'SNL': Why Eddie Murphy Didn't Return to Show for 35 Years

Eddie Murphy has made his return to sketch comedy Saturday on the final SNL of 2019. Murphy is the second alum to make a long-awaited return to the show after Adam Sandler's hosting appearance back in May. But as E! Online lays out, Murphy's return carries more weight for the show than Sandler.

Both are megastars that launched from SNL into fame, but Murphy holds a special spot that can't be compared to anybody else.

His presence on the show is only rivaled by the time he spent in a self-imposed exile that followed a joke at his expense by David Spade. During one of Spade's Hollywood Minute segments, the cast member made a joke about Murphy's career that referred to him as a fallen star. According to Murphy in a Rolling Stone interview from 2011, it was one of a few times the show took a shot at him.

"They were s—ty to me on Saturday Night Live a couple of times after I'd left the show," Murphy told the outlet. "They said some s—ty things. There was that David Spade sketch. I made a stink about it, it became part of the folklore. What really irritated me about it at the time was that it was a career shot. It was like, 'Hey, come on, man, it's one thing for you guys to do a joke about some movie of mine, but my career? I'm one of you guys. How many people have come off this show whose careers really are f—d up, and you guys are s—ing on me?' And you know every joke has to go through all the producers, and ultimately, you know Lorne or whoever says, [Lorne Michaels voice] 'OK, it's OK to make this career crack…'"

The joke dropped around 1995 according to E! News, around the time when Murphy's Vampire in Brooklyn was released. Prior to this, Murphy had hosted one time since leaving SNL and would now be "boycotting" the show until 2015.

By the 2011 Rolling Stone interview, Murphy had let his sour feelings pass and even forgave Spade. The Tommy Boy star recounted his fear of seeing Murphy in his 2015 memoir, telling the story of the moment Murphy spoke to him during a chance meeting in Beverly Hills.

"My old-school fear came crashing back. Should I say something? We hadn't spoken in almost 20 years at this point. Before I knew it, Murphy had spotted me through the windshield," Spade wrote in his book. "He stopped in the middle of the street and I walked over. Through the open passenger window he said, 'Hey, Spade, how are you doing?' I reached in and shook his hand. I said, 'Hey, Eddie. Glad we're good.' 'Take it easy,' he said."

Murphy appeared during a special segment of SNL's 40th-anniversary special, opening the door for a possible return to host when the time was right. With the release of Dolemite Is My Name and a potential return to stand-up comedy, Murphy and SNL finally pulled the trigger.

The comedian has teased the return of many characters from his tenure on the show, including Gumby and Buckwheat.


"I'm down for whatever, as long as it's really, really funny," he told Al Roker during a TODAY interview earlier in the week.

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