Eddie Murphy made his name as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” On the last episode of the decade, he finally returned after 35 years.
The comedian was on 65 episodes of the show from 1980 to 1984. He also hosted the show in late 1984, but despite dozens of blockbuster films in the interim, he’d never been back.
“It’s great to be back here finally hosting ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Murphy said during his monologue. “But if you’re black this is the first episode since I left here back in 1984.”
It was almost 35 years to the day since he was last on the show: when he hosted on Dec. 15, 1984 alongside musical guest Robert Plant. Doug Flutie, who retired from football 13 years ago, also made a cameo on the episode after winning the Heisman Trophy.
The actor was joined on stage during his monologue by some of the biggest black comedians of the past three decades, including Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and longtime current cast member Kenan Thompson.
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world — my kids love Lizzo,” Chris Rock cracked, referring to the musical guest.
He brought back “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood,” a play on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” one of his famous sketches from his time on the
“Can you say gentrification?” he said. “White people pay a lot of money and then, ‘poof,’ all of the black people are gone!”
He met his new neighbors, who “paid $1.2 million for an apartment where my neighbor used to cook crack.”
And of course he returned as Buckwheat, now as a surprise contestant on “The Masked Singer.” He proceeded to reel off a number of hit songs with incorrect lyrics.
After the judges said they’d missed him the past 30 years, Buckwheat responded, “Just remember wherever I am, I’m doing ‘otay.'”
He also brought back Gumby (dammit!) for “Weekend Update,” but bemoaned being left for so late in the show.
“I saved this damn show from the gutter,” he shouted. “Shame on you, Lorne Michaels!”
You can read the rest of Mark Osborne’s article at ABCnews.com