Here’s the Sketch Eddie Murphy SHOULD HAVE Appeared in on SNL40 (not Celebrity Jeopardy!)

Many fans were disappointed with the limited nature of Eddie Murphy’s long-awaited return to SNL on the 40th Anniversary special. Norm MacDonald’s Twitter tell-all went a long way in satisfying some who wondered why the writers didn’t at least try to get Eddie more involved in the show, but speculation surrounding the specifics of Eddie’s return continues.

Hindsight is 20/20, but allow me to take a moment to “fantasy book” how Eddie Murphy should have been used in the SNL 40th Anniversary special.

By this point, Eddie’s return to Saturday Night Live had been so over-hyped that any sketch he appeared in would have had more potential to disappoint than to live up to the decades-long anticipation. There is no individual skit that could be bigger than Eddie’s return itself, so the sketch he would appear in would need to be about Eddie’s return. It couldn’t be Eddie as a character, it had to be Eddie as Eddie.

So I ask: What classic SNL sketch is tailor-made for the highly-anticipated return of someone that “the show” has done wrong in the past? What talk show sketch provides its guests with a mouthpiece to appear AS THEMSELVES and speak their mind? What sketch would have still allowed for Eddie’s appearance to be limited and conservative (ie. no danger of offending or ‘kicking anyone while they’re down’), but organically provides the live audience with the opportunity that Norm alludes to, for that non-stop applause that would have carried on throughout the sketch, overriding and derailing the skit entirely?

What Up With That?

There is literally no more perfect sketch for Eddie to have appeared in. Hear me out:

The sketch typically opens with an elevated live audience buzz, as an unannounced star is revealed as one of “the show’s” guests. That star says nothing during the host’s intro, just sitting quietly in one of three guest chairs, the other two customarily inhabited by another surprising guest SNL cameo, and Bill Hader’s Lindsey Buckingham.

Imagine Eddie Murphy sitting in one of those chairs. The live audience would have gone crazy. Keep listening:

What Up With That’s three guests always sit quietly, biding their time, waiting patiently for their opportunity to speak as Kenan Thompson’s DeAndre Cole monopolizes the talk show’s entire time slot with his elaborate and sprawling song-and-dance routines.

Cole typically gets to (and angers) his first and second guest, intersplicing more song and dance, along with increasingly ludicrous guest dancers and performers, costing each guest their precious opportunity to share what is on their mind, or promote what they are “appearing on What Up With That?” to promote. Lindsey Buckingham, eternally inhabiting the third chair, has never been allowed a moment to speak, which is the punch line everyone sees coming the moment the curtain draws on the sketch.

Except in this version, DeAndre Cole doesn’t get to Lindsey OR Eddie. Stay with me!

The audience roars in applause at the sight of Eddie in the What’s Up With That? second chair, and with giddy anticipation they laugh every time Cole departs from the show’s format, knowing Eddie will capitalize on his moment to put this attention-obsessed talk show in his place at last, validating not only Lindsey Buckingham but every other jilted guest in What Up With That? history.

Cole finally addresses Eddie Murphy:

“Wow. Eddie Murphy is here.”

Kenan’s lip quivers as he fights a smile and fails. No one realizes the levity of the situation more than he does. Eddie F*cking Murphy is back on Saturday Night Live. This is it. The live audience is irrepressible. Social media goes bananas. The buzz reaches its climax.

“Aww man, we gotta go. We’re out of time.”

Biggest laugh of the night. Eddie has virtually no skin in the game, comes off with an amazing shine, the live and television audience devours every moment. It all feels organic, as the entire skit is built on the “ran out of time because the host wasted it all singing and dancing” trope.

Eddie and “Lindsey” stare back at DeAndre in bitter disappointment. Lindsey absolves Cole with his customary “ahh, no problem DeAndre, let’s try again next show” reprieve. Eddie is not as amused. Cole signs off. Pan out, go to commercial.

And scene. Tell me that wouldn’t have killed.

 

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