In the 80s, Eddie Murphy transformed from a sketch comedy star on Saturday Night Live into a legit box office sensation. Not only did he challenge the norm, but he did it while addressing cultural issues like racism and cultural stereotypes. To put it simply: Eddie played by his own rules while simultaneously offering a practical yet innovative brand of comedy. Looking back, some of the humor doesn’t hold up in a more open-minded world, and Eddie’s style certainly isn’t for everybody. But during his prime in the 80s, he was one of the most brilliant comedians alive—whether he was improvising or performing from a script. In this video, I go back in time to think about how Eddie helped shape my worldview with films like 48 Hrs. (1982), Trading Places (1983) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Oh, and there just may be a few pop-culture references included as well.

Love Eddie Murphy as much as we do? Check out our list of the coolest movie jackets of the 1980s (which may feature Murphy prominently). Want even more 80s? Check out our video on the trademarks of the late great John Hughes.