If you were alive in the 1980s, then you probably already know that Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood on SNL was a skit that featured Eddie Murphy when he was still young, fresh, and edgy.
Back then, most of us had never seen anyone quite like the dude who would go in to star in movies that run the gamut from Trading Places to Shrek.
I mean, here was a guy who lit up the room with his smile, who looked at you with those sparkling, inviting eyes and made you think he was your best on-screen friend.
Why, he’d probably invite you over for a cup of tea if he saw you in person.
And then he’d say something so wholly outrageous that you thought you must have misheard him.
He’d do it all without losing an ounce of that twinkle and warmth, too. Was he just jacking with us all along?
But it didn’t really matter at all.
What mattered was that Eddie Murphy left us rolling on the floor more regularly than a bag of marbles on the ship in The Tempest.
And Mr. Robinson may have been Murphy at his finest.
An obvious send-up of Mr. Rogers, Robinson lived in a rundown apartment in the projects of some big city (did we ever know which one?) and taught “lessons” to all us boys and girls watching from home.
It was absolutely priceless … and also forbidden, so you had to make sure your parents didn’t catch you watching.
That’s not much of a problem these days, as NBC has most of their Saturday Night Live skits archive locked down tightly.
Luckily, though, YouTube still offers up a couple of Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood episodes from those halcyon days of SNL for your enjoyment.
That’s them just below … so … you know … enjoy.
Mr. Robinson’s Christmas
This skit starts off with Mr. Robinson donning his Santa gear and demonstrating how he rings a bell for collections on the street corner to avoid eviction … and goes downhill from there.
He’s a Santa who likes to take things from home sometimes.
He’s an innovator who sticks a head of lettuce on a doll body to create “Cabbage Patch” dolls he can sell to “stupid” little kids..
He knows how to spell “X-MAS” … and “X-CON.”
Yep, this Mr. Robinson has everything a parent could want.
Mr. Robinson’s Nutrition
We join Mr. Robinson just as he returns from the grocery store, where he’s picked up a $46 bag of vittles.
You know, as the price some poor lady paid when she offered Robinson a quarter to carry her bag to her car. Instead, he carried it all the way home.
Once he’s settled in, Mr. Robinson runs us through the seven basic food groups, which include meat & meat byproducts, sandwiches, and frozen foods.
This episode also treats us to a visit from our old friend Mr. Landlord … who’s helping the cops track down the local shoplifter.
Mr. Robinson and Mr. Landlord
This episode opens with Mr. Robinson in a seemingly cheerful mood, but we soon learn that things are a little more … um … raw than they first appeared.
See, just that very morning, Robinson’s wife left him, and he has a few choice words to share with us on that topic.
And then there’s a knock at the door, and we’re introduced to Mr. Landlord, an uptight dude played deftly by Tim Kazurinsky, intent on serving an eviction notice to our intrepid hero.
As you might imagine, more choice words emerge.
Overall, this episode is quite an educational experience!
Mr. Robinson’s Summer Advice
We join the action as summer descends on Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood, and our protagonist is here to help all the boys and girls figure out how to make money during the hot months.
We could sell lemonade.
We could sell stereos.
We could sell clothes and jewelry with body parts still attached.
Yes, it’s all a great lesson in how to be a great “ontapanure.”
And, as always, Mr. Robinson is popular and attracts a visitor … a nice policeman who prompts Robinson to demonstrate the proper usage of a fire escape.
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