time."

Chappelle lives with his family in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and continues to perform stand-up comedy.

Chappelle was born in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three children. His father, William David Chappelle III, worked as a statistician before becoming a professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His mother, Yvonne, is biracial,and was a professor at Howard University, Prince George's Community College, and the University of Maryland, and is also a Unitarian Universalist minister. Chappelle also has a stepmother and a stepbrother. He has stated his grandparents are multiracial from rape.

Chappelle moved to New York City to pursue a career as a comedian. He gathered the courage to perform at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater in front of the infamous "Amateur Night" audience, but he was booed off stage. Chappelle described the experience as the moment that gave him the courage to continue his show business aspirations. He quickly made a name for himself on the New York comedy circuit, even performing in the city's parks. Whoopi Goldberg nicknamed him "The Kid." At 19, he made his film debut as "Ahchoo" in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

He also appeared on Star Search three times but lost over competing comedian Lester Barrie; Dave later joked about the irony of him subsequently becoming more successful than Barrie. The same year, Chappelle was offered the role of Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue in Forrest Gump. Concerned the character was demeaning and the movie would bomb, he turned down the part. He parodied the film in the 1997 short "Bowl of Pork," where a dim-witted black man is responsible for the Rodney King beating, the LA riots and OJ Simpson being accused of murder. Chappelle played another supporting role in an early Doug Liman film, Getting In in 1994. At age 19, he was the opening act for R&B soul singer Aretha Franklin.

Chappelle has been known to make impromptu and unannounced appearances at comedy venues, and continues to do so following his post-Chappelle's Show return to standup.

Chris Rock
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Chris Rock

Chris Rock, born on February 7, 1965 is an American comedian, actor, and producer.

After working as a standup comic and appearing in small film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. He went on to more prominent film appearances, with starring roles in Down to Earth (2001), Head of State (2003), the Madagascar film series (2005–2012), Grown Ups (2010), its sequel Grown Ups 2 (2013), Top Five (2014), and a series of acclaimed comedy specials for HBO. He developed, wrote, and narrated the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris (2005–2009). Rock hosted the 77th Academy Awards in 2005 and the 88th in 2016. He has won four Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards.

Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. A few years later, they relocated and settled in the working-class area of Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His mother, Rosalie (née Tingman), was a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped; his father, Christopher Julius Rock II, was a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman. Julius died in 1988 after ulcer surgery. Chris's younger brothers, Tony, Kenny, and Jordan, are also in the entertainment business. His older half-brother, Charles, died in 2006 after a long struggle with alcoholism. Rock has said that he was influenced by the performing style of his paternal grandfather, Allen Rock, a preacher.

Rock began doing stand-up comedy in 1984 in New York City's Catch a Rising Star. He slowly rose up the ranks of the comedy circuit in addition to earning bit roles in the film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and the TV series Miami Vice. Upon seeing his act at a nightclub, Eddie Murphy befriended and mentored the aspiring comic. Murphy gave Rock his first film role in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Rock's subject matter typically involves family, politics, romance, music, class relationships, and race relations in the United States. Though not strictly autobiographical, much of his comic standpoint seem rooted in his teenage experience; his strict parents, concerned about the inadequacies of the local school system, arranged to have the adolescent Rock bused to a nearly all-white high school in Bensonhurst an Italian-ethnic neighborhood of Brooklyn known at the time for poor race relations.

Eddie Murphy
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Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy, born on April 3, 1961 is an American comedian, actor, writer, singer, and producer.

He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian, and was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

In films, he has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs., the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and received a nomination for theAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of soul singer James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls.

His work as a voice actor in films includes: Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in DreamWorks' Shrek series, and the Chinese dragon Mushu in Disney's Mulan. In some films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, intended as a tribute to one of his idols Peter Sellers, who played multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove and elsewhere. He has played multiple roles in Coming to America, Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn, the Nutty Professor films (where he played the title role in two incarnations, plus his character's father, brother, mother, and grandmother), BowfingerThe Adventures of Pluto NashNorbit, and Meet Dave.

Murphy was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and raised in the borough's Bushwick neighborhood. His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator, and his father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian.

His early comedy was characterized by frequent swearing and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people, African Americans, Italian Americans, overweight people, and gay people). Murphy released two stand-up specials. Eddie Murphy was his first album, released in 1982. Delirious was filmed in 1983 in Washington, D.C. Due to the popularity of Delirious, his concert film Eddie Murphy Raw received a wide theatrical release, grossing $50 million; the movie was filmed in the Felt Forum section of Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bill Cosby
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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, born on July 12, 1937 is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and author.

Cosby's start in stand-up comedy began at the hungry i in San Francisco, and was followed by his landing a starring role in the 1960s television show I Spy. During the show's first two seasons, he was also a regular on the children's television series The Electric Company.

Cosby was born on July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is one of four sons of Anna Pearl (née Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby Sr., who served as a mess steward in the U.S. Navy. During much of Cosby's early childhood, his father was away in the U.S. armed forces, spending several years serving in the theater of war in World War II. As a student, he described himself as a class clown. Cosby was the captain of both the baseball team and the track and field team at Mary Channing Wister Public School in Philadelphia, as well as the class president. Early on, though, teachers noted his propensity for clowning around rather than studying. At FitzSimons Junior High School, Cosby began acting in plays as well as continuing his devotion to playing sports.

