Tonight, in the SNL episode that also featured the musical guest Lizzo, Murphy returned to those characters once again including Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson.
But first, in an opening monologue, he updated the audience on the last several years of his life and received tributes from a few surprise guests.
Taking the stage of NBC’s Studio 8H, Murphy told “S.N.L.” viewers: “This is the last episode of 2019. But if you’re black, this is the first episode since I left back in 1984.”
He then showed a photograph of himself when he was still an “S.N.L.” cast member. “Yeah, I look at least five years younger there,” Murphy said. “You know what they always say: Money don’t crack.”
Among the ways that his life has changed since then, Murphy said, is that “I have 10 kids now — 11 if you count Kevin Hart.” He added, “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.” Slipping into his Cosby impersonation, Murphy said, “Who is America’s Dad now?”
Tracy Morgan, a fellow “S.N.L.” alum, joined Murphy onstage and offered him praise. “If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here,” Morgan told him. “Like, literally. I was conceived on the ‘Delirious’ tour bus.”
Chris Rock, who was also an “S.N.L.” cast member before becoming a stand-up superstar, said that the show’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels had compared him to Murphy when he joined the show.
“When I got hired, Lorne told me, ‘You’re going to be the next Eddie Murphy,” Rock said. “And then a year later he said, ‘No, you’re not.’”
Dave Chappelle, another titan of stand-up, told Murphy he had been an inspiration. “I followed your blueprint for my entire career,” Chappelle said. “I became the biggest star on television and then I quit.”
Looking over the assembled group, Chappelle said, “Right now you’re looking at half of Netflix’s budget, right here onstage.”