Eddie Murphy Explains Why Being Mocked By 'SNL' Had A 'Racist' Sting To It

Eddie Murphy hasn’t forgotten how “Saturday Night Live” once mocked a low point in his career.

The “Beverly Hills Cop” actor reflected on his relationship with the storied sketch show during an episode of The New York Times’ “The Interview” podcast released this weekend, recalling how one joke about him seemed like a “cheap shot” with “racist” undertones.

During a sketch called “Hollywood Minute” that aired in December 1995, “SNL” cast member David Spade laughed at Murphy’s box office flop from that year, “Vampire in Brooklyn,” and showed a photo of the comedian on screen, saying, “Look, children, it’s a falling star. Make a wish.”

Murphy, who spent four years on “SNL” in the ’80s, told the Times he felt like the crack was completely out of line.

“It was like, ‘Yo, it’s in-house! I’m one of the family, and you’re fucking with me like that?’ It hurt my feelings like that,” he said.

The “Raw” comic found the bit particularly disrespectful, knowing how he’s been credited with reviving much of the sketch series’ shine during his four-season run on it.

Murphy attends the premiere of
Murphy attends the premiere of "Candy Cane Lane" in November 2023. In a new interview for The New York Times' "The Interview" podcast, he looked back on a particularly personal joke "SNL" once made at his expense. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

“I’m the biggest thing that ever came off that show,” Murphy said. “The show would have been off the air if I didn’t go back on the show, and now you got somebody from the cast making a crack about my career? And I know that he can’t just say that.”

“A joke has to go through these channels,” he continued. “So the producers thought it was OK to say that. And all the people that have been on that show, you’ve never heard nobody make no joke about anybody’s career. ... It was personal. It was like, ‘Yo, how could you do that?’ My career? Really? A joke about my career? So I thought that was a cheap shot. And it was kind of racist.”

While Murphy told the Times he ended up turning his back on “SNL” for nearly three decades, he eventually made peace with the joke.

“In the long run, it’s all good, worked out great. I’m cool with David Spade, I’m cool with Lorne Michaels,” he said, noting how he returned for the show’s 40th anniversary in 2015 and again to host in 2019.

“It’s all love, but I had a couple of cheap shots,” Murphy added.