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Eddie Murphy Shared a Funny Obama Story on The Late Show
Eddie Murphy is very much back—the legendary comic is starring in a well-received new Netflix film, Dolemite is My Name, working on a sequel to Coming to America, and will even return to Saturday Night Live later this year for a hosting stint. He’s also mounting a return to stand-up, which is something that should make one former president pretty happy.
Murphy appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Friday, and he described an encounter with Barack Obama after he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2015. “When I saw him in the White House he first thing [Obama] asked me was, ‘When are you going to to stand-up again?'” Murphy told Colbert.
He also revealed that Obama asked him a pretty funny question: Apparently, the salt-and-pepper president wanted to know the secret behind Murphy’s jet-black hair. “He said, ‘What kind of rinse are you using?’” Murphy said of Obama. “‘You don’t have any grey hairs.’”
“So it’s a great picture I have of me in the White House, and we’re like talking,” he continued, “And at that moment he’s going, ‘What kind of rinse do you use?’”
Murphy also confirmed that he’d be hosting SNL’s Christmas episode this season, and said he plans to reprise some of his classic bits, like Gumby and “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood.” Murphy was part of SNL’s cast between 1980 and 1984, but he distanced himself from the show in the wake of a nineties sketch that followed two Murphy-helmed cinematic flops and found David Spade joking that the actor was a “falling star.”
“What really irritated me about it at the time was that it was a career shot,” Murphy told Rolling Stone in 2011. “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? I’m one of you guys. How many people have come off this show whose careers really are fucked up, and you guys are shitting on me?’”
But he and Spade have since buried the hatchet, and Murphy’s slated to host the show’s December 21st episode. “SNL is such a big part of who I am,” he told Colbert Friday.
The comic also revealed the answer to Obama’s question: According to Murphy, his head hair stays black the natural way, though he’s sprouted some grays in his nose and mustache. Check out the clip below.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.