Eddie Murphy played the hits on his first SNL appearance in 35 years, from Mr. Robinson to Buckwheat to pimp how-to writer and huckster Velvet Jones. There was simply no way he wouldn’t bring back Gumby, or rather his angry, cynical, Borscht Belt version of the stop-motion children’s show character. Sure enough, minutes into the night’s Weekend Update, he was there, holding his cigar and railing at his hosts, as though nothing had changed.
His first plaint? That he wasn’t on sooner. “The question, Michael Che, is how the hell are you going to put on a show and not have me in the show until now?” cried Murphy’s Gumby. “I should have been in every damn sketch from the top. I’m the one that made that Eddie Murphy a star!”
Che and Colin Jost brought up a pertinent question: Do the kids today even know Murphy’s Gumby — a character he hasn’t performed in over three decades? “How the hell are people not going to know who I am? I’m Gumby, dammit!” was his reply.
He wasn’t less bitter with age, and his rants seemed like they might be similar to Murphy’s own. “ I saved this damn show from the gutter, and it’s thanks to me,” Gumby raged. “This is the thanks I get? For saving this show? Shame on you, Lorne Michaels! Shame on you, NBC! Shame on you!”
And whither Pokey, Gumby’s kindly horse friend? “He’s in a glue factory, for all I care,” Gumby retorted. “I can’t believe this: I make my triumphant return, and you’re talking about a can of dog food?”
Murphy actually broke character at one point, unable to keep a straight face as he railed against everyone and everything. But he got it back together in time to insult Che and Jost a bit more. “I pass kidney stones with more personality than the two of you,” he told them. “The two of you together couldn’t Velcro my sneakers!”
You can watch the full sketch above.