One of the highlights of tomorrow’s Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary celebration is the return of one of its most famous cast-members, Eddie Murphy.
Voted the number two cast-member by Rolling Stone Magazine, Murphy created a series of memorable skits during his time on the show. From 1980 to 1984, Murphy ruled the roost with confident swagger, secure in his ability to make everyone around him laugh.
One of the principle reasons to watch SNL during its five-year wilderness without Lorne Michaels, Murphy was a force of nature, something that nobody had ever seen. He stood out from anyone else on TV, mostly by being so young — he was the first post-boomer comedy star, a kid born in the Sixties and down with the Eighties. He mocked SNL’s racial hang-ups (which isn’t to say he made them go away).
Murphy could make any moment memorable — the shooting of Buckwheat, the boiling of Larry the Lobster, the C-I-L-L-ing of his landlord. But he was funny just standing still, as in the classic Tootsie sketch that basically consisted of Gary Kroeger putting makeup on Murphy. He knew how to stare into a TV camera like he owned it.
Greatest hit: His 1981 “Kill My Landlord” poem remains a heartwarming piece of verse. “Dark and lonely on the summer night/Kill my landlord, kill my landlord/Watchdog barking — do he bite?”
Check out some of his memorable clips below, including his last appearance on the show, December 15, 1984.
“Kill My Landlord, Kill My Landlord”
“Eddie’s Message for America’s Youth”
“Kill the White People”
“Father and Son: Stereotypes”
“Velvet Jones ‘Be a HO”
“Murphy Last Appearance on SNL”