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Now in Season 40, Saturday Night Live has somehow managed to pull off one of its most amazing hosting lineups ever, getting excellent actors like Chris Pratt and J.K. Simmons up to the forefront for the first time in their respective careers. But the long-running sketch show’s upcoming 40th anniversary special is going to be the cream of this year’s crop, as it’s set to bring back one cast member who hasn’t been around in over 30 years: Eddie Murphy. Cue the iconic chuckle.
Murphy recently spoke with News One Now’s Roland Martin about his burgeoning music career, but it was near the end of their conversation that the once unstoppable comedian dropped the bomb that he would finally return to Saturday Night Live for the first time since leaving the show in 1984. Here’s how he put it when asked about why he’d never gone back to host the show again.
It’s just timing. It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it…They’re actually having a 40th anniversary I think in two weeks. I’m going to that, and that’ll be the first time I’ve been back since I left.”
Visions of Buckwheats are swirling around my head. Can this be real? Murphy, who remains the only SNL cast member to ever host while still a regular player, didn’t actually say that he would be a part of the show’s festivities, but there’s no way he’s going to be anywhere near 30 Rockefeller Plaza that day without making his presence known on stage. And even though his star status hasn’t shone very brightly in quite a while, I’d dare say Murphy could be the most exciting part of the special.
Murphy’s stint on Saturday Night Live didn’t leave a very good taste in his mouth, as he wasn’t given the breadth of material that his co-stars had, despite being arguably the most energetic and hilarious cast member at the time. The split between the actor and the show was not the most amiable, with the dust never quite settling peacefully. But it’s been a long time, and this is a celebration of all things SNL, Murphy’s Gumby included.
News of celebrities returning for Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary has been pretty slight, with the element of surprise no doubt on NBC’s mind. So while we wait to hear about Chevy Chase, Mike Myers and Jon Lovitz, let’s sit back and listen to the soothing sounds of Eddie Murphy’s reggae.
Saturday Night Live’s three-hour 40th anniversary special will air on Sunday, February 15, at 8 p.m. ET. Are you guys ready to see Murphy back on stage?