Eddie Murphy reveals why he refused to play Bill Cosby for 'SNL 40' special

During the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy was offered the chance to perform a skit poking fun at comedian Bill Cosby in the light of the sexual assault scandal that had, at the time, only recently come to light. However, Murphy turned down the skit, and now, he has explained his reasoning.

“It’s horrible,” Murphy told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday. “There’s nothing funny about it. If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people. You’re hurting him. You’re hurting his accusers. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m coming back to SNL for the anniversary, I’m not turning my moment on the show into this other thing.'”

Still, Murphy went on, he “totally understood” why the skit was written and why the show wanted to pursue it.

“It was the biggest thing in the news at the time,” Murphy said. “I can see why they thought it would be funny, and the sketch that Norm [Macdonald] wrote was hysterical.”

When the anniversary special first aired, Murphy’s decision not to portray Cosby had been explained by Macdonald in a series of tweets, which said, “he will not kick a man when he is down.”