Tonight, SNL takes a winter break with a repeat episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by comedy legend Eddie Murphy!
Saturday Night Live has gone into hibernation this weekend. And if you’re SNL EP Lorne Michaels (you probably aren’t, but if you are…) there’s no better rerun to air than the highest rated episode in over a decade. That would be last year’s SNL Christmas show and mid-season finale starring host Eddie Murphy.
When it was announced that former Saturday Night Live cast member turned comedy movie staple and stand up superstar Eddie Murphy was returning to host the show he’s credited with saving in the 80’s, the anticipation was palpable. Eddie hadn’t been back to Saturday Night Live to perform in 35 years.
He did return for SNL 40 to be part of the “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” and celebrate 40 years of the variety show in a prime time extravaganza, but a lot of people didn’t think that counted at all. Eddie was offered a Bill Cosby bit to do in the special, but opted not to perform, thinking that the bit was in bad taste. So, the SNL mid-season finale / Christmas show last December 21st was Eddie’s actual homecoming.
What a homecoming it was! The amount of people watching Eddie Murphy finally make peace with the show that made him a household name after years of rumored hurt feelings on the comedy star’s part, reached around 10 million viewers. That’s about 6 million more than the normal weekly average. Add in well over 6 million more people who watched a recording of the 2019 SNL Christmas show on their DVRs the following week, (the ratings gods call that “Live + 7 Day” data ) and that equals 16.293 million total viewers both curious and excited to see Eddie Murphy back in Studio 8-H.
Those numbers made the Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live, the highest rated SNL since October 18, 2008. That particular show back in the late Aughts was hosted by Josh Brolin with musical guest Adele. Now sure, the world is in love with the angelic voice that is Adele and who wouldn’t want to see pre-Thanos Josh Brolin, but why was that 2008 show so highly rated!?
That’s because we were closing in on Election Day back in ’08 and not only was Tina Fey back on SNL to play John McCain’s VP running-mate Sarah Palin, but the actual hockey mom herself, Sarah Palin aka Caribou Barbie aka the Klondike Kardashian also appeared on the live show in person. Thus, (thus?) the reason for the high ratings for that 2008 SNL episode.
Tonight’s repeat episode of Saturday Night Live starts out par for the course with a politically themed SNL – Cold Open. The opener features a cameo-packed Democratic Debate sketch. It’s starts with cast member Heidi Gardner playing PBS’ Judy Woodruff. Then the majority of the Democratic candidates running for President are played by the current SNL cast including Bowen Yang (Andrew Yang), Kate McKinnon (Elizabeth Warren & Nancy Pelosi), Colin Jost (Mayor Pete Buttigeig) and Cecily Strong (Congressperson Tulsi Gabbard.)
The cold open cameos include plenty of former cast members returning to the show including Maya Rudolph as Senator Kamala Harris, Fred Armisen as surprise candidate Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Rachel Dratch as Senator Amy Klobuchar and Jason Sudeikis as former Veep Joe Biden who tells a tale from his youth about “Old Black Charlie.”
And then add in Larry David who stopped by to play Senator Bernie Sanders, plus Alec Baldwin who didn’t want to miss out on the fun of an Eddie Murphy hosted-episode and appeared as President Trump.
The cameos didn’t end with the SNL – Cold Open. Eddie Murphy’s monologue had plenty of guest stars. Eddie talks about being a dad to 10 kids and shares an old head shot from his time as an SNL cast member. He also didn’t have any trouble doing Cosby jokes in this appearance, now that America’s bad dad has been sentenced to prison. Eddie also promotes his Golden Globe nominated film “Dolemite is My Name“, available now on Netflix.
Then Eddie’s joined on stage by an overflowing Mount Rushmore of Comedy that includes so many greats. Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Kenan Thompson all come out to offer support and pitch sketch ideas for the show.
In interviews plugging “Dolemite” and leading up to his SNL comeback, Eddie Murphy said when he came back to do Saturday Night Live, he wanted to do all his old SNL characters and he didn’t disappoint. The sketches were filled with Eddie’s creations all put in modern sketch settings.
His impression of Buckwheat from the “Little Rascals” was on point and competing on the reality show, “The Masked Singer“. Eddie Murphy’s version of Mister Rogers called “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood” also returned, however now his slum had been gentrified by rich, young, white people. Thank God for “Squatter’s Rights”. Can you say that? The game show sketch “Black Jeopardy!” also made a comeback and featured Eddie Murphy’s pimp / best-selling author character Velvet Jones who was learning about the #MeToo movement. “You like ho’s? Me too!”
