Eddie Murphy to host 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time in 35 years
Saturday Night Live took to Twitter on Monday to announce that Eddie Murphy will return to host SNL - 35 years since his last stint on the late-night variety show.
The erstwhile SNL star last hosted an episode of the show back in 1984 - and although he returned with several other former cast members for the show's 40th anniversary show in 2015 - his brief performance was largely deemed to be underwhelming.
After the anniversary episode, Murphy disclosed to the Washington Post that he was asked to play Bill Cosby - something that he wasn't comfortable doing. At the time, Cosby was embroiled in a slew of sexual assault allegations. He was later found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against a Toronto woman, which he was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison for in 2018.
"There's nothing funny about it. If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you're just hurting people," he told the publication. "You're hurting him. You're hurting his accusers. I was like, 'Hey, I'm coming back to SNL for the anniversary, I'm not turning my moment on the show into this other thing.'"
SNL cast member, Keenan Thompson, ultimately played Cosby during the special, and Murphy had a brief stint on stage, after Chris Rock paid homage to his comedic legacy.
"If SNL hadn't hired Murphy, this show would've lasted half as long as Baywatch," Rock quipped, corroborating the frequent assertion that Murphy was responsible for bolstering a floundering SNL in the 1980's.
The 58-year-old then thanked SNL for his time on the show. He did not, however, reprise any of his old characters, or crack any jokes on the anniversary special. In fact, Murphy has not done any live comedy in decades.
There has recently been speculation that Murphy will return to standup. During an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the actor told Jerry Seinfeld that it was a possibly, and afterwards, Vanity Fair reported that Murphy had entered into negotiations with Netflix, with the streaming service allegedly offering Murphy upwards of $70 million for a comedy special.
Murphy is not the only celebrity that will appear on the upcoming season of SNL. Woody Harrelson will host the first episode, due to air on the 28th September, with Billie Eilish as a musical guest.