He’s (still) Gumby, dammit!
Eddie Murphy‘s nostalgic trip back to Saturday Night Live featured the return of the grumpy green figure that was a fan-favorite character. In his first appearance in more than 30 years, Gumby dropped by Weekend Update, simply to grumble at co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che for not including him in the show earlier.
“I saved this damn show from the gutter!” Gumby yelled. “And this is the thanks I get? For saving the show? Shame on you, Lorne Michaels! Shame on you, NBC! Shame on you!”
Gumby went on to insult Jost and Che’s skills behind the Weekend Update desk (“I’ve passed kidney stones with more personality than the two of you!”) before scoffing at Che’s suggestion that Gumby simply isn’t a Christmas character (“I’m green and all the children love me!”).
Despite Gumby’s temper, though, there was one aspect of the broadcast that he admitted to enjoying: musical guest Lizzo. (Same, Gumby. Same.)
Murphy was an SNL cast member from 1980 to 1984. He was first brought on as a featured player for Season 6, then promoted to repertory status ahead of Season 7. He was just 19 years old when he got his start. At the time, that made him the youngest hire in SNL history.
During his four-season stint, Murphy popularized some of SNL‘s most beloved characters, including (but not limited to) Buckwheat, Mister Robinson and, of course, Gumby. To this day, he is the only cast member to have hosted the show while he was still a regular (after his 48 Hrs. costar Nick Nolte called out sick in the fall of 1982). He last presided over the program on Dec. 15, 1984, but returned to Studio 8H as recently as 2015 (for a brief appearance during the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special). You can watch one of the earliest Gumby sketches below, which first aired on Saturday, Nov. 5, 1983:
Watch video of Gumby’s big comeback above, then grade Murphy’s SNL homecoming: