Eddie Murphy makes triumphant return to Saturday Night Live
The comedian and actor left the show in 1984.
Eddie Murphy made a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live as he hosted the long-running sketch show for the first time in 35 years.
The comedian and actor joined SNL in 1980 before departing four years later to pursue a career in Hollywood.
The 58-year-old is one of the show’s most famous and successful graduates, thanks to films including the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy, Trading Places and the Shrek franchise.
Murphy arrived on stage for his opening monologue to chants of “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie” and told the studio audience: “It’s great to be back here, finally.”
“This is the last episode of 2019,” he said, “but if you’re black, it’s the first episode since I left in 1984.”
In a joke about his sizeable progeny, Murphy said: “I had a new baby, just about a year ago. That means I have 10 kids now, 11 if you count Kevin Hart.”
Murphy then aimed a barb at Bill Cosby, the now disgraced comedian serving a three to 10-year prison term for drugging and molesting a woman at his home.
He said: “If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in prison, even I would have took that bet.”
Imitating Cosby, Murphy added: “Who is America’s dad now?”
Murphy, who earlier this month earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Netflix comedy Dolomite Is My Name, later brought out his fellow comedians Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Dave Chappelle.
In a nod to the group’s different Netflix projects, Chappelle joked: “You’re looking at half of Netflix’s budget.”
Murphy brought back some of his most popular comedy characters from his original SNL stint, including his Mister Robinson’s Neighbourhood sketch.
A parody of US children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, it sees Murphy presenting a similar show but from a much grittier setting.
During the sketch, Murphy’s Mister Robinson defined gentrification as “white people pay a lot of money and then ‘poof,’ all the black people are gone”.
The character of musician Buckwheat appeared for a The Masked Singer parody while foul-mouthed green clay-mation figure Gumby also returned.
Musical guest Lizzo was draped in Gucci for the first of her two performances, opening with the viral hit Truth Hurts.
Lizzo, who has a leading eight Grammy nominations ahead of next month’s awards ceremony, later returned to the stage to perform Good As Hell and told the audience: “Be kind to one another but most importantly, be good to yourself”
The final SNL cold open of the decade was a sketch mocking the latest Democratic Party presidential debates, with Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump.