Eddie Murphy Makes His Triumphant Return To SNL 35 Years After Last Hosting
After a 35-year absence, Eddie Murphy returned to Saturday Night Live. ‘This is the last episode of 2019. But if you’re black, this is the first episode since I left back in 1984.’
The opening monologue of the 45th season’s final episode testifies Murphy’s power: he is, without a doubt, the best performer SNL has ever had.
As well as a beautifully low-key, no less incendiary opening speech, his classic characters also reappeared: Buckwheat, Gumby and even Mr. Robinson.
Waltzing on to the stage at NBC’s Studio 8H, Murphy filled the audience and viewers in on where he’s been since leaving the show in the 80s. He even pulled out a photo of him when he was a cast member, saying: ‘Yeah, I look at least five years younger there. You know what they always say: Money don’t crack.’
While in many ways an affectionate monologue, Murphy squeezed in a few trademark jabs – namely, at Bill Cosby, a fixture of his comedy routines since the Delirious days.
Murphy told the audience:
I have 10 kids now – 11 if you count Kevin Hart. If you had told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I would have took that bet.
Then, slipping into his Cosby impression, Murphy said: ‘Who is America’s dad now?’
While not all of Murphy’s post-SNL work has been plaudit-worthy – his stint in prosthetics-laden efforts like The Nutty Professor series and Norbit, for example – he’s always remained a fierce comic talent.
On-stage, Murphy was joined by Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, and Chris Rock, with Chappelle saying: ‘You’re looking at half of Netflix’s budget.’ This is a nod to Murphy’s latest comeback film, Dolemite Is My Name – a dazzlingly brilliant, hilarious biopic of blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore.
Murphy joined the cast of SNL at just 19 years old, almost instantly becoming a nationwide star. With a peppy, irresistible enthusiasm for any and all material, the live part of the show didn’t matter: viewers flocked to their TV sets to see Murphy.
He left a few years later as his flourishing film career went stratospheric with the likes of Beverley Hills Cop and Coming To America – of which there’s a sequel coming soon.
Morgan added on-stage: ‘If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here. Like, literally. I was conceived on the Delirious tour bus.’
Murphy’s performance in Dolemite has been attracting awards conversations, alongside fellow SNL alumnus Adam Sandler (for his role in Uncut Gems). Sandler will also be returning to the show in late January next year.
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