Why David Spade Regrets That Infamous SNL Joke About Eddie Murphy

When David Spade was on Saturday Night Live, he took a shot at Eddie Murphy during his “Hollywood Minute” segment, calling him a falling star and asking children to make a wish. Murphy, a former SNL cast member, was so offended that he screamed at Spade over the phone and didn’t return to the show for more than a decade. Now, Spade has opened up about what happened, admitting he actually regrets making the joke. Here’s what he had to say in a recent op ed:

I know for a fact that I can’t take it when it comes my way. It’s horrible for all the same reasons. I’ve come to see Eddie’s point on this one. Everybody in showbiz wants people to like them. That’s how you get fans. But when you get reamed in a sketch or online or however, that shit staaaangs. And it can add up quickly. Then before you know it you’re a punch line—just look at Vanilla Ice and five hundred million others.

Spade recently wrote about the experience over at Salon, noting that at the time, he was so happy just to have a popular segment on the show that he didn’t really care whose feelings he was hurting with the bit. He went on to say that some of the writers on the show were continually egging him on in terms of who to blast on the air, and Eddie Murphy just seemed like a prime candidate since he’d had a couple of flops in a row.

If you don't remember the clip in question, it takes a shot at a few unmemorable Murphy films, including Vampire in Brooklyn, which can't even be purchased on Blu-ray, if that tells you anything. You can check out the joke, below.

I honestly feel the Eddie Murphy joke is more innocuous than a few others that eventually appeared in the popular segment, but obviously Murphy didn’t take it that way. Instead, he called Spade up at 30 Rock and tore him a new asshole, telling Spade he was “off-limits” and a “dumb motherfucker,” according to Spade. However, the Joe Dirt 2 actor now says he does know where Murphy was coming from when the whole incident went down.

But the truth was that when you are famous, you never want someone on a supposedly cool show to say you’re not cool. Even if the person saying it is a nobody like me. Fame is so fragile and fleeting, and it can disappear for a million reasons. A jab like the one I had directed at Eddie can be the thing that starts to turn public opinion against someone. I try not to think of the casualties when I do rough jokes, but there are consequences sometimes.

At this point, the two have let bygones be bygones, and Murphy even returned to Saturday Night Live for the 40th Anniversary special last season. Still, it’s an interesting look at how actions can affect relationships or even offend celebrities to the point they may be unwilling to return to host SNL or more.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.