Eddie Murphy is back on ‘SNL’ after a 35 year absence, bringing back his most iconic characters including Buckwheat, Gumby, Velvet Jones & Mister Robinson!
Eddie Murphy has returned home! The 58-year-old hasn’t appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch since 1984, and he didn’t disappoint with the return of his beloved Buckwheat character competing on The Masked Singer. “Now we have a real special Christmas surprise, so without further adieu, please help me welcome my new mystery man — corn on the cob!” Chris Redd as Nick Cannon announced (also, we laughed out loud when he added, “If anyone knows how to beat Eminem in a feud — please let me know!”). The sunglass wearing corn then took over the stage with a — erm — very off-tune version of Elvis Presley‘s “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”
The judges seemingly guessed the corn was, indeed, Buckwheat as Eddie appeared to be hiding under the hilarious costume! “It’s me, Buckheat! Remember me?” he exclaimed, as he jumped right into a second medley including “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) by Stevie Wonder, a festive take of “Feliz Navidad,” Aretha Franklin‘s classic “Respect” and Beyonce‘s “Single Ladies”! “As a doctor, I am diagnosing you as 100% juicy,” Bowen Yang as Ken Jeong exclaimed. The skit was so hilarious, and Eddie looked like he was having the best time on stage!
The best part of the entire episode, though, had to be his iconic Gumby character bulldozing his way onto “Weekend Update” with hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che (who had a hard time keeping a straight face). “They know who the hell it is, I’m GUMBY! The question is, Michael Che, how the hell are you going to put on a show and not have ME?” he announced, full green suit and all. Though he perhaps looked a tad out of place at a news desk, Eddie’s green Gumby has ego for days. “I’m the one who made Eddie Murphy a STAR!” he confidently added, and didn’t stop there! “I’m Gumby, I saved this damn show from the gutter. And it’s thanks to me — and this is the thanks I get? Shame on you Lorne Micheals!” Lorne, of course, is the longtime show runner of SNL — but interestingly, Eddie and Lorne didn’t actually work together: Lorne departed in 1980, only to return in 1985, missing Eddie’s career-making run which helped save SNL from cancellation.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 22, 2019
Gumby didn’t stop his wacky behavior, even opting to smoke a cigar on stage. “I’m Gumby, who’s going to stop me?” he asked Colin, who tried to contain the giggles! Seemingly, the grumpy ‘children’s’ character didn’t seem too enthused by the “Weekend Update” co-hosts and had no problem letting them now what he really thought of the suit-wearing duo. “You know why you’re sitting behind this desk? Because your jokes don’t have legs, you schmucks! I pass kidney stones with more personality than the two of you!” Colin and Michael seemed lost for words at the insult, as Gumby confirmed he thought Lizzo was a “real beauty” but had to depart for an unexpected reason. “I’m an old man, I got to get to bed early to take my morning dump…in the morning, I take a dump,” he confirmed, in case the audience didn’t hear him the first time.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 22, 2019
While many remember Gumby a children’s cartoon character, Eddie’s take as a forgotten actor in show business became one of his signature impressions! His best-remembered skit is when Gumby attempts to produce his very own biopic film — green skin and all — and tries to ditch his salty personality for that of a romantic lead. Gumby is often thought to be one of the gateway characters to Eddie’s wildly successful film career to follow, particularly is it showcased his ability to completely transform into a character. “Oh yeah, I’m gonna do Gumby,” the Nutty Professor actor teased to Jimmy Kimmel on Oct. 25.
Though there were several iconic characters that became synonymous with Eddie, it was difficult to forget his take on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, aptly called “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood.” Making its debut in 1981, Mr. Robinson ditched the family friendly vibe for lessons from the streets. His Velvet Jones character — otherwise known as a less-than-smooth pimp who can turn anyone into a sex worker with a how-to book — is another classic that stands the test of time! “Usually when people go back, they do characters that were popular on the show like Buckwheat, and Gumby, and Velvet Jones,” Eddie said on Ellen DeGeneres on Dec. 5, hilariously joking that “Young people are going, ‘Who are these characters?’
The throwbacks didn’t stop there, as Velvet Jones promptly made an appearance in the “Black Jeopardy” sketch hosted by none other than Kenan Thompson. “What a shame, why spend good money on classes when you can learn in my basement? It’s all in my new book — ‘How To Dance Like A Ho’,” he offered. “Mr. Jones, folks are going to be upset on the internet if you keep talking like that,” Kenan warned. “I don’t think there’s anything more sexy than a woman that makes her own cash,” Velvet continued, promoting yet another book: “A** For Cash.” Velvet may have looked straight out of the early 1980’s, but he proved that he’s embraced the modern era! “From your own bedroom…a book on how to be a strong independent Instagram ho!” Wow!
Eddie’s return to the Saturday Night Live stage has had many old school fans counting down to the Dec. 21 date! The actor was an integral part of the series as a regular cast member from 1980 – 1984, and has often been credited for helping save the series from cancellation (at the time, show runner Lorne Michaels had departed and the series earned the not-so-nice nickname “Saturday Night Dead”). “Out of nowhere, Eddie saved Saturday Night Live,” comedian Chris Rock joked on the 40th anniversary special in 2015. “If ‘Saturday Night Live’ hadn’t hired Eddie Murphy, this show wouldn’t have lasted half as long as Baywatch.” Eddie was only 19 when he joined the show, making him the youngest cast member at the time and one of the youngest ever — but he ended up departing on somewhat of a sour note, saying that he “could not wait to leave” at the time.