Saturday Night Live will soon embark on its 45th season. Despite the many superb cast members who have graced the stage of Studio H8 over that time, its youngest star ever still ranks at its greatest. Eddie Murphy was only 19 when he made his debut on SNL, during a time when the show’s survival was never more in doubt. The departure of creator Lorne Michaels—replaced by Dick Ebersol—had many wondering if it could be a hit series without Michael at the helm. Eddie Murphy definitively confirmed it could be, and it could excel. And this year he will finally return to host, ending a long, strange self-imposed exile that all began with a David Spade joke.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) August 26, 2019
The show has announced that on December 21, Eddie Murphy, who was a cast member from 1980-1984, will host SNL for the first time since 1984. He first hosted in 1982 AS A CAST MEMBER. Yes, Eddie Murphy was so talented and so famous while he was on the show he hosted it as a cast member. The Christmas show is also a perfect time for him to return, since that episode often acts as a de facto alumni reunion for former cast members.
This return hosting gig likely would have happened long, long time ago, but the man who made Buckwheat more famous than he ever was on The Little Rascals, stayed away after David Spade made a joke about his struggling career during a “Hollywood Minute” in 1996. The story of Murphy’s furious reaction is Hollywood legend (David Spade’s personal account is terrifying). The joke seems fairly tame now, but he was angry at everyone involved—including Lorne Michaels whom he never even worked for—for letting any joke at his expense make the air. Eddie Murphy believed—rightfully—SNL, and therefore all of their jobs, only existed because of him. He wasn’t wrong.
That long held animosity came to an end in 2015, just not the way comedy fans wanted. Murphy returned to Studio 8H for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, but he didn’t partake in any sketches or jokes. He got up on stage and… just kinda talked. He said he was happy to be back, but didn’t make any attempt to be funny. It was weird and arguably the most disappointing part of the lengthy 211-minute show.
But we doubt that will be the case on December 21 when he hosts. Eddie Murphy didn’t create SNL, but he did save it, and seeing him make us laugh on that stage is as good as comedy gets.
We do have one question though: think David Spade will also be there? Now, that would be funny.
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