Norm Macdonald posted a very long series of tweets last night about Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary reunion special, and in it, he explains why Eddie Murphy didn't have a more prominent role on the special. Murphy, who hadn't returned to the SNL studio in more than three decades, only ended up on stage for 70 seconds, and all he did was give thanks for "being remembered for his contribution to the show," People reports. But the writers originally wanted Murphy to play Bill Cosby in a Celebrity Jeopardy sketch that would also feature Macdonald as Burt Reynolds. It was Macdonald's job to convince Murphy, and they talked it over for "a good hour," Macdonald tweeted. The idea was a video Daily Double with the category of "potent potables," Macdonald said, in which "Cosby would be mixing a drink in a video that was taped 6 months ago."
So what was the problem? Murphy "knew the laughs would bring the house down. Eddie Murphy knows what will work on SNL better than any one," Macdonald tweeted. But "Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down. Eddie Murphy, I realize, is not like the rest of us. Eddie does not need the laughs." According to the Daily Beast, Cosby responded to the Murphy story by saying, "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions." Over at Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams scoffs at the idea that Cosby is "down," writing, "You don’t want to do a bit, don’t do a bit, but don’t you dare turn it into an 'Aw, shucks, let’s go easy on the guy. Hasn’t he suffered enough?' moment." The skit did go on, with Kenan Thompson as Cosby. As for Murphy, Mediaite reports that his actual appearance on the show was extremely awkward, and NBC edited it to make it appear less so. Watch Celebrity Jeopardy and the edited version of Murphy's appearance in the gallery. (Read more Bill Cosby stories.)