"I'm Rick James, bitch!"
With those four words, Chappelle's Show made its mark as one of the most popular comedy programs of all time and spurred what many believe is the first viral sketch comedy video. And it was all thanks to Charlie Murphy.
The brother of Eddie Murphy and fellow comedy star, who recently died at age 57, made several appearances on Dave Chappelle's now-cult '00s R-rated sketch series, playing characters and also narrating and appearing in a recurring segment titled Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories, in which he recalls his real-life encounters with celebrities in the '80s while Dave plays them.
One of them, which aired in 2004, was "Super Freak" singer Rick James, who Charlie described as a "habitual line-stepper." In the skit, Chappelle's Rick constantly tells women he flirts with, "I'm Rick James, bitch!"
He also told another real-life story about Rick in another sketch, in which the singer visits Eddie's house and gets his couch dirty, allegedly on purpose, prompting the two brothers to beat his legs. The segment featured another now-iconic Chappelle's Show line.
"Cocaine is a hell of a drug," Rick says.
In another famous Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories segment, Charlie recalled getting schooled by Prince during a game of hoops. The sketch went viral again in 2016, after the singer was found dead at age 57.
Charlie recalled how Prince, dressed in a "Zorro-type" outfit, came up to his brother at a party and said, very intensely, "Hello Eddie Murphy. I'm a big fan of your comedies. Would you like to come to my house and listen to some music? Assemble your crew. I'll be outside."
Charlie recalled how both he and Eddie went to his house, where they hung out with friends and listened to music. He said Prince said, "This bores me. Is anyone up for a game of basketball?"
He said Prince remained in his fancy outfit.
"I kinda learned something that day," Charlie said. "Never judge a book by its cover."
In addition to Chappelle's Show, Charlie's acting projects also included:
The Adult Swim comedy series Black Jesus:
The 2010 comedy film Lottery Ticket:
and the Starz series Power, in which he played a prison guard:
But it was Chappelle's Show where he really made his mark on Hollywood.
"Dude changed my life," the series' co-creator Neal Brennan wrote on Instagram after news of Charlie's death was made public Wednesday. "One of the most unique people I've ever met. So funny. So weird. I truly don't think anyone had ever used the term 'Habitual Line-Stepper' before Charlie said it that day. Unforgettable dude. Really sad."