Saturday Night Live: Eddie Murphy / Lizzo
December 22, 2019 3:59 AM - Season 45, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Eddie Murphy hosts for the first time since 1984, breaking Mick Jagger's record (34 years) of longest gap between hosting appearances.

  • Cold Open - Dem Debate: Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Kate McKinnon, Colin Jost, Heather Dratch, Larry David, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong, Alec Baldwin
  • Monologue: Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson
  • Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood: Eddie Murphy, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner
  • Holiday Baking Championship: Alex Moffatt, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Ego Nwodim, Beck Bennett, Eddie Murphy, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney
  • Home for the Holidays: Eddie Murphy, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Mikey Day, Maya Rudolph
  • The Masked Singer - Buckwheat: Chris Redd, Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Bowen Yang, Melissa Villaseñor, Eddie Murphy
  • Lizzo - Truth Hurts
  • Weekend Update: Colin Jost, Michael Che
    • Gumby: Eddie Murphy
    • Pete Davidson: Pete Davidson
    • Jeanine Pirro: Cecily Strong
  • Black Jeopardy: Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodim, Eddie Murphy
  • Lizzo - Good As Hell
  • North Pole News: Alex Moffatt, Mikey Day, Eddie Murphy, Chloe Fineman, Cecily Strong
Cut for time:
posted by rhizome (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I thought it was a good episode. I knew going in that they'd have to bring back some of his classic characters but I didn't think they'd do as many as they did.

The Cold Open was sort of predictable. I want Maya Rudolph and Rachel (not Heather) Dratch to show up in everything. Jason does a much better Biden than Woody.

Monologue was kind interesting only to see all of them on stage at once. I'm not really sure why Dave Chappelle was there though, since I don't think he was ever a cast member, was he? I loved when Beck Bennett showed up and they quickly tossed him out of there.

Mr. Robinson was funny, and the gentrification premise was a good way to bring it back in 2019.

I groaned when Gumby showed up on WU but then I laughed through the whole thing. He really is... FUNNY. It's been 34 years so when I last saw him it was probably taped on VHS and I didn't get half the jokes.

The Buckwheat sketch felt half-baked, like they just wanted to do "Buckwheat sings the hits" again but knew they had to wrap it in some other premise.

Black Jeopardy! Also felt half done and really suffered from missed lines. Given how late in the evening it was I suspect they stuck it in at the last minute with a lot of unrehearsed changes.

This was my first time really watching and listening to LIzzo for more than a few seconds and... damn. She was good! Just seeing her and her band and dancers up there... that was amazing. I look forward to when she comes back to host.

Unless it was a joke, I think Pete confirmed what a lot of us suspected, that he's still dealing with abuse issues. I wish him well. He looked a bit more healthy last night than he usually does.

The rest of WU was ok, though I could do without Che constantly joking about how he really wants to make a transgender joke but that would be a bad idea. You're still making a joke about it, Mike.

It was a solid episode with some missteps, but given how Murphy was on the 40th special I was kind of worried that this show would be a dud. Glad I was wrong.
posted by bondcliff at 7:15 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Lizzo is that rare star performer where you think holy shit, pop culture got one RIGHT.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:16 AM on December 22, 2019 [21 favorites]

I thought this was a solid episode. It wasn't the best, but it didn't have to be, and it definitely wasn't the worst. It covered all the bases it should have and made Eddie look good, which is the minimum the show owes him.

Fun fact: Larry David was on the show the last time Eddie hosted, too, as a writer.
posted by rhizome at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Sometimes leaning hard into fan service is a good thing.
posted by whuppy at 3:06 PM on December 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

Why was Eddie so squinty?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 5:36 PM on December 22, 2019

I love Eddie Murphy but personally felt he peaked by 1990 - but he's still got it. Looking forward to 'Dolomite' and 'Coming to America 2' - not so sure about 'Beverly Hills Cop 4' though.

Gumby was great, definitely better than Buckwheat. Mr. Robinson's delivery was great but predictable/ cliched and well into "we're not racist, we're joking about racism" territory.

