On April 23rd, 1988, stand-up comedian and actor Eddie Murphy made history by becoming the first African American to host “Saturday Night Live” since the show’s inception in 1975. The episode, which was the 13th of the show’s 13th season, remains one of the most iconic moments in the history of “Saturday Night Live” and in the career of Eddie Murphy.

At the time, Murphy was already a massive star, having risen to fame through his work on “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s, as well as through his successful film career. He had starred in hits like “48 Hrs.,” “Trading Places,” and “Beverly Hills Cop,” and was considered one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Murphy’s return to “Saturday Night Live” as host was highly anticipated, and he did not disappoint. His opening monologue, in which he joked about his own success and the fact that he was the first African American host in over a decade, set the tone for the rest of the episode. Murphy’s comedic timing and delivery were spot-on, and he proved to be just as hilarious on the “Saturday Night Live” stage as he was on the big screen.

One of the most memorable sketches from the episode was “White Like Me,” in which Murphy donned prosthetics and makeup to pass as a white man. The sketch was a biting commentary on the realities of racial inequality in America, and remains a powerful example of Murphy’s ability to use comedy to address serious issues.

Another standout sketch from the episode was “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party,” in which Murphy played the legendary singer and bandleader hosting a party in his hot tub with a group of celebrities. The sketch was a showcase of Murphy’s impersonation skills, as well as his ability to bring his own unique comedic flair to any character he played.

Murphy’s historic turn as host of “Saturday Night Live” paved the way for more diverse voices and perspectives on the show. Since then, “Saturday Night Live” has had a number of African American hosts, including Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle, among others.

Eddie Murphy’s impact on comedy and entertainment cannot be overstated. He was a trailblazer who broke down barriers for African American performers, and his influence can be seen in the work of countless comedians and actors who have followed in his footsteps. His historic turn as host of “Saturday Night Live” on April 23rd, 1988, remains a defining moment in the history of both the show and the world of comedy as a whole.

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