The coveted holiday special from Saturday Night Live will see the return of one of the show’s favorites. From 1980 to 1984, Murphy called the SNL stage home as the comedian gifted fans with some of the most hilarious characters the show has ever seen. He began his stint on the series at just 19-years-old and even then the world knew that Murphy would go on to become a formidable force in comedy. He did unforgettable impersonations of Stevie Wonder and James Brown, and created characters including the adult Buck Wheat from Little Rascals, the angry Gumby, Mr. Robinson who was the black version of Mister Rogers, and had dozens of other moments that have gone down in SNL history.
As his career took off, Murphy decided to leave the sketch comedy show to pursue other avenues, most notably, film work. Over the years there have been rumors of fallouts between the actor and his former SNL castmates, but all seems to be well 35 years later as Murphy will be the host of the show’s December 21 slot. SNL’s 45th season begins on September 28, so what better way to celebrate such a milestone than to bring back a figure that helped shape the show in the early ’80s.
If you ask Chris Rock, another comedian who was a prominent SNL figure in the early 1990s, Murphy was responsible for keeping SNL afloat when they were sinking. “Out of nowhere, Eddie saved Saturday Night Live, ” he previously stated. “If Saturday Night Live hadn’t hired Eddie Murphy, this show wouldn’t have lasted half as long as Baywatch.”
We gathered a few of Murphy’s most memorable moments from his SNL days, so check them out below and let us know if you have any favorites from the legendary comedian.