Saturday Night Live has announced the first batch of hosts for its forthcoming 45th season, and named among the list is one former cast member who hasn’t helmed an episode of the show in 35 years.
Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy will return to SNL as a host on Dec. 21, marking his first gig leading the show since Dec. 15, 1984. Murphy previously joined the show’s cast as an 18-year-old in 1980, spawning classic SNL characters like a grown-up Buckwheat of Little Rascals fame, a more adult-oriented version of the classic claymation character Gumby, and Mr. Rogers parody Mr. Robinson.
Murphy departed from the show in Feb. 1984, but briefly returned for an appearance on SNL’s 40th anniversary special in 2015. Prior to that appearance, Murphy avoided SNL due to a decades-old feud that stemmed from a joke former cast member David Spade made on the show’s “Hollywood Minute” segment about a career rut Murphy found himself in in the 1990s.
“I casually write a joke about Eddie Murphy for my piece that week. You know the line. “Look, kids, a falling star! Quick, make a wish …” Spade recalled in a 2015 piece for Salon. “The burn skims by on air, gets sort of a laugh mixed with an, ‘Ooo no you di‑int’ response, and I think nothing of it.”
Murphy, however, took the quip to heart, with Spade writing that the comedian called him the Monday after the joke aired claiming he was “off-limits.” In 2011, Murphy discussed the feud in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“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,’” Murphy said. “‘How many people have come off this show whose careers really are f- up, and you guys are s- 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 …”
Now, however, with Murphy returning to host SNL, it appears that the moment may be left in the past.