Comedian and SNL alum Norm McDonald would later reveal in a series of Tweets that Murphy was written into a sketch in which he would play Bill Cosby, but changed his mind about the idea at the last second because he did not want to “kick a man when he is down.”
Murphy finally addressed the situation himself in a recent interview with The Washington Post, essentially confirming that he didn’t want to hurt Cosby, who was being accused of rape by numerous women.
“It’s horrible,” Murphy told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday. “There’s nothing funny about it. If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people. You’re hurting him. You’re hurting his accusers. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m coming back to SNL for the anniversary, I’m not turning my moment on the show into this other thing.’”
Still, Murphy went on to say that he “totally understood” why the skit was written and why the show wanted to capitalize on the moment.
“It was the biggest thing in the news at the time,” Murphy said. “I can see why they thought it would be funny, and the sketch that Norm [Macdonald] wrote was hysterical.”
Eddie, who hasn’t told a joke to a live audience since 1987, is considering a return to the stage, but he also confesses that the anger that made him unstoppable at his peak – and catapulted him to superstardom – isn’t there anymore.
“That’s the carrot,” Murphy says. “Every now and then when I think about it, I think, ‘What would I even talk about onstage?’ It’s never been, ‘I wonder if I’m funny. I wonder if I can come up with jokes.’ It’s more, ‘What would it be like without the leather suit and the anger?’”