Murphy looks like he's having a blast, that blissed out smile that keeps creeping back onto his face whenever it was allowed to.

All the smoking jokes - smoking was a thing on SNL back in the day?

Surprisingly strong WU.
posted by porpoise at 6:51 PM on December 22, 2019

posted by orange swan at 8:12 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]

This felt like one for the olds, not that I'm complaining. I kept wondering what younger viewers would make of it, people who only knew Murphy from his cruddy family pictures. There was this assumption that we were glad to see Buckwheat again, that we knew who Gumby was, etc. I was right in the target demo and had a fun time, but for younger people this might have been like when I was a kid and nostalgic boomers would wheel out Red Buttons or somebody like that to reprise their old characters. Back then I was always left with this feeling like, "Did that really used to be funny?" The audience in the studio responded like they thought Gumby was as funny as I did, but who knows what the kids at home thought!

Murphy has seemed really checked out for a long time, like he's high all the time or something (his 40th anniversary SNL appearance seemed like they just woke him from a nap,) but here he seemed more engaged than he's been in a few decades. He flubbed enough lines and squinted enough that I wondered if he was having trouble seeing the teleprompter, but there were moments, like the Gumby bit, when he seemed to be wandering off script to great effect, really feeding on the energy of the room. It brought back just how great he used to be.

I could do without Che constantly joking about how he really wants to make a transgender joke but that would be a bad idea.

You know that thing that folks on Metafilter like to say, about how when people show you who they are, you should believe them? He shows us who he is, every week. And it's this.

Was that the longest Weekend Update ever? Not that it dragged, but it seemed like it was about 1/3rd of the show! And I never mind seeing Fred Armisen, but at this point he's on the show so often they may as well just call him part of the cast again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:32 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Felt like a very playing-it-safe episode, which you can get away with when that means Eddie Murphy is bringing back some of his most popular characters after three and a half decades and Lizzo is doing her most popular songs.

Jason Sudeikis as Biden is an improvement over Woody, but I can't help but think that they could just get someone from the current cast to do it. And I had hoped that the narrowing of the field would help them sharpen their takes on the various candidates, but considering half of the people on that stage weren't actually part of the debate that isn't seeming likely.

The Buckwheat sketch seemed like a microcosm of the night, where like the judges I was inexplicably enthralled by a rehash of superficially updated material from before my time.
posted by ckape at 9:54 PM on December 22, 2019

Eddie Murphy was a great sport. We all (age 10-40) enjoyed this very much. First time we haven’t fast forwarded through the musical guest.
posted by gryphonlover at 10:47 PM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

The show was okay. It was fun seeing an older more informed Eddie Murphy trotting out new times on old, worn out characters. But the show itself? Lackluster, but O-TAY.

Lorne once said that if you ask anyone who their favorite cast was, it'd be the cast from the seasons they were in high school. (I'd extend that to early college.) For me, I stared watching in 1982, just as Eddie Murphy was ready to pop, and the interplay between Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo, and the indiosyncracies of the rest of the cast (Kazurinsky! Julia L-D! They had standup comedians on!) really had my attention.

Then, after Eddie became famous, and the show started buckling again, that star-studded Season 10 came out when I was 14. And then it was followed by WTF and the Terry Sweeny show, then Lovitz, Hartman, Dunn, Hooks, Carvey, Miller. So those were my formative years, the cast I was imprinted with, as Lorne may say.

But for me, really, I'm one of those that liked all the seasons, thinks the shows had good and bad times, and there were some horrible seasons, and some great ones. But it's always been uneven—even when Eddie Murphy was (actually) saving the show. So, it was good to see Eddie Murphy not only returning, but to really seem to be having a good time. And he said "shit!" I was wondering how long it'd take for him to drop one of the 7-words. So he was in the moment, and that in and of itself was great even though the sketches themselves kinda became average after Mr. Robinson and the Bakeoff. Those were Good Sketches. the rest? o-tay.

