Last month, Eddie Murphy sent Saturday Night Live off to its midseason pause with a historic return. But for the comedic icon who saved the show after its infamous parting of ways with the original cast and its creator, there was almost nothing to come back to.
In a recent interview for SNL’s “Stories from the Show” segment, Murphy detailed his ascent to the top ranks of the late-night roster and how unintentionally faking out head writer, Michael O’Donoghue, saved his slot. Recalling the second mass firing of the cast in 1980, Murphy explains how only he and Joe Piscopo were kept on to anchor the show. But in his case, it was only because the late O’Donoghue was convinced Murphy ate actual dog food in a Weekend Update bit (it was hash,) as some sort of token of his commitment.
Murphy goes on to recount how his earliest years on the late-night institution were filled with hard-fought victories, still commuting on the LIRR as he was making a name for himself on screen and, occasionally, having to steal a set of hubcaps when he’d return to his car and find his own had gone missing.
Watch Eddie Murphy run through those early Saturday Night Live years below.
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