On the last “SNL” of 2019, Eddie Murphy hosted for the first time since he left the show in 1984, and he brought back all of his classic characters for the party. Among them was his Mr. Rogers parody, Mr. Robinson, who showed up to teach boys and girls about the blight of gentrification.
In the (genuinely hilarious) sketch, we learn very quickly that the city Mr. Robinson lives in has changed dramatically in the 35 years since we last saw him.
“I was gone for a bit but now I’m alright. My neighbors were all black but now they white,” Murphy’s Mr. Robinson sang to illustrate how different things are. “The check cashing place turned into a bank, elevator works and the stairs they don’t stank. White people came, and changed everything, but I am still your neighbor.”
Mr. Robinson then set out to explain what gentrification is. “It’s like a magic trick,” he said. “White people pay a lot of money and then poof! All the black people are gone.”
Unlike the wrecked urban wasteland Robinson lived in back in the 80s, his neighborhood is now an extremely “fancy” place. Robinson explained that he was only able to continue living because of “Squatter’s Rights,” which he said is “like finders keepers, but for other people’s houses.”
At that point, he received a visit from his new neighbors, Damon and Mika (Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner). “They paid $1.2 million for an apartment where Mr. Robinson’s friend Frankie used to cook crack,” Robinson explained. Of course, Damon and Mika weren’t there for social reasons, but to accuse Mr. Robinson of stealing their television.
“Don’t worry boys and girls, Mr. Robinson knows just what to say in situations like this,” he said. Then turning to Damon and Mika, he yelled: “Oh you think I stole your TV ’cause I’m black!”
That did the trick, and Damon and Mika left, awkwardly asking Mr. Robinson to attend their holiday party on the way out.
But of course, as it turns out, Mr. Robinson did steal their TV, which he used to display the word that best describes his new neighbors — “Racist.”
The sketch ended when Mr. Robinson was confronted by someone who claimed to be his son, so he snuck out the window.
Watch Eddie Murphy as Mr. Robinson above.