As it turns out, former stand-up comedian Eddie Murphy is also a stand-up guy.
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special aired earlier this year in February, but Eddie waited until now to reveal why he refused to impersonate embattled comedian Bill Cosby.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Eddie says that impersonating Bill would have been hurtful to both Bill and his accusers. Read the excerpt below.
The real Eddie Murphy likes to stay connected but not too connected. He has big-screen TVs all around the house but doesn’t tweet or Instagram. In that spirit, he seems blissfully unaware of the hapless photographer who documents his daily coffee runs with girlfriend Paige Butcher. He acts surprised to hear of the hype that surrounded his return to SNL this year for the show’s 40th anniversary — and the chatter over his decision not to perform.
But he’s not afraid to address that night, when he surprised even his friends by doing no more than thanking the crowd.
So what happened? Simple. They wanted him to play Bill Cosby. Because nobody does a better Bill Cosby than Eddie Murphy. Except the timing was more than a little awkward.
“I totally understood,” Murphy says, speaking about the anniversary show for the first time. “It was the biggest thing in the news at the time. I can see why they thought it would be funny, and the sketch that Norm [Macdonald] wrote was hysterical.”
So why not?
“It’s horrible,” he says. “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.’”
Stand-up guy indeed.
To read Eddie’s complete cover story, click here.