Eddie Murphy was originally supposed to play Bill Cosby in SNL 40’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch, according to Norm Macdonald, who played Burt Reynolds in the sketch.

Norm Macdonald: Eddie Murphy Was Almost Bill Cosby On SNL 40

Macdonald took to Twitter on Wednesday to give fans some behind-the-scenes scoop on how Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary show came together, and revealed that he and co-writer Steve Higgins had originally envisioned Murphy playing the part of Cosby. Current SNL cast member Kenan Thompson ended up portraying the comedian in the sketch, appearing at the very end as Cosby describing his favorite alcoholic beverage.

On his Twitter page, Macdonald wrote that Higgins originally came up with the idea of a Video Daily Double that would make fun of the allegations against Cosby that he drugged and raped women – around 30 women so far have come forward in the past few months accusing Cosby of sexual assault. Murphy, who returned to the show for the first time on SNL 40, is known for his impersonation of Cosby. In fact, during his time on SNL, he portrayed Cosby multiple times (one sketch, strangely enough, featured Murphy as Cosby giving alcohol to children.)

Macdonald: “[Murphy] will not kick a man when he is down”

Unfortunately, Macdonald said, Murphy decided last minute that he didn’t want to participate in the sketch. “He knew the laughs would bring the house down…Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down,” Macdonald wrote.

Macdonald expressed his deep respect for Murphy’s decision, saying that Murphy could have been the hero of the night had he done Cosby, but instead chose not to. “Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs,” Macdonald wrote.

Judd Apatow, Piers Morgan Weigh In

Piers Morgan tweeted about Macdonald’s behind-the-scenes anecdote, calling Murphy’s decision to refrain from the bit “admirable,” but not everyone was as impressed with Murphy’s decision. Judd Apatow, who frequently speaks out against Cosby, was quick to call out Morgan and Macdonald for their praise of Murphy, writing that by refusing to participate because of Cosby’s current circumstances was “choosing to support a rich rapist over thirty victims.”

Cosby Thanks Murphy

Meanwhile, Cosby released a comment on the story, thanking Murphy for choosing not to participate in the sketch. “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” a spokesperson for Cosby said.

Murphy himself has not commented on Macdonald’s claim, nor has anyone else involved in the production of “Celebrity Jeopardy.” Meanwhile, Cosby is continuing to perform on his comedy tour despite protests.

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