Buckwheat was a wildly popular Eddie Murphy impression based on Billie Thomas' character of the same name in Hal Roach's "Our Gang" shorts of the 1930s and 40s (popularized on television as The Little Rascals). Murphy did many different sketches with the character, some involving some other Little Rascals characters (like Mary Gross's also popular Alfalfa and Joe Piscopo's Froggy). Playing off the character's funny way of talking, one sketch had him releasing an album of cover songs. His catchphrase was "Otay," which was also used in the Buckwheat Jeans ad parody as the name on the jean pocket.
Buckwheat became a character so often asked for and so often done that Eddie Murphy decided to literally kill him on the show. This also served as an opportunity to parody the way news media covered assassinations by replaying the clip of Buckwheat's "shooting" multiple times and repeating the story ad nauseum. The Saturday Night News segment had anchorman Brad Hall focusing mainly on Buckwheat, and Joe Piscopo played Ted Koppel in multiple sketches announcing the death of the character. The following week showed the arrest and interview of Buckwheat's killer, John David Stutts (also played by Eddie Murphy), who is then immediately shot by an unidentified assailant, possibly spoofing the on-camera murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, chief suspect in the murder of President Kennedy.
In later episodes, Buckwheat would still be mentioned, most notably in a sketch with Buckwheat impersonators (a la Elvis impersonators continuing after his death). Eddie Murphy played one in this sketch, and the others argued that his impression of Buckwheat was subpar. A final sketch in late 1984 featured Buckwheat still alive, having faked his death to draw out the shooter, who turned out to be Alfalfa.
broadcasting Buckwheat's death, from the March 12, 1983 episode.]]