Eddie Murphy returned to host Saturday Night Live last night for first time in 35 years – and he brought some friends along.
The long-running US variety programme returned to screens for its 45th season back in September, with musical guest Billie Eilish and presenter Woody Harrelson appearing on the first episode. It was announced prior that Murphy would make a return to host the show for the first time in 35 years.
The comedy legend’s return is notable due to him boycotting the series for decades, though he did make a brief appearance in 2015. Murphy, who became one of SNL‘s biggest stars in the ’80s, was less than impressed with a joke David Spade made about his career during the Hollywood Minute segment in the 1990s.
Making his return to Studio 8H last night (December 21), hosting for the first time since 1984, Murphy not only brought back some of his classic SNL sketch characters, he also invited a few friends along.
Kicking off his opening monologue by by saying: “This is the last episode of 2019, but if you’re black, this is the first episode since I left back in 1984.” Murphy then showed a photo of himself, joking, “You know what they say: money don’t crack.”
The biggest thanks to Eddie Murphy, @lizzo, @TheRealDratch, Larry David, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, @MayaRudolph, @ABFalecbaldwin, @TracyMorgan, @chrisrock, and @DaveChappelle. (also, Usher) GOODNIGHT and happy holidays! #SNL pic.twitter.com/zYhdoTboSS
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 22, 2019
Referencing his newborn baby, Murphy said: “If you told me 30 years ago that I’d be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have took that bet.” He then imitated the disgraced actor, asking the audience: “Who is America’s dad now?”
Tracey Morgan, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle joined Murphy for his opening monologue, each asking the legendary comic if he got their sketch ideas.
Chappelle’s sketch idea involved T.I. and a drive-through gynaecology clinic. “It’s stupid. He says stuff like, ‘I will check your Hyman expeditiously,'” he says, referring to the rapper’s recent comments about accompanying his daughter to the gynaecologist once a year to “check her hymen”, reasoning that she’s likely to be sexually active if it’s broken.
Watch the four comics come together in the clip below:
Elsewhere in the show, Murphy reprised many of the beloved characters from his time as a cast member on the late-night sketch show, including Mr. Robinson, Gumby, Buckwheat, and Velvet Jones.
Murphy’s first sketch saw him offer a modern take on Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood, which incorporated jokes about gentrification and stealing packages from his neighbours.
In his next sketch he reprised his Buckwheat character in a spoofing of The Masked Singer.
Murphy’s character Velvet Jones, who first appeared on SNL in October 1981 selling books and videos for get-rich-quick schemes and educational brochures and how-to videos that would prove pointless, made a return as a contestant on Black Jeopardy.
Murphy also donned the Gumby suit for a surprise cameo on Weekend Update.
Other sketches saw Murphy play the head of a family having Christmas dinner; a contestant in a baking competition, in which he accidentally cursed; and an elf who was an eye-witness to a vicious polar bear attack.
Earlier this week, a promo for Murphy’s return saw the comedian and SNL favourite Kenan Thompson joined by musical guest Lizzo, who shows her excitement for the Golden Child actor’s return to the show through dance.
Twerking for Murphy, Lizzo references his Coming to America band Sexual Chocolate and his famous “Hercules” line from The Nutty Professor.
The franchise began in 1984, with the third film released in 1994. Murphy plays Axel Foley, a Detroit cop who, in the original film, travelled to California to hunt down his friend’s murderer.
Work on Coming To America 2 was officially confirmed in January 2019 after years of speculation. Murphy will reprise his role of Prince Akeem – now King – in the film, while Arsenio Hall will return as his right-hand man Semmi. Other returning stars include James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and, reportedly, Louie Anderson.
Murphy has also announced his intention to do a live stand-up tour in 2020.