Behind the Eddie Murphy posters and the Eddie Murphy 9-by-11 color photos and the Eddie Murphy album covers and the Eddie Murphy entourage are the Eddie Murphy dimples. Deep, dark, mischievous dimples, bracketing a cherubic grin and a set of pearly whites.
"EDDDD-dee, EDDDD-dee, EDDDD-dee," they scream, as the 21-year-old "Saturday Night Live" regular saunters into the downtown Kemp Mill record store yesterday in buttersoft black leather jacket, matching jeans and riding cap. He shakes hands (black power style), busses cheeks and lips (matinee idol style) and scrawls his name across 300 copies of his new comedy album, three personal checks, two women's sweaters, one phone bill, one four-inch-long painted fingernail, a personal diary and a $1 bill, as his favorite record, "1999" by Prince, thumpa-thumpa-thumpas the lunch hour away.
"He's like a young Richard Pryor," enthuses Mike Macisso, a 23-year-old security clerk who came over on his lunch break from Garfinckel's to buy Murphy's new album ($5.99). "Larry the Lobster was his best," says 24-year-old Katie Broeren, who took off from work to be at the record store.
Meanwhile, Murphy -- sporting a diamond pinky ring Wayne Newton would die for -- is busy signing autographs and posing for Polaroids as more than 300 people squeal and swoon and boogie to the disco record playing for the 14th straight time.
"Please, please, please," one young woman pleads softly, leaning over the glass counter.
"Whatdya wanna do?" Murphy smiles.
"Nothin'," she says coyly.
Murphy rolls his eyes and leans forward. The young woman throws her arms around his shoulders. Then she places her lips on his neck. Then she bites him.
"OOOOUGH," Murphy yells, rubbing the spot.
The woman giggles and runs away.
"Can I go home with you, Eddie?" another woman screams.
"Give him my phone number, Denise."
"I don't know what it is. He just attracts you," says 34-year-old Vera Williams, puckering up for a smooch. Joan Haywood, an Irene Cara lookalike in flowing curls, whispers in his ear. Murphy takes her parking stub and scribbles a number: 212-664-2524. She pockets it.
"He gave me his home phone number," she sighs. "I'm gonna call him tonight. Eddie is lively. He's progressive. He's somebody blacks can relate to. Former 'SNL' black regular Garrett Morris never got to express himself like this guy."
But Eddie may be reluctant to express himself in private. The number turns out to be the NBC offices of "Saturday Night Live."
Just think. Three years ago Eddie Murphy was just another kid from Roosevelt, Long Island, earning $30 a week playing clubs. Now he's a millionaire, thanks to "SNL," the comedy album and two upcoming films: "48 Hrs.," with Nick Nolte, and a soon-to-be-filmed comedy, tentatively titled "Black & White," with former "SNL" star and Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd.
"It's happened very fast for Eddie," confides Bob Wachs, a short man with blow-dried hair, Murphy's manager. "Eddie will be the biggest star in the country in 60 days. He has it all. He can do it all."
But he can't change the record while he's signing an autograph, so he turns around and barks at his manager. "Bob, start that over again."
"He has a tremendous warmth and vulnerability," Wachs is saying. "He's likable. He's not intimidating."
But he is busy. After nearly two hours of signing records, he's supposed to go to Baltimore for two radio interviews, then back to Washington, then catch the last shuttle back to Manhattan. In between, Murphy grants an exclusive two-minute interview in the back room of the record store.
Favorite color? "Uhh, red."
Favorite movie? " '48 Hrs.' "
One thing he'd take to a desert island? "Palm tree."
Success: Too much too soon or too little too late? "It's going just fine," Murphy says, peering over black Porsche sunglasses.
What's the one question he gets asked most often? "Um, is it too much too fast. And it's not. It's fine. I'm happy."
Why did that woman bite him? "I don't know why she bit my neck. It hurt."
Why didn't he bite her back? " 'Cause I was frightened. She really bit me. I thought I was bleeding."
Is he going to be the biggest star in the country in 60 days? "I don't think 60 days. I hope maybe one day. I think being the biggest star in the world in 60 days would blow my mind. I'd probably drive my car into a wall."
How does he explain his popularity? "I don't think it had anything to do with Garrett Morris or Richard Pryor or 'Saturday Night Live.' My style of comedy people just took a liking to."
His favorite comedian? "Pryor."
Does Pryor like him? "He told me he liked me. What's he gonna say, 'You know, I really hate you'? I met him in Atlanta and we flew back together on the same plane. He drove me home."
As a black comedian, is he forced to do more topical subjects than white comedians? Does he have to do political comedy? "No, I don't. I think a comic loses his edge, not really his edge, but he loses something when he gets into political humor. It's hard to make someone laugh when at the same time they're looking at the check to see how much the bill is. 'Yeah, the economy's messed up and your bill is $90.' It's hard to laugh, so I talk about things that everybody talks about."
Does he like "SNL"? "I think the show needs a ----load of work. And I don't think the show will ever be the way it was, because of the country and the state of mind. I'm more than likely leaving it next year."
He's also leaving for Baltimore, in a big, black stretch limo. Back at the record store, 18-year-old Felicia Barr cradles the Eddie Murphy album she's just bought and wrinkles her nose.
"He's funny," she says. "But he's not as funny as Richard Pryor."