For the first time in 35 years, Eddie Murphy returned to host Saturday Night Live. Since this was also the Christmas episode, the pressure was on for this to truly be a television event. Thankfully, Eddie Murphy didn’t disappoint, and he brought a bunch of his friends with him, not to mention the cavalcade of guest stars that’s been popping up for the Democratic debate spoofing. The result was not only the best episode of the season, but one of the best episodes in recent memory.
Let’s run through the best and worst sketches of the Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live.
Gumby Returns – Even when the Weekend Update guest segments are among the best bits of the night, I relegate them to the standard Weekend Update section. But when Eddie Murphy returns as Gumby and shows why he was one of the best cast members to ever grace Studio 8H with his presence, I can’t help but break from tradition. Not only does he slip right back into this character, even though it’s without make-up this time, but he even improvises a bit and gets Colin Jost and Michael Che cracking up. This was pure comedy magic.
North Pole News Report – Kenan Thompson has made a name for himself on SNL, and one of the best things he does on the show is yell in a very specific and hilarious way. But no one yells frantically and funnily quite like Eddie Murphy, and this sketch is evidence of that to the max. It’s a simple premise that makes fun of the sensationalist man on the street interviews that local news always manages to get after some kind of big accident, but Murphy plays it so well that you can’t help but crack up. It gets bigger and funnier as it goes on, and that recurring “It don’t matter what my name is!” was gold every time.
Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood – Eddie Murphy said he wanted to revisit his most popular classic characters, and it was so good to see Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood back again. Even though I wish we got something that parodied the recent A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood or even the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, it was nice to get back to the classic format of the show, especially since it allowed the character to age a bit and deal with the modern growth of gentrification.
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