The biggest pop of the night for Eddie Murphy’s returning character work comes during tonight’s repeat edition of Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che. The big topic at this point in time is the House of Representatives voting to impeach President Donald “Insane In the Ukraine” Trump. While talking impeachment, Che and Jost are interrupted by Eddie Murphy’s arguably most popular character from the SNL 80’s, Gumby!
Gumby returned to thunderous applause and Jost and Che could barely work from enjoying this Weekend Update run-in. “My name is Gumby, dammit!” thrilled the crowd and of course, the former claymation children’s television star was furious about not being put in a sketch. He also disparages his old partner, Pokey the Pony.
After Weekend Update got back on track, Colin Jost and Michael Che had comments on the digital effects in the movie “Cats” especially the removal of Jason Derulo’s cat penis, plus they had lines about the gay kiss in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker“, a opossum brought on board a JetBlue flight, and “They” being named the Word of the Year.
Cast member Cecily Strong stops by the Weekend Update desk to talk about Trump’s impeachment and regurgitate some wine she had been downing all night. This left Colin Jost a little sticky and nauseated himself.
Plus, Pete Davidson also did some commentary on Update which seemed oddly out of place on this episode of SNL. He complains to Colin Jost about how the anchorman can date someone famous, Scarlett Johansson, and not catch any heat while he’s under constant scrutiny for dating the rich and well-known. Then Pete, who seems to want people to stay out of his business, for some reason, announced he was going into treatment over the holiday break. If you want to avoid your own depression, avoid this bit which comes right after Gumby’s triumphant return.
Finally, Weekend Update ends with its new annual holiday tradition where Colin Jost and Michael Che write jokes for each other to perform without ever seeing them beforehand. Naturally, during this hilarious holiday tradition, Jost comes off as racist while Che sounds like a sexual deviant.
Back to tonight’s sketches, there are a couple on this evening’s SNL rerun which didn’t involve Eddie Murphy’s former characters. SNL brought back the “Baking Championships” sketch for a holiday edition. This sketch follows the regular formula of bakers competing against each other, but unfortunately creating baked monstrosities while denigrating themselves to the judges.
One thing to watch for this sketch in tonight’s repeat is an Eddie Murphy slip-of-the-tongue. There’s a 100% chance it will be edited out of the encore, but in the original, live version of this sketch, Eddie Murphy screams at his holiday cake, “We can still win this shit!”. The most adorable part of this uncensored moment was Eddie Murphy covering his mouth immediately afterwards like a child who was caught accidentally swearing. Hopefully, SNL will leave it in. After all, a little “shit” never hurt anyone.
The closing sketch takes place at Santa’s workshop with a “North Pole News Report” with anchorman Rick Sugarplum (cast member Alex Moffat). There’s been an attack on the elves and Eddie Murphy plays an elf who witnessed the horror of it. “It don’t matter what his name is!!” He’s trying to warn everyone while putting the blame firmly on Santa’s shoulders.
There’s also an SNL – Digital Short on this episode celebrating family at the holidays. Saturday Night Live usually does this type of short before the Christmas break. It’s where the dad, in this case Eddie Murphy, is reminiscing about the joys of Christmas and his sweet sentiments are juxtaposed next to scenes displaying the nightmare of having company at Christmas. Maya Rudolph makes a cameo in this short.
We have the promos for you watch for Eddie Murphy’s return to Saturday Night Live including the first released promo which is a 4-plus minute highlight reel of Eddie’s funniest moments and most popular characters and impressions from his time on Saturday Night Live in the early 80’s.
In the next promo, Eddie Murphy is joined by musical guest Lizzo and cast member Kenan Thompson to get ready for the “best night ever!”. We find out what Kenan wanted for Christmas plus we get some twerking, “sexual chocolate” and a throwback to “The Klumps“.
Eddie Murphy is hosting an encore presentation of this ratings juggernaut episode of Saturday Night Live with musical guest Lizzo. This SNL repeat begins at 11:30pm et tonight on NBC.
Saturday Night Live returns live on Saturday, February 29th with your host, stand up comedian extraordinaire, John Mulaney!