Comedian Eddie Murphy will make his much-anticipated return to NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this weekend after 35 years and recognizes that the stakes are high.
"You don't want to wait 30 years to come back and the show ain't s---," Murphy told the "TODAY" show. "It be like people clapping, going, 'I thought he was going to be so much funnier than this.'"
Murphy, who first earned national attention as a cast member on "SNL" from 1980-84, was known for bringing audiences some of their favorite characters, including Mr. Robinson, a parody of Fred Rogers, and Gumby, who coined the catchphrase, "I'm Gumby, dammit!"
As for which characters he'll be bringing back on Saturday's show, Murphy hinted that Gumby would be among them.
"Usually we'll do characters that were popular," Murphy said. "We've been talking about different things, talking about a Gumby thing, talking about a Buckwheat thing and talking about a Bill Cosby thing."
"I don't know if he would think it was funny, but it'd be very funny," Murphy added about doing a sketchy on Cosby, who lost an appeal to overturn his sexual assault conviction this month.
It's been 35 years since Murphy appeared on "SNL" and in that time, he's continued to build an illustrious comedy and film career. He was recently nominated for a best actor Golden Globe for his role in "Dolemite Is My Name," a film he both starred in and produced.
"The timing couldn't be better," Murphy said. "That's why I feel like a dream."
Murphy briefly appeared "SNL" in 2015 for a 40-year anniversary special, but did not make any jokes during the show. There has been widespread speculation that Murphy has not otherwise appeared on the show because he was angered over being the butt of a joke. During a mid-'90s sketch, cast member David Spade said, "Look children, it's a falling star!" while a picture of Murphy appeared on screen. Murphy, at the time, had appeared in two movies that flopped, "Vampire in Brooklyn" and "Harlem Nights."
“What really irritated me about it at the time was that it was a career shot. It was like, ‘Hey, come on, man, it’s one thing for you guys to do a joke about some movie of mine, but my career?'" Murphy said of the joke in a 2011 Rolling Stone cover story. "I’m one of you guys."
Murphy, who is also known for his music background and has released five studio albums, will appear alongside musical guest Lizzo on Saturday, but says he has no plans to actually sing alongside her. Instead, the father of 10 said he's excited to have his children see him onstage, performing where he developed his craft.
"They did a little remodeling in the offices, but it was still the same spirit up here," Murphy told "TODAY." "This is like the Harvard for comic actors, and I knew I was doing something at a special place."