Eddie Murphy’s return to Saturday Night Live was a triumphant one and fetched the weekly NBC sketch comedy program its highest ratings in over two years. That said, at least one person didn’t find the lauded efforts of the legendary comic very funny.
Late Sunday (December 22), Bill Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, released a statement via Bill Cosby’s Instagram account and criticized Murphy’s performance, particularly his opening monologue on SNL, during which he took shots at Cosby.
“My kids are actually pretty much my whole life now,” said Murphy during his monologue. “And you know what—if you told me thirty years ago that I would be this boring, stay-at-home, you know, house dad, and Bill Cosby would be in jail? Even I would have taken that bet. Who is America’s dad now?”
In response, Wyatt, via Cosby, called Murphy a “Hollywood Slave” and said of his act, “Stepin Fetchit plus cooning equals the destruction of Black Men in Hollywood.” Wyatt also noted all of Cosby’s accomplishments in Hollywood.
“Mr. Cosby became the first Black to win an Emmy for his role in I Spy and Mr. Cosby broke color barriers in the Entertainment Industry, so that Blacks like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappell, Kevin Hart and et al., could have an opportunity to showcase their talents for many generations to come,” he wrote. “It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to SNL and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby.”
The comments made by Bill Cosby’s representation seem rich considering Cosby’s been accused of policing Black culture for decades. Back in 1987, during Murphy’s famed stand-up special Raw, Murphy had a bit about Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, claiming Cosby called him and told him his act was “too dirty.”
“I sat and listened to this man chastise me, and when Bill Cosby chastise you, you forget you’re grown,” he said to audience laughter. “You feel like one of the Cosby kids. I ran in the house to talk to Bill and to pick up the telephone and Bill got real raw with me.”
In 2007, Cosby denied Murphy’s account of their conversation and called him a “liar.”
“Eddie is a liar,” said Cosby at the time. “And Malcolm-Jamal Warner was in that room and heard me talk to Eddie on the telephone. And Malcolm knows that is not what I said to him. … this is a very nasty, nasty liar. Period.”
Bill Cosby is currently serving a three to 10-year prison sentence after being convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault last spring.