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In one of the most highly-anticipated moments of "Saturday Night Live's" 40th anniversary special, Eddie Murphy returned to "SNL" for the first time since 1984.
And his first appearance on the show in 30 years lasted exactly 73 seconds.
After a touching, three-and-a-half-minute introduction from Chris Rock — who called Murphy his idol ("I wanted to be Eddie Murphy") and credited the "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Bowfinger" star with saving the NBC comedy show for future comedians like him (without Murphy, Tina Fey "would've been the funniest English professor at Drexel University") — Murphy, 53, took to the stage and received a standing ovation.
To say Murphy's subsequent speech was awkwardly short would be an understatement.
"Hey, isn’t this an incredible night, this night?" Murphy said. "This show is such a big part of who I am and my life. And I’m so happy to be back here. It’s a magical feeling. Actually it feels like going back to my old high school, kind of. It’s a good feeling. I’m really happy that so many people here value the stuff that I did 35 years ago. It makes me feel really happy. I will always love this show and .. let’s have some more show. Let’s have a big round of applause for everybody.”
When the monitors failed to segue to commercial or another montage, Murphy froze.
“I thought that right there you guys were gonna do the ... Well, then let’s do it again," he said. "You know, this has been a helluva night. A real magical evening. You’re always going to be a part of my life.”
Eventually, the producers panned to a photo of Dick Ebersol, "SNL's" former executive producer.
Twitter users hoping for jokes or reprisals of Murphy's iconic "SNL" characters -- like Buckwheat, Mr. Robinson or Gumby -- were none-too-keen on Murphy's far-too-brief, and unfunny, return.
Murphy last appeared on the show Dec. 15, 1984 as host. He notably skipped the "SNL" 25th anniversary and show creator Lorne Michaels has publicly acknowledged some bad blood with Murphy after he approved a sketch in the 1990s that poked fun at one of the comedian's box office bombs.
In an April 2013 panel talk moderated by former "SNL" castmember Martin Short, Michaels called his decision to air the sketch starring David Spade, “a mistake,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I figured it was kind of a clean hit. I didn’t really think about it, but Eddie did,” he said, recounting that Murphy called Spade after the skit saying, “You’re standing on my shoulders, you didn’t get to be there unless I was there.”
On Sunday night's show, all three men were there and the decades-old jab seemed forgotten.
As for Murphy's missing humor, all we can say is maybe he was saving his humor for the after-party.