Eddie Murphy returned to “Saturday Night Live” for the first time in 30 years to be part of Sunday’s “SNL 40: Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary” special.
Murphy was first feted by Chris Rock, who gave a speech about the iconic comic’s run on “Saturday Night Live,” and how there’s “only one Eddie Murphy” who remains unmatched. The actor-comedian himself then took the stage, sharing how happy he was that work he did 35 years ago was still “so valued” today. Interestingly, Murphy spoke for far less time than Rock, and after just a couple of sentences, he threw to a commercial rather awkwardly.
As a 19-year-old sensation, Murphy helped save “SNL” from oblivion in the early 1980s, following the departure of the beloved original cast and a rocky transitional period. Some of his bits, including impressions of Gumby and James Brown and his children’s show spoof “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” became all-time “Saturday Night Live” classics.
But Murphy famously never returned to the show after leaving the cast, refusing to serve as a guest host or attend the show’s 25th Anniversary special. There have been a number of theories about Murphy’s beef with “SNL,” including speculation about a feud with Lorne Michaels and Murphy’s alleged fury over a David Spade joke in the 1990s calling Murphy a “falling star.”
Murphy confirmed earlier this month that he would be participating in the anniversary special, marking his first time on the series in three decades. Unfortunately, it was a bit lackluster, with practically no jokes and, most disappointingly, none of Murphy’s classic “SNL” characters.