'SNL' Special: Eddie Murphy Almost Agreed to Impersonate Bill Cosby, Says Norm Macdonald

Bill Cosby released a statement, thanking Murphy for refusing to mock him.

A number of Eddie Murphy fans were disappointed that the star, who gave a brief speech at the recent Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special, did not take part in a comedic segment. As it turns out, he came very close to doing so. 

Fellow SNL alum Norm Macdonald posted a long string of tweets Wednesday, revealing that he and the show's other writers wanted Murphy to play Bill Cosby during the Celebrity Jeopardy segment. The bit would would involve cutting to Cosby, who would be mixing drinks in a video supposedly taped in the summer, before numerous sexual allegations against him resurfaced.

According to Macdonald, who reprised his role as Burt Reynolds in the sketch, the SNL team went to mutual friend Brett Ratner, who relayed the plan to Murphy. At first, Murphy was hesitant, but Macdonald said he had heard that Murphy was coming around to the idea because he would be playing Cosby before the many claims came out.

On the weekend of the show, Macdonald still didn't know whether Murphy, who has a long history of impersonating Cosby in his stand-up act, would do it, so Macdonald spent an hour discussing things with Murphy in Murphy's discussing room.

"When it's over, I'm convinced he'll do it," Macdonald said. "He doesn't." In Murphy's place, current SNL castmemeber Kenan Thompson played Cosby

See more 'SNL': Inside the Show's 40 Most Defining Moments (Photos)

Macdonald said that Murphy "knew the laughs would bring the house down," as the star "knows what will work on SNL better than anyone." But Murphy ultimately decided that "the laughs are not worth it," Macdonald said. 

"He will not kick a man when he is down," Macdonald continued. "Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs."

Cosby responded to Murphy's refusal to mock him on the show, releasing a statement through a spokesperson saying, "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions."

Several of Macdonald's tweets can be seen below.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@pgmedia.org
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

comments powered by Disqus