Eddie Murphy Wouldn't Mock Bill Cosby on 'SNL' 40th Anniversary Special on NBC, Norm Macdonald Explains What Happened

2:34 PM EST 2/19/2015 by Tam Woods, Celebeat Reporter

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After all of the hype of Eddie Murphy returning to the Saturday Night Live stage after 30 years, his airtime on the Sunday night special was surprisingly short. Now we are learning the reason for his abrupt showing. Murphy was asked to impersonate Bill Cosby but ended up refusing. 

Norm Macdonald also made an appearance at the SNL 40th Anniversary and gave some insight as to what happened with several tweets that he sent out. The Hollywood Reporter put them all together, and you can read them below. 

Fellow SNL alum Norm Macdonald posted a long string of tweets Wednesday, revealing that he and the show's other writers wanted Murphy to play Bill Cosby during the Celebrity Jeopardy segment. The bit would would involve cutting to Cosby, who would be mixing drinks in a video supposedly taped in the summer, before numerous sexual allegations against him resurfaced. According to Macdonald, who reprised his role as Burt Reynolds in the sketch, the SNL team went to mutual friend Brett Ratner, who relayed the plan to Murphy. At first, Murphy was hesitant, but Macdonald said he had heard that Murphy was coming around to the idea because he would be playing Cosby before the many claims came out. On the weekend of the show, Macdonald still didn't know whether Murphy would do it, so he spent an hour discussing things with Murphy in Murphy's discussing room. "When it's over, I'm convinced he'll do it," Macdonald said. "He doesn't." In Murphy's place, current SNL castmemeber Kenan Thompson played Cosby. Macdonald said that Murphy "knew the laughs would bring the house down," as the star "knows what will work on SNL better than anyone." But Murphy ultimately decided that "the laughs are not worth it," Macdonald said. "He will not kick a man when he is down," Macdonald continued. "Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs."

Bill Cosby got wind of Murphy's decision and issued the following statement through a spokesman: "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions." 

Do you agree with Murphy sitting out of the sketch?

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