Eddie Murphy will make his return to Saturday Night Live, complete with an expected revisit of a roundtable of classic characters, on the show’s days-before-Xmas episode later this month. The comedian's SNL hosting gig comes at a pivotal moment in this chapter of Murphy's career, as he’s garnered strong reviews thanks to his performance in Dolemite Is My Name, and is on the verge of a similarly hyped return to stand-up.
Speaking with Ellen DeGeneres this week, Murphy was asked about a potential shooting date for a Netflix special, and said that his current plans center on kicking off the material-testing phase in early 2020.
"I'm gonna start kinda working [it] out in the beginning of the year and then when it's ready, you know, I'll try to give myself eight or nine months to get it ready," he explained, adding that fans can expect some surprise small club appearances.
"I haven't been back in years and I won't be wearing anything like that . . . Lord have mercy," he joked, pointing to a photo snapped during one of his early career specials. When DeGeneres credited Murphy with bringing the art of stand-up to the arena level, Murphy slightly disagreed.
"That wasn't me that started that," he said. "It kinda grew into that over the years. Stand-up comedy, when we started, you know the biggest gig was opening for somebody or a sitcom or something but over the last 30 years stand-up turned into this big mainstream [thing]. It's like as popular as becoming a singer."
Driving home that point, Murphy pointed out how even saying you're a stand-up comedian gets a different reaction than when he first began hitting the stage.
"When we started it was like, if you were saying you were a comic, it was like being a juggler or a magician or something. Now it's this mainstream thing," he said.
Murphy also talked early career opening slots with Grace Jones and Melissa Manchester, his family (including 10 children), and more.
Dolemite Is My Name, now available on Netflix, will be followed next year by Coming 2 America.