Cosby spox: Eddie Murphy sold himself back into Hollywood slavery on SNL, or something

Someone got the last laugh in the decades-long tension between Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy, and it was … America’s Dad. No, the other one, as Murphy gleefully noted in his return to Saturday Night Live this weekend. And Cosby’s camp is spitting mad over it, too.

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After noting that he has ten children — “eleven if you count Kevin Hart” — Murphy said that few would have guessed that he’d be a “boring” homebody, including himself. And that’s when Murphy took a well-aimed shot at Cosby:

MURPHY: I just had a new baby, incidentally, about a year ago. I actually have ten kids now. [Applause] Thank you. Eleven if you count Kevin Hart. I’m kidding, I love Kevin Hart, I’m just teasing. My kids are pretty much my whole life now. And if you would have told me thirty years ago that I would be this boring, stay-at-home, you know, house dad, and that Bill Cosby would be in jail [laughter] — I would have taken that bet.

[As Cosby] Who is America’s Dad now? [cheers]

For those who remember the rise of Murphy as a fresh comic, this comparison is nothing new. At the time of Murphy’s concert film Eddie Murphy: Raw, Cosby had repeatedly criticized Murphy’s foul language and adults-only comedy, which stung enough that Murphy asked Richard Pryor about it. In one of the most memorable moments of Raw, Murphy related Pryor’s advice, most of which can’t be printed here, but this was the money quote:

“Do the people laugh when you say what you say?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you get paid?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Well, tell Bill I said have a Coke and a smile and shut the f*** up. Jello pudding-eating m****rf****r.”

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At the time of this exchange, Cosby was riding the zenith of mainstream success and social influence on his NBC series The Cosby Show, and Cosby didn’t let Murphy forget it. It’s not entirely surprising, therefore, that Murphy danced on Cosby’s social-standing grave as soon as he returned to stand-up comedy.

This reaction from Camp Cosby, therefore, is only surprising in its extremity. Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt accused Murphy of becoming a “Hollywood slave” in choosing to target Cosby, calling him a sell-out:

Bill Cosby’s publicist hit back at Eddie Murphy on Sunday, calling the comedian a “Hollywood slave” who’d become “clickbait” over his comments about Cosby on “Saturday Night Live.”

On Instagram, Andrew Wyatt said it was “sad” that Murphy — who appeared on the show for the first time Saturday after 35 years — had used his “glorious” return to “disparage” Cosby.

“One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decision,” Wyatt wrote. “But he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood slave.”

That’s, um … quite a turnaround, too. At one point Cosby himself got accused of being on the “plantation” when criticizing other black performers who worked in the adult motif, especially rappers and other comedians. His cultural critiques no doubt set the stage for the backlash against Cosby over the long-simmering accusations of sexual assault and harassment. Wyatt’s concluding shot urging Murphy to talk with him “in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down together” might well have been aimed at Cosby himself by Murphy three decades ago.

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The Forty Years War aside, Stephen Kruiser writes today that for one glorious moment, SNL was actually funny again:

There was a time when SNL was an equal opportunity offender, much like Family Guy is now. After eight years of turning Barack Obama into a sacred cow, followed by three-and-a-half of mistaking Trump complaints for Trump jokes, the show has all but abandoned the idea of being as funny as possible.

Eddie Murphy single-handedly schooled the new kids on what humor really is.

It would be nice if at least a couple of them learned something.

Cosby’s spokesperson hasn’t. We’ll see if SNL has.

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David Strom 5:00 PM | May 23, 2024
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