Eddie Murphy's Saturday Night Live return proves a hit with viewers

Murphy was an SNL cast member for four years from 1980.

Eddie Murphy’s much-anticipated return to Saturday Night Live brought the sketch show its highest viewer ratings in more than two years, figures reveal.

Murphy departed SNL as a cast member in 1984 and went on to become a major Hollywood star.

He returned as host for the first time on Saturday alongside musical guest Lizzo.

Saturday Night Live
For his Saturday Night Live return, Eddie Murphy was joined by Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock (Will Heath/NBC/PA)

The episode, which featured cameos from comedians Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Dave Chappelle, brought in a total of 9.9 million viewers in the US, according to “fast official” ratings from Nielsen Media Research.

That was the most since a May 2017 episode hosted by actress Melissa McCarthy, which attracted 10.4 million viewers.

Murphy’s return was widely praised by critics.

The 58-year-old, whose film credits include the Beverly Hills Cop franchise and the Shrek series, brought back some of his classic characters from his original stint on SNL such as Mr Robinson, Gumby and Buckwheat.

Murphy also aimed a barb at disgraced comedian Bill Cosby,  the convicted sex offender currently serving a prison sentence.

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