Entertainment

Norm Macdonald Says Eddie Murphy Wouldn’t Play Bill Cosby On The “SNL” Anniversary Special

The Saturday Night Live alum, who co-wrote the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch, revealed on Twitter that Murphy did not want to the play the comedian, who has been faced with numerous sexual assault allegations in recent months. UPDATE: Bill Cosby thanks Eddie Murphy. “I applaud his actions.”

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Eddie Murphy’s appearance on the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special on Sunday marked the first time the legendary alum had stepped foot on the Studio 8H stage in more than 30 years.

Though his time on the special was short, according to fellow alum Norm Macdonald, the writers had originally planned to give Murphy more screen time.

Macdonald — who wrote and performed on SNL in the ’90s in addition to anchoring the “Weekend Update” desk — helped craft the event and revealed in a series of tweets on Wednesday that Murphy was originally asked to play Bill Cosby in the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch he co-wrote with Steve Higgins.

Here’s what Macdonald said transpired:

It was perfect. It was all Steve Higgins idea.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

The iconic doors would open and on to home base would step Eddie Murphy. The audience would know what to do.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

Why is Eddie wearing a multi-colored sweater?He steps behind the bar, begins mixing a drink. The audience covers the fact he has not spoken.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

When he speaks, he is Cosby. Eddie Murphy doing a perfect Cosby impression. The audience does not let him finish. The sketch ends.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

The first thing to do is cut down the number of contestant/impressions and the second is to contact Eddie and to convince him to do it.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

The middle man to talk to Eddie was @BrettRatner, a cool guy who knows a great deal about comedy. He was with Eddie somewhere.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

So, the talks were underway. "Brett says Eddie doesn't feel comfortable", "Eddie says 'maybe it's ok since he's doing pre-allegation Cosby"

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

And on and on it went. I had not spoken to Eddie or @BrettRatner. I was dead sure Eddie would do it. Most others were not.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

And so it was Saturday and Bill Murray may not make it and Eddie Murphy may not do Jeopardy and who was in charge of Update?

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

And chaos seemed ready to sink it all. So I went to Lorne.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

And Lorne was in his office,which overlooks 8H,which overlooks 40 years of memories.And he was looking out the window, down on to the floor.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

And I was very nervous and he was perfectly calm. "Perhaps it would help if you called Eddie", and that was that.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

I'm standing with my son, Lori Jo, and Chris Rock. We see Eddie from 100 yards away.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

Rock says, "There he is. Like Ali in Zaire." Eddie, Bomaye.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

He doesn't.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

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

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

Quite a week.

— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald)

Those who watched know current SNL cast member Kenan Thompson ended up playing Cosby (an ironic turn of events as Thompson played Fat Albert in the 2004 film adaptation of Cosby’s beloved cartoon).

Watch the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch as it aired on NBC on Sunday:

hulu.com

BuzzFeed News’ requests for comment from Murphy’s and NBC’s reps were not immediately returned.

update

Bill Cosby issued a statement to NBC News about Murphy’s refusal to play him. “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” Cosby said.

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