Saturday Night Live aired its ninth season during the 1983–1984 television season on NBC. The ninth season started on October 8, 1983 and ended on May 12, 1984.
Before the start of the season the entire cast returned for another season. The only change was the hiring (and firing, then rehiring) of Jim Belushi (brother of late SNL cast member John Belushi).
The notable moment of season was when Eddie Murphy left the show mid-season. After 48 Hours, Murphy's star began to eclipse that of Joe Piscopo's. From the start of season 7, Dick Ebersol made it clear that his strategy was to showcase Murphy and Piscopo as much as possible while all the other cast members would play mainly supporting roles and were treated with very little patience by the producers.
When Murphy's 48 Hours co-star Nick Nolte dropped out of hosting at the last minute, Ebersol offered Murphy the chance to host — a move that Piscopo would perceive as a major slight. Piscopo would later claim Ebersol used Murphy's success to divide the two erstwhile friends and play them against one another. Others countered that Piscopo was simply being a prima donna; said one writer, "Eddie Murphy's fame went to Joe Piscopo's head."
Ebersol had taken Hall off Weekend Update (known as Saturday Night News during this time) mid-season. The segment then had a revolving door of other anchors mostly involving the episode's host and, in one case, Joe Piscopo (although Piscopo only introduced a commentary and didn't tell any actual jokes).
Future cast member Billy Crystal hosted twice this season: once with musical guest Al Jarreau and again on the season finale with Ed Koch, Edwin Newman, Betty Thomas, and former castmember Don Novello.
This season's writers were Jim Belushi, Andy Breckman, Robin Duke, Adam Green, Mary Gross, Nate Herman, Tim Kazurinsky, Kevin Kelton, Andy Kurtzman, Michael McCarthy, Eddie Murphy, Pamela Norris, Margaret Oberman, Joe Piscopo, Andrew Smith, Bob Tischler, Eliot Wald and Herb Sargent. The head writers were Bob Tischler and Andrew Smith.
Don Rickles repeatedly ad-libs extra lines and gestures throughout his sketches (mostly with Joe Piscopo), causing other cast members to break character, and a few sketches even include improvised face-slapping competitions.