How SNL's Kenan Thompson Felt About Working With Eddie Murphy

snl nbc eddie murphy kenan thompson 2019

Superstar Eddie Murphy surprised everyone late last year when he agreed to host Saturday Night Live for the first time since 1984. His late December hosting stint, which marked his first time on the stage since he appeared on the anniversary special in 2015, was a nice Christmas present to fans, but don't think that they were the only ones to be all up in their feelings about getting to see Murphy grace SNL again. Enduring favorite Kenan Thompson, obviously, got the opportunity to meet and work with Murphy on the episode, and now he's opened up about what it was like for him.

Eddie Murphy's success is so directly tied to Saturday Night Live that it can be hard to believe that he wasn't an official part of the show for much longer than his four years in the cast. And, while you might think that Kenan Thompson would have become jaded by working with a wide variety of famous guest hosts during his record-breaking 17 seasons (and counting) of the late night hit, you'd be wrong. At least, that is, wrong when it comes to Thompson working with Eddie Murphy. He recently appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and when asked what it was like to work on SNL with Murphy, said:

[It was] so surreal, honestly. You’re looking at a guy, especially for me, who’s just been bigger than life for my entire existence, you know what I mean? And now he’s sitting in front of me, looking me in my eye, calling me by my name. We’re conversating. We go to the host dinner and all of that, and it’s just like very intimate all of a sudden with one of your greatest, greatest heroes, you know? And it was incredible. Six days of that. And he just got more and more comfortable with everybody and more open and cracking jokes. By the time we were doing Thursday promos with Lizzo, he was just all into it. Having a great time and laughing. . . . And it just looked like everybody’s energy was towards him in a positive way, wanting him to have a great show. It was amazing.

I really love that Kenan Thompson explained part of the experience of working with Eddie Murphy on SNL as being "surreal." When Murphy was asked about his return to host last year, he admitted that he felt the same thing, but noted that it was "a good feeling" and "kinda dreamy" for him, seeing as how it wasn't as different to work with the latest cast as we might have expected.

There are very few funny people, comedians especially, who wouldn't say that Eddie Murphy has been at least some kind of influence on them as they developed their talent. Murphy's gift at everything from doing impressions and wild characters, to his ability to give us honest portrayals of very real characters facing human challenges have made him one of our biggest movie stars, along with seeing him nominated for an Oscar because of his role in 2007's Dreamgirls. So, it makes a lot of sense that Thompson was a bit weirded out by sitting face to face with one of his "greatest, greatest heroes" for a week.

Luckily, it sounds like any of the weirdness of Eddie Murphy hosting faded away for Kenan Thompson and everyone else involved, and Murphy was able to knock his time back on SNL out of the park as he dropped an appropriately timed curse word and brought back some of his beloved characters.

Saturday Night Live will be back on NBC at some point in the near future, but doesn't have a return date right now. Be sure to check out this fall's premieres so you can see what to watch in the coming weeks!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.