Eddie Murphy returned to Saturday Night Live as host for the first time in 35 years, with Murphy reprising some of the classic characters that earned him Number Two on Rolling Stone’ list of every SNL cast member.
In a Christmas-themed sketch surrounding The Masked Singer, judges attempt to debunk which contestant singing “Pawnin in Nub” (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”) is wearing the Corn on the Cob costume. Before long, it’s revealed that behind the vegetable getup is Murphy, back in his suspenders as Buckwheat. After removing his mask, Buckwheat also sang jumbled lyrics from “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Single Ladies.”
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Later on, Murphy appeared on Weekend Update as Gumby, a twist on the iconic clay caricature that he popularized in sketches during his tenure on SNL. Upset that he hasn’t been in the show for a while, Gumby hurls insults at hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost.
“How the hell are people not going to know who I am? I’m Gumby dammit. Let me tell you something, I saved this damn show from the gutter, and this is the thanks I get for saving this show. Shame on you Lorne Michaels. Shame on you NBC. Shame on you,” Murphy’s Gumby yells.
He also declared that she should have been featured in “every damn sketch from the top.” “I’m the one that made that Eddie Murphy a star. He was just a regular coon boy until I saw him,” he said.
Murphy later revived Mr. Velvet Jones for a Black Jeopardy sketch where he appears as a contestant who’s introduced as “the founder of the Velvet Jones Institute of Technology” that helps ladies “start their own business making up to $1500 dollars a week with my No. 1 bestseller, ‘I Want To Be A Ho.'” Murphy’s Jones kept promoting his books, which had “ho” in the title, causing the show’s host (Kenan Thompson) to give a disclaimer that “folks on the internet are going to be mad.”
But Murphy’s Jones attempted to modernize his responses when he was given a clue about what you shouldn’t do if your niece arrived at a holiday in a crop top.
“What you not going to do is judge this woman. It’s 2019, and she has every right to be sexy and to show off her beauty. She is independent, and she can make her own money. She doesn’t have to have sex with anyone,” he said, before promoting his new book, How to Be an Instagram Ho.
Reprising his Mr. Rogers-inspired role of Mr. Robinson, Murphy explains how much has changed in his neighborhood since he last appeared on the show thanks to gentrification.
“I was gone for a bit, but now I’m all right. My neighbors were all black, but now they’re white. The check-cashing place turned into a bank; elevator works and the stairs stink. The white people came and changed everything, but I am still your neighbor,” he sang.
He also gets a surprise visit from someone named Patrick who claims he did a DNA test and he’s Mr. Robinson’s son. Murphy’s Mr. Robinson then explains how the creation of 23 and Me has changed things for him: “Because of them, 23 people now say their father is me.”
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