Eddie Murphy Talks 'Surreal' Return To SNL And Which Classic Characters He Might Bring Back

eddie murphy saturday night live anniversary special 2015 nbc

Well, Saturday Night Live fans, the day we've all been waiting on for decades is almost here. This weekend, Eddie Murphy will return to host the show that catapulted him to fame for the first time since 1984. Of course, one of the reasons that Murphy hasn't been back to host is that he was very busy being a major movie star, but he's always been very appreciative to the late-night comedy for giving him his start.

While Eddie Murphy has been back to his old SNL stomping grounds at least a couple of times, including when he appeared on the anniversary special in 2015, it would be easy for fans to think that hosting, and the week-long immersion required would be odd for him. But, Murphy recently spoke about his Saturday Night Live return and said that it hasn't been quite as weird as we might expect.

It was kinda surreal, but like a good feeling. But it feels kinda dreamy. . . . No, it’s not [different]. That’s kinda one of the things that makes it dreamy. I mean they did a little remodeling in the offices, but it was still the same spirit up here, and it’s still the same big burst of nostalgia.

Awww. Eddie Murphy sounded very sentimental when talking to Today's Al Roker about spending time on the Saturday Night Live set for his hosting gig. Luckily, the experience hasn't been strange or off-putting for the star. Minus some cosmetic differences in the way the place looks, it sounds like Murphy was able to feel right at home, which is what has made coming back feel so "dreamy" for him.

I can imagine that heading back to a place you loved working at, but hadn't been to in a long time, and feeling the same energy that fueled you the first time around has got to be a wonderful thing. Obviously, this is the kind of mood that means we'll probably see some very good stuff from Eddie Murphy when he hits the stage on Saturday night.

As you will likely already know, it's rare that we don't get "good stuff" from Eddie Murphy. The comedy superstar went from being an SNL standout to movie stardom very quickly. He's spent the past 37 years finding new, intriguing ways to make us laugh, and while not every movie he's done has been a complete winner (or, even a partial winner), that's hardly unprecedented for someone with a career as long as his, and doesn't do anything to take away from everything he's given us on screen.

Eddie Murphy took his first steps toward post-SNL stardom with 1982's 48 Hrs. with Nick Nolte, where the action / comedy saw him play a recently paroled criminal who helps a detective track down a killer. The film was a huge box office and critical hit, and brought Murphy's talents to many who may not have known him from Saturday Night Live. Most actors don't manage to land in a massive hit their first time out of the gate, and some who do aren't able to turn that early success into a string of hits, but Murphy was.

The next year saw Eddie Murphy star in Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis, but he quickly went from sharing top billing to headlining movies on his own, and experienced a string of mostly-hit films that really cemented his place atop the heap of movie stardom. You know the movies I'm talking about, right? Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Doolittle, Mulan, Shrek and a number of sequels for the hits in his catalog have all helped to make Murphy a legend.

On top of Eddie Murphy's success in a wide variety of comedies, action films and family-friendly pics, he also branched out into more dramatic fare, which nabbed him an Oscar nomination in 2007 for his work in Dreamgirls and has brought him a Golden Globe nomination and some Academy Awards buzz for the Netflix biopic Dolemite Is My Name, which came out just a couple of months ago.

Speaking to what we can expect to see this weekend, Al Roker asked Eddie Murphy if we might see him reprise some of the characters that he made very famous during his four year stint on Saturday Night Live, which went from 1980-1984. And, Murphy's fans will be glad to know that the plan is to do just that, and that he's game as long as the skit meets his standards.

We’re talking about a Gumby thing. We’re talking about a Buckwheat thing. And, I told you, we’re talking about a Bill Cosby thing, maybe. It will be very funny. I don’t know if he would think it was funny. . . . Mr. Robinson, if we can come up with a Mr. Robinson, or Velvet Jones. I’m down for whatever, as long as it’s really, really funny.

Man, according to this, Eddie Murphy is willing to go right back into the archives and bring us as many of his old SNL characters as possible during his hosting stint. And, while I would love to see Murphy back in costume as Gumby, Buckwheat or Mr. Robinson, I really would love to see him as James Brown in any capacity. It's also interesting to note that Murphy is willing to do a Bill Cosby skit, seeing as how he refused to play him when doing the SNL anniversary special. I can imagine that skit will be an immediate spotlight moment.

In case you're a bit fuzzy on some of Eddie Murphy's fabulous SNL characters, take a look:

I mean, who doesn't want more of that, amirite? We can all see which characters get a revival when Eddie Murphy hosts Saturday Night Live this week, with musical guest Lizzo, on NBC. For more of what you can watch on the small screen soon, check out our 2020 winter / spring TV release guide and Netflix premiere schedule!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.