The legendary comic also talks about playing multiple characters for "Coming 2 America" and how many classic "SNL" characters he hopes to reprise.
The legendary comedian is largely considered to be the only bright spot in those dark years in the first half of the 1980s after Lorne Micheals and the original "Not Ready for Primetime Players" left the show. Almost cancelled, "SNL" limped along on Eddie's back until Lorne came back and revitalized it with a whole new cast.
Suffice to say, it wasn't a great time for "SNL" in general, though Eddie got some classic characters out of it, including Buckwheat, Gumby (dammit!), Velvet Jones, and the Mr. Rogers spoof, Mr. Robinson.
And while he can't say for sure what might happen when he takes the stage again after all this time, he did tell Ellen DeGeneres that he "would imagine" he'll bring back some or even all of them. "Young people are going who are these characters?" he joked.
What Ellen wanted to know, though, was why go back at all after all those years? Eddie had done a fine job of distancing himself from those tumultuous years when he was the youngest cast-member on the show and gone on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet. Well, it turns out it's that thing that gets everyone eventually: nostalgia.
"They had the 40th anniversary a few years back and I went there and I saw everybody and I saw all the other actors and actresses and people in the crew and I got this big burst of nostalgia and I started feeling like, 'Oh, I want to go back," the 58-year-old recalled. He had notably avoided cast reunions and retrospectives about the show until this one.
"I've been wanting to go back there since then," he said of the 2015 special. "But wanted to go at the right time." That time, apparently, is now as he's facing Oscar buzz for his work in the Netflix film "Dolemite Is My Name," based on the real-life blaxploitation star and comedian Rudy Ray Moore.
But it's another project that Eddie appears to be even more proud of, and it marks another return to the original golden era of his career. "Coming 2 America' not only reunites Eddie with co-stars Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, John Amos, Paul Bates and James Earl Jones, but also reunites him with all of the characters he played in the 1988 original.
And that's not all, as Eddie revealed he's added at least one new character, described as an "old farmer."
"Every time I do a makeup movie, I always say it's the last time I'm doing this shit," he told Ellen. "Then I always wind up back in the makeup chair."
Then, after a beat, he added, "So I'm never doing it again now."
And yet, we somehow don't believe him. Not to mention, he's sure to wind up right back in that makeup chair when he hits the "SNL" stage on December 21, with musical guest Lizzo.
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