Tonight, SNL celebrates Christmas on the Saturday Night Live Mid-Season Finale hosted by comedy superstar and former cast member Eddie Murphy!
Well, it only took 35 years, but the wait is over and tonight Eddie Murphy returns to the stage that made him a star on Saturday Night Live. Eddie was a cast member starting back in 1980 which was a turbulent time on SNL.
Here’s some quick backstory. After SNL – Season 5 in 1980, executive producer Lorne Michaels was feeling burned out and wanted the show to go on hiatus to recharge the cast, the writers and himself. Instead of having no SNL for an entire season, NBC replaced Lorne. This cause a massive walk-out including the entire cast. Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray, all original members (Murray joined SNL in Season 2), were among those that called it quits on Saturday Night Live.
With new executive producer, Jean Doumanian, (who was fired before SNL – Season 6 was even over), the cast and the show were completely retooled. Doumanian felt she needed a person of color in the cast and after a lot of persuading, she was talked into hiring Eddie Murphy as an addition to the SNL cast.
Murphy quickly became the breakout star. And after SNL – Season 6, which was filled with complete turmoil, finished, all but two members of the cast were fired. The exceptions were Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo.
Saturday Night Live soon became the Eddie Murphy show. So much chaos ensued after Lorne Michaels and the original cast left that it didn’t seem like the show would survive and it’s Eddie Murphy who’s credited with saving Saturday Night Live from cancellation.
Murphy was so popular that during SNL – Season 8 when Nick Nolte, who was scheduled to host the show, took sick, it was Eddie Murphy who was selected to step in as host. He’s the only SNL member to host the show while still in the cast. He stayed on the show for 4 seasons altogether and his final show was February 25, 1984 during SNL – Season 9.
Since his time on Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy became one of the biggest comedy stars the country has ever seen. Comedy Central placed Murphy at #10 on its list of 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. His specials, “Eddie Murphy: Delirious” (1983) and “Eddie Murphy: Raw” (1987) are considered two of the best comedy concerts ever performed.
He became a huge movie star with the box office smash action comedies “48 Hours” and “Beverly Hills Cop” along with their sequels. He reinvented himself in the 90’s with family comedies which were huge successes like his remakes of “The Nutty Professor” and “Dr. Dolittle” and their follow-ups. And he voiced “Donkey” in the “Shrek” series of films with another SNL cast member turned movie star, Mike Myers. He also picked up an Oscar nomination for his role as James ‘Thunder’ Early in the 2006 musical “Dreamgirls.”
Here in the present, there’s Oscar buzz all around Eddie Murphy once again for his latest film “Dolemite Is My Name” where he plays comedian Rudy Ray Moore. A December stop by NBC to host Saturday Night Live never hurts an actor’s chances of picking up an Academy Award nomination when the voting begins in January.
Besides his “Dolemite” film, Eddie Murphy’s return to Saturday Night Live might also be the launch pad for his stand up career to take off once again. He’s reportedly working on a new stand up special (or specials) for Netflix which also is the streaming service handling “Dolemite Is My Name.” And to work out material for the special, Eddie Murphy would also be back on the road touring again.
So that covers Eddie’s past and his possible future, but let’s get back to his present which is hosting Saturday Night Live tonight. Eddie Murphy says he’d like to revisit a lot of the characters he played on SNL in the early 80’s and bring them back for this evening’s show in 2019.
Back in October of this year, Eddie Murphy told the “Today Show“, “the people that are checking for me to host that show, want to see me do the characters that I did on that show. So, that’s what I’ll be doing mostly. They want to see me do ‘Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood’, and Gumby and Buckwheat.”
That same week in October while on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote “Dolemite“, Murphy said, “Oh yeah. I’m going to do Gumby. And I’m trying to figure some reason to do Velvet Jones.” He added, “And ‘Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood,’ I want to do that. And a funny Buckwheat sketch.”
It will also be interesting to see what kind of SNL – Digital Shorts are on tonight’s show. One of Eddie Murphy’s most well-know SNL pieces was a short film called “White Like Me“, a predecessor to today’s SNL – Digital Shorts. In it, Eddie went through an extensive makeup job to appear as a white man and then he infiltrated white America with hysterical discoveries.
Of course, this is also the 2019 SNL Christmas Show, so we can expect a lot of holiday material as well. And besides Eddie Murphy’s treasure chest of characters and impressions, there’s plenty of other things going on for the SNL writers to use as inspiration for material this evening.
Naturally, there’s that thing that we can be pretty sure only gets referred to as the “I-word” around the White House, “Impeachment.” The President was impeached on two separate articles by the House of Representatives on Thursday. The probability that Alec Baldwin will be in the SNL – Cold Open tonight to play the nation’s only 3rd impeached president is pretty high.
Other aspects of the impeachment that might come up either in the opener or on Weekend Update include Speaker Nancy Pelosi playing political poker with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by refusing to send him the Articles of Impeachment until she knows how Moscow Mitch is going to handle the President’s trial in the Senate.
The Update anchormen, Colin Jost & Michael Che, are also sure to mention that “Christianity Today,” the evangelical magazine, ran an editorial stating that President Trump should be removed from office. The magazine which is like “Tiger Beat” for Jesus fans described Trump as “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
This past week’s Democratic Debate may get the sketch treatment on tonight’s SNL including the on-stage battle between Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigeig which looked like a grandma arguing with her paper boy over the cost of the Sunday Times. Plus there was Bernie Sanders loudly declaring during the debate that he’s “white!” No shit Bernie. If you were any whiter, they’d make you the next KFC Colonel Sanders. No relation.
Other news items that may be getting pitched as jokes include Kevin Costner’s plan to endorse Pete Buttigieg at a campaign event in Iowa on Sunday. Sure, why wouldn’t Iowans take political advice from the guy who built a baseball diamond in his corn field!?
There’s also Sarah Huckabee Sanders mocking Joe Biden’s stutter in a tweet during this week’s Dem Debate, the opening of “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker“, along with alleged rapist and Jabba the Hut understudy Harvey Weinstein making the clueless statement that he’s been great for women in the film industry, plus there’s the movie “Cats” disturbing people in theaters nationwide this week, Kris Jenner keeping a life-size wax figure of herself in her home, (the kids refer to it as “mom”) and “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling publicly supporting some anti-trans comments.
The first of this week’s Saturday Night Live promos which are available below, announces the return of Eddie Murphy with a 4-plus minute “Best Of” reel from Eddie’s days as an SNL cast member.
The next promo says it all by saying nothing. There’s no dialogue. Just Eddie Murphy leaving the elevator and doing a slow-motion walk in black & white down the hallowed halls of NBC’s Studio 8-H while “Cuz I Love You” by tonight’s musical guest Lizzo plays over it.
In the third set of promos, Eddie is joined by musical guest Lizzo and cast member Kenan Thompson who gives thanks to Santa Claus for tonight’s Christmas show. Also, in this promo set, it’s Lizzo getting the laughs and not the two comedians standing next to her. Shout out to the Klumps!
Eddie Murphy is back on SNL tonight. He hosts the Saturday Night Live Mid-Season Finale and Christmas Show tonight with musical guest Lizzo! It all happens this evening at 11:30pm et and live across all American time zones on NBC!
Watch for Saturday Night Live to return for the second half of SNL – Season 45 in mid-January!