Eddie Murphy returns to SNL

Actor-comedian Eddie Murphy returned to host Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years.
Actor-comedian Eddie Murphy returned to host Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years.

Eddie Murphy has made a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live as he hosted the long-running sketch show for the first time in 35 years.

The comedian and actor joined SNL in 1980 before departing four years later to pursue a career in Hollywood.

The 58-year-old is one of the show's most famous and successful graduates, thanks to films including the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy, Trading Places and the Shrek franchise.

Murphy arrived on stage for his opening monologue to chants of "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie" and told the studio audience: "It's great to be back here, finally."

"This is the last episode of 2019," he said, "but if you're black, it's the first episode since I left in 1984."

In a joke about his sizeable progeny, Murphy said: "I had a new baby, just about a year ago. That means I have 10 kids now, 11 if you count Kevin Hart."

Murphy then aimed a barb at Bill Cosby, the now disgraced comedian serving a three to 10-year prison term for drugging and molesting a woman at his home.

He said: "If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in prison, even I would have took that bet."

Murphy, who earlier this month earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Netflix comedy Dolomite Is My Name, later brought out his fellow comedians Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Dave Chappelle.

Murphy brought back some of his most popular comedy characters from his original SNL stint, including his Mister Robinson's Neighbourhood sketch.

The final SNL cold open of the decade was a sketch mocking the latest Democratic Party presidential debates, with Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump.

Australian Associated Press