It’s been more than 35 years since Eddie Murphy put away his Gumby costume, emptied the drain on “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party” and bid farewell to the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” the sketch show that helped make him a comedy star. Though he quickly returned to host the show in December 1984, Murphy later got into a feud with “S.N.L.” when a joke about his career offended him — thanks very much, David Spade — but he buried the hatchet just in time to make a short, sentimental appearance on the “S.N.L.” 40th anniversary special in 2015.
Now, Murphy is preparing to return to Studio 8H in a more substantial way: He will be the host of “Saturday Night Live” for its Dec. 21 broadcast, NBC said on Monday as it announced a wide-ranging batch of hosts and musical artists who will be participating in the late-night comedy show’s coming 45th season.
Woody Harrelson will host the “S.N.L.” season premiere on Sept. 28, and will be joined by the pop singer Billie Eilish, NBC said in the announcement. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the “Fleabag” star and creator of TV’s “Killing Eve,” will host on Oct. 5, and the musical guest will be Taylor Swift, who we presume needs no introduction. David Harbour, of “Stranger Things,” is the host of the Oct. 12 episode, and Camila Cabello is the musical guest.
Kristen Stewart was also announced to host the Nov. 2 episode of “Saturday Night Live.” No musicians were immediately named for that broadcast or the episode that Murphy will host in December. NBC did not immediately comment on any possible changes to the “S.N.L.” cast for the coming season.
Dave Itzkoff is a culture reporter whose latest book, “Robin,” a biography of Robin Williams, was published in May. @ditzkoff
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