Eddie Murphy will soon be giving Saturday Night Live fans a Christmas present. The actor and comedian wants to resurrect his classic characters from the late-night sketch-comedy when he makes a return to the SNL stage in December for the first time in more than 30 years.
Murphy, who will guest host Saturday Night Live’s Christmas episode on December 21, told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel (via YouTube) that if he has any say in it, he’d like to revive some of his most famous characters from his original turn on SNL back in the 1980s.
“I’m gonna do Gumby. And I’m trying to figure out some reason to do Velvet Jones. And, uh, Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood, And a funny Buckwheat sketch.”
Of course, longtime fans of SNL know the iconic characters that Murphy is referring to.
Gumby was Murphy’s spoof on the classic green claymation character from 1950s/’60s television. Velvet Jones was a TV pitchman who peddled pointless how-to books and get-rich-quick schemes. Mr. Robinson was an inner-city parody on children’s TV host, Mr. Rogers. And Buckwheat was Murphy’s take on the classic character from The Little Rascals.
Murphy’s characters were part of some of the most famous SNL sketches in the early 1980s. The comedian was a regular on the NBC show from 1980 to 1984.
In an interview with Variety, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels praised Murphy as one of the show’s breakout stars during its early era.
“It was a really important time,” Michaels said of Murphy’s tenure on SNL from 1980 to 1984. “And Eddie Murphy may be the biggest star ever to come out of here.”
But in an interview with late-night host Jimmy Fallon, Michaels also admitted that the show later created some bad blood with Murphy by making fun of some of his box office flops, most notably in a mean-spirited sketch starring David Spade in the mid-1990s.
“It was a mistake on our part,” Michaels said of Spade’s jab at Murphy’s career rut, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Longtime fans were disappointed by Murphy’s brief cameo on Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special back in 2015. After a lengthy introduction by Chris Rock, Murphy took the stage at Studio 8H for the first time in decades and gave a brief statement.
“I will always love this show … and let’s have some more show.”
That was it.
But when SNL rolls out the red carpet for Murphy in December, it could even be a full-circle moment for the comedian. No musical guest has been announced yet, but Stevie Wonder has reportedly volunteered for the gig.
Murphy dished to Kimmel about a massive missed opportunity he had with Wonder during his SNL heyday. Murphy told Kimmel he was at Wonder’s studio working on some music when the legendary singer invited him to join him for a special project.
“He was like, ‘Hey, come over. We’re doing this thing.’ And I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m recording the song, Party All the Time,'” Murphy recalled, referencing his own 1985 single. “Then I realized afterward what it was and I felt like an idiot,”
Turns out Murphy turned down an appearance in the star-studded song and music video for “We Are the World.” The Grammy-winning U.SA. for Africa charity single featured almost every notable musician of the era, including Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, and Bruce Springsteen.
You can see Eddie Murphy when he returns to Saturday Night Live on Saturday, December 21 at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.