Cosby left Temple to pursue a career in comedy, lining up standup jobs at clubs first in Philadelphia and then in New York City, where he appeared at The Gaslight Cafebeginning in 1961. He booked dates in cities such as Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C.. He received national exposure on NBC's The Tonight Show in the summer of 1963. This led to a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records, who, in 1964, released his debut LP Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow...Right!, the first of a series of comedy albums. His album To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With was number 1 on Spin Magazines list of "The 40 Greatest Comedy Albums of All Time", calling it "stand-up comedy's masterpiece".

Martin Lawrence
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Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence, born on April 16, 1965 is a German-born American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, singer, musician, and voice actor.

Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the television sitcomMartin and the films House PartyBoomerangBad BoysWild HogsNothing to LoseBlue StreakLifeBig Momma's House, and A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.

The fourth of six children, Lawrence was born in Frankfurt, West Germany on April 16, 1965, to African American parents who were serving in the U.S. military in West Germany at the time of Martin's birth. Lawrence was named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His parents divorced when he was eight years old and Lawrence rarely saw his estranged father, who worked as a police officer. His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), began working several jobs to support her family.

Lawrence ended up moving to New York City and found his way to the legendary The Improv. Shortly after appearing at The Improv, Lawrence won a performance spot on Star Search. He did well on the show and made it to the final round, but did not win. However, executives at Columbia Pictures Television saw Martin's performance and offered him the role of Maurice in What's Happening Now!!; this was his first acting job. Upon cancellation of that show, Lawrence found bit parts in various films and television series. His breakthrough role was as Cee in Do the Right Thing. Other roles followed in films such as the House Partyseries, Talkin' Dirty After Dark, and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Boomerang.

Paul Mooney
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Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney, born on August 4, 1941, is an American comedian, writer, social critic, television and film actor. He is best known for his appearances on Chappelle's Show and as a writer for the comedian Richard Pryor.

Mooney was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and moved to Oakland, California seven years later. His parents are George Gladney and LaVoya Ealy. Mooney was raised primarily by his grandmother Aimay Ealy, known among the family as "Mama." Mama coined the nickname Mooney after the original Scarface (1932) actor Paul Muni.

Mooney became a ringmaster with the Gatti-Charles Circus. During his stint as ringmaster, he always found himself writing comedy and telling jokes, which would later help Mooney land his first professional work as a writer for Richard Pryor.

Mooney wrote some of Pryor's routines for his appearance on Saturday Night Live, co-wrote his material for the Live on the Sunset StripBicentennial Nigger, and Is It Something I Said albums, and Pryor's film Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. As the head writer for The Richard Pryor Show, he gave many young comics, such as Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon, and Tim Reid, their first break into show business.

In 2006, Paul Mooney hosted the BET tribute to Black History Month titled 25 Most @#%! Moments in Black History. In this show, he narrated some of the most shameful incidents involving African Americans since 1980. The top 25 moments included incidents involving Marion Barry, Terrell Owens, Wilson Goode, Michael Jackson, Flavor Flav,Whitney Houston, and Tupac Shakur.

Chris Tucker
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Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker, born on August 31, 1971 is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing the role of Smokey in Friday and as Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour film series. Tucker became a frequent stand up performer onDef Comedy Jam in the 1990s. He also appeared in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element.

Tucker was born on August 31, 1971, in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest son of Mary Louise (née Bryant) and Norris Tucker. One of six children, Tucker learned early in life that humor has the power to draw attention to himself both at school and at home. His father was an independent businessman who owned a janitorial service. Tucker grew up in Decatur, Georgia; and, after graduating from Columbia High School in Decatur, he moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career in comedy and acting.

In 1992, Tucker was a frequent performer on Def Comedy Jam. He made his cinematic debut in House Party 3, and gained greater film recognition alongside rapper Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday. In 1997, he co-starred with Charlie Sheen in Money Talks, and alongside Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element.

Along with Jackie Chan, Tucker later starred in the 1998 martial arts action comedy Rush Hour and its sequels, Rush Hour 2 andRush Hour 3, in which he played Detective James Carter, an LAPD detective. After the commercial success of the first Rush Hourfilm, Tucker held out for a $20 million salary for Rush Hour 2 and was paid $25 million salary for Rush Hour 3. The latter was part of a $40 million two-movie contract with New Line Cinema that also included an unnamed future film. He was also to receive 20% of the gross against his salary from the Rush Hour 3.

Richard Pryor
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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor, December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005, was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, and actor. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeldcalled Pryor "The Picasso of our profession" and Bob Newhart heralded Pryor as "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years".This legacy can be attributed, in part, to the unusual degree of intimacy Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. As Bill Cosby reportedly once said, "Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it."

Born on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel, where his mother, Gertrude L., practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy "Buck Carter" Pryor, was a former boxer and hustler. After his alcoholic mother abandoned him when he was 10, Pryor was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a tall, violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities. Pryor was one of four children raised in his grandmother's brothel and was sexually abused at age seven. He was expelled from school at the age of 14.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan andWoody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York's Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor's bout of performance anxiety:

He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn't bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.