Comedian Eddie Murphy refused to play Bill Cosby in an eleventh-hour decision that played out in an awkward pause on the live broadcast of the 40th anniversary special of “Saturday Night Live.”
“He will not kick a man when he is down,” explained Norm Macdonald, the SNL cast member that tried to talk Murphy into doing the sketch.
The sketch Macdonald wanted would have had Murphy wearing a multicolor sweater and reprising his famous Bill Cosby impersonation. Murphy-as-Cosby would step behind a bar and begin mixing a drink. “When he speaks, he is Cosby,” wrote Macdonald. “Eddie Murphy doing a perfect Cosby impression. The audience does not let him finish. The sketch ends.”
“He knew the laughs would bring the house down. Eddie Murphy knows what will work on SNL better than anyone. Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down.
Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs.”
Macdonald spent over an hour convincing Murphy to play Cosby. When Murphy made that last-minute decision to not play Cosby on air, he was left without any jokes or skits, and very little to do in the actual broadcast.
That’s okay, though, according to Norm Macdonald:
For his part, Bill Cosby is grateful that Murphy refused to play him, saying through a spokesman: "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions."