NEW YORK (MEDIA GENERAL) – It’s the kind of behind-the-scenes wrangling viewers don’t always get to hear about. One of the oddest parts of Saturday Night Live’s epic 40th Anniversary Special was Eddie Murphy’s odd and brief appearance. His introduction went on and on, but he barely spoke. Now, we know why.
Comedian and writer, Norm Macdonald tweeted dozens of times about his process of helping to create the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch in the SNL special. He had the job of convincing Eddie Murphy to play Bill Cosby and make a joke about the sexual assault accusations Cosby is facing. Murphy was supposed to be mixing a drink in a bright colored Cosby-like sweater in a video Jeopardy answer.
Macdonald’s tweets explain the back-and-forth between the two men. Macdonald sings Murphy’s praises writing, “To every comedian who ever performed on SNL, what Eddie accomplished was unthinkable.” He wrote this show was in-part supposed to be about the return of Murphy to SNL. According to Macdonald, Murphy has distanced himself from SNL after a rude comment by David Spade many years ago.
Macdonald said he talked to Murphy for an hour before the show trying to convince him to do the sketch. He thought he would do it. But, in the end, “Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down,” Macdonald wrote. He said Murphy wasn’t like the rest of the comedians.
In the end, Murphy didn’t do the sketch. He barely said anything after his introduction. After the story came out Thursday, Cosby’s spokesperson gave NBC this statement from the Cosby. “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions.”