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The comedian’s appearance had been highly anticipated by fans, seeing as his last was in 2015 for the variety sketch show’s 40th anniversary. The studio audience even chanted his name at the top of the monologue.
The 58-year-old comedian kicked things off by saying, “This is the last episode of 2019, but if you’re black, this is the first episode since I left back in 1984.” He then showed a photo of himself, commenting, “You know what they say — ‘Money don’t crack.'”
Referencing his newborn baby, Murphy said, “If you told me 30 years ago that I’d be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have took that bet.” The comedian then imitated the disgraced actor, asking the audience, “Who is America’s Dad now?”
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Rock said, adding that he’d actually shown up because his kids were fans of the night’s musical guest, Lizzo.
“What a moment we’re having!” Murphy declared as Chappelle joined the growing ensemble.
“When was the last time we were together like this?” Murphy asked. “Last week when we were at Sinbad’s,” Rock replied.
Current SNL castmember Beck Bennett tried to jump in, but Kenan Thompson promptly threw him out.
On Sunday, Bill Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, responded to Murphy on Cosby’s Instagram page: “Mr. Cosby became the first Black to win an Emmy for his role in I Spy and Mr. Cosby broke color barriers in the Entertainment Industry, so that Blacks like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappell, Kevin Hart and et al., could have an opportunity to showcase their talents for many generations to come. It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to SNL and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby. One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave. Stepin Fetchit plus cooning equals the destruction of Black Men in Hollywood. Remember, Mr. Murphy, that Bill Cosby became legendary because he used comedy to humanize all races, religions and genders; but your attacking Mr. Cosby helps you embark on just becoming click bait. Hopefully, you will be amenable to having a meeting of the minds conversation, in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down together.” The post included the hashtags #NotFunnySNL, #FarFromFinished and #FreeBillCosby.
Saturday’s gig marked Murphy’s third time as the host of SNL, with the first in 1982 while he was still a castmember and the second in 1984, happening just six months after he’d departed from the show.
The Dolemite Is My Name star has created some of SNL‘s most iconic and humorous characters, and he reprised a few including Gumby and Buckwheat during the episode.
Updated 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22: Added statement from Bill Cosby’s publicist.
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