Eddie Murphy’s return to ‘Saturday Night Live’ features jokes about Atlanta, T.I. 

Buckwheat, Mr. Robinson, Gumby and Velvet Jones are back!

Originally posted Sunday, December 22, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Eddie Murphy came back to host “Saturday Night Live” for the first time in 35 years, reviving some of his classic sketch characters. Atlanta became a punchline — though not in a bad way. 

During Murphy’s revival of his classic “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” sketch , his sketchy character remains but his neighbors are now all white thanks to something called “gentrification.”
“It’s like a magic trick,” Mr. Robinson explained. “White people pay a lot of money and poof! All the black people are gone! But where do they go boys and girls? Back to where they came from, of course: Atlanta!”

There was some rust in Murphy’s live sketch skills. 

During a cake competition skit, Murphy accidentally uttered the word “s***” and made a face after saying it, aware he wasn’t supposed to. 

And he broke character multiple times, sometimes stumbling over his words.

His Buckwheat brought back the joke that he is hard to understand in an unfortunately tepid “Masked Singer” parody. 

But his angry Gumby character worked well during Weekend Update where he complained that he wasn’t in more sketches. “I saved the damn show from the gutter!” Gumby said. “Shame on you Lorne Michaels! Shame on you NBC!”

Anchor Michael Che said people probably don’t even remember him. “I get to sit here and listen to this black bastard telling me people don’t remember who I am,” Murphy said angrily, but then pausing to giggle. “You know why you sit behind this desk? Cos your jokes don’t have legs,  you schmutz! I pass kidney stones with more personality than the two of you!”  

Che and Colin Jost also kept losing it. 

After the newscast, the writers brought back “Black Jeopardy” and Murphy resurrected Velvet Jones, promoting multiple books about being a “Ho” including “I Wanna Be a Ho.” (I’ve always been one so there’s that...)

Jones is clearly not politically correct. 

“You know about  #MeToo right?” host Darnell (Kenan Thompson) said. 

Jones: “Of course! You like ho’s? Me too!” 

Murphy was on fire during the final sketch of the night as a frantic witness to a fire and a crazy polar bear attack on an elf’s workshop, breaking character just once. As AV Club later said, it was that original sketch that proved why Murphy is so good at this and why he literally saved “SNL” from the embers more than 35 years ago

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.