Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

UPDATED: Eddie Murphy was supposed to play Bill Cosby on SNL 40

Illustration for article titled UPDATED: Eddie Murphy was supposed to play Bill Cosby on SNL 40

Remember how we were all disappointed in Eddie Murphy’s brief appearance on SNL 40? How we all wondered aloud, perhaps to our TV-watching companion, or to Twitter, or to our AVQ&A feature, why Murphy would come back to the show after 30 years and not perform in a sketch? Here’s the answer.

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According to Norm Macdonald, Eddie Murphy was asked to play Bill Cosby in the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch on SNL 40. It was Macdonald’s job to convince Murphy to play the part during the sketch, and at first it seemed like the Beverly Hills Cop star-turned-Norbit star was game. But then, apparently at the last minute, he changed his mind:

It’s my job to talk him in to doing Jeopardy.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

We talk in his dressing room a good hour. When it’s over, I’m convinced he’ll do it.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

He doesn’t.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

He knew the laughs would bring the house down. Eddie Murphy knows what will work on SNL better than any one.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

Instead, it fell to SNL yeoman Kenan Thompson to don the graying bald cap and Cosby sweater and joke about his “secret drink recipe” for the sketch. Still starstruck, Macdonald seems to respect Murphy’s decision:

Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

Eddie Murphy is the coolest, a rockstar even in a room with actual rockstars.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

But then again, Macdonald is also gracious to the Rolling Stone writer who placed him quite low in the magazine’s all-time ranking of SNL cast members. He’s just a nice guy like that.

UPDATE: With an alacrity not seen in his response to the many rape allegations against him, Bill Cosby has released a statement thanking Murphy for declining to participate in the sketch. “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” Cosby reportedly said through a spokesman.