Eddie Murphy said 'no' to playing Bill Cosby on SNL anniversary show

Eddie Murphy.
(Image credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Norm Macdonald is spilling secrets now that the SNL 40 episode is over — including the fact that Eddie Murphy turned down playing Bill Cosby in one of the night's most memorable sketches.

On Wednesday, Macdonald spent two hours on Twitter sharing behind the scenes tidbits from the days leading up to the show, discussing what it was like writing with Mike Myers and how it felt to be in the same room with his son and Paul McCartney. But the biggest revelation was Macdonald saying that Murphy had been approached to play Cosby during the "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketch that Macdonald co-wrote. Over the course of many tweets, Macdonald said that he enlisted help from others to get Murphy onboard, and talked with him "for a good hour" once he arrived in New York. He was certain Murphy would go along with the plan, but he declined. "Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it," Macdonald wrote. "He will not kick a man when he is down."

The part ultimately went to Kenan Thompson, and Murphy only trotted out for a few quick words after a fawning introduction from Chris Rock. Macdonald has no hard feelings, writing, "Eddie Murphy is the coolest, a rockstar even in a room with actual rockstars." Read all of Macdonald's tweets in chronological order over at Mashable.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.