Eddie Murphy Almost Gave Us This Epic SNL 40 Sketch

Saturday Night Live drew a lot of laughs and viewers for SNL 40 last weekend, and the Internet had much to discuss. Part of the conversation was about Eddie Murphy’s return for the first time in over 30 years, and the lack of pizazz exhibited by the energetic entertainer. Fellow guest and SNL alum Norm Macdonald revealed that he attempted to get Murphy involved in the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch for the Bill Cosby gag, but it just didn’t come together.

Macdonald told an epic 2-hour-long Twitter story, complete with tangents, that started out explaining the origins and thought process behind he and Steve Higgins writing Celebrity Jeopardy, and then shifted to an ode to Eddie Murphy and the attempt made to get him to use the game show sketch as his point of return. For all intents and purposes, it would have been the same Video Daily Double concept that was done during the show, just with Eddie Murphy in the sweater rather than Kenan Thompson. Of course, that changes the entire dynamic of the bit. I mean, this was funny, but…


It wouldn’t be as immediately obvious that Murphy was doing Cosby, assuming the sweater wasn’t extravagant, and he would take his time mixing a drink as the audience is assumedly still cheering his presence. And then…

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That would have been an extremely surreal moment in TV history, rather than just a normal SNL impression. Macdonald said Murphy was contacted while with director Brett Ratner, and wasn’t comfortable with it but thought it might be fine since it would be an impression predating all of the rape allegations. But there was still work to be done.

After talking with Lorne Michael, who told him just to ask Murphy in person, Macdonald finally sat with Murphy in his dressing room “a good hour.” After the talk was done, Macdonald was convinced Murphy will do the bit, but obviously it didn’t happen at all. Macdonald wasn’t upset, though, and understands that even though Murphy was aware of how huge a moment it would be, it wasn’t his moment to make.

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In the end, it isn’t as if some big part of our lives is worse for only seeing Eddie Murphy standing rather calmly on stage for a couple of minutes rather than getting into sketch mode. But Macdonald’s story-weaving makes it seem like pop culture missed out on the alternative.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.