But those two cut-for-times? (THANK YOU for linking to them, by the way.) Those were better than ANY of the sketches they aired all night. Eddie Murphy playing Keytar, while on the phone with his doctor, and not only the pacing of that call but also the overall timing of that whole sketch—it would have been a classic. That would have been Space Pants times 100, squuebidie doo, squeebidi dah, now we know why eddie was a staaaaar🎵🎶🎹

I would have liked to see less Gumby and more White Like Me. More James Brown and less Butt-tweet.

This is a sketch from that 1984 season (which Eddie I think left halfway through). It features Joe Piscopo, Jim Belushi, and George McGovern playing golf in the streets of NYC. I think it really makes the case for Jim Belushi as being one of the most underrated cast members, especially having to establish himself as an individual—he was not trying to be his brother, and he was killing it.
posted by not_on_display at 12:17 AM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

There's kinda only one "White Like Me" piece per generation, isn't there? NRFPTPs had Don't Look Back In Anger; early 80s, White Like Me; late-80s, Love Is A Dream; not sure what there was between that and Dick in a Box, but you get the idea.

Plus, I like that there's only one instance of it, don't mess with perfection!
posted by rhizome at 2:33 PM on December 23, 2019

Tom Schiller was a genius short filmmaker. After that era, I'd also say Synchronized Swimming, and the 60 Minutes investigation into the joke-shop industry, were among the best of SNL's filmed pieces. But yeah, nothing memorable from the 1990's (Madonna meets Wayne & Garth doesn't count)—but then, then LAZY SUNDAY—that's the one that changed the SNL Short Filmed Piece genre. Just about the time when internet video was viable for mass audiences. Dick in a Box perfected that.

I think though my point was that if they're gonna trot out old Eddie pieces and update them for 2019, Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood was a good choice if you wanted some sorta socio-political juxtaposition between "then" and "now". Buckwheat and Gumby, not so much. White Like Me updated, though, would have been scathing.
posted by not_on_display at 4:11 PM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

One of my favorite Eddie Murphy sketches was "Black History Minute" where he almost, but not quite, breaks character. "STOP CLAPPIN BEFORE Y'ALL MAKE ME SMILE" (That episode's write-up in the AV Club)

Also I think I can remember most of the lyrics to "James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party" which is one of the all-time great sketches. Glad he could come back to the show, he is responsible for so many of my best memories of it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:21 PM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite] Tyrone Green
posted by rhizome at 1:04 PM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

Lovitz, Hartman, Dunn, Hooks, Carvey, Miller.

i feel like amy klobuchar is the role nora dunn was born to play

am i wrong?
am i wrong?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not if Denny Dillon isn't available!
posted by rhizome at 12:55 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was out with friends Saturday night, so I watched these on YouTube on Sunday. The sketch I enjoyed most was the North Pole one, where he's basically a live-action Donkey, but that energy worked for the scene. My second favorite was the filmed Family Holiday sketch, then the Gumby bit on Weekend Update. I'm not going to say that the writing for any of this was FANTASTIC, but it was mostly passable (though Black Jeopardy was a train-wreck; the premise was sound, but the execution was bad). I'm disappointed that Mister Robinson is still a hustler and a thief, but he always was, so I guess I was naive to expect that character to be anything else. I do think it was nice that the entire cast got screen time with him.

Lizzo was terrific, but of course she was. I've not seen her give a bad performance on TV yet.

As for younglings, a lot of young people in the comments said they either knew of the old sketches because they'd seen Murphy's Best Of (the consensus being that if you can find the VHS, it's better than the DVD), and/or watching caused them to look up the old sketches on YouTube, and they're funny. Even Pete was aware that at one point in 1984, Eddie had the number one song, movie, and TV show in the country at the same time. So while there may be a few young people out there who see Murphy as a corny old man, more likely than not, he's considered a classic dude and they were happy to see him.
posted by droplet at 1:00 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, so that’s what Henry was talking about.
posted by Monochrome at 4:15 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

How good is Eddie Murphy? He did exactly what everyone has been complaining about since the very beginning of SNL: he predictably showed up with his safe, proven, old characters , and he still fucking annihilated with them.
posted by Etrigan at 5:48 PM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

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