Eddie Murphy on Declining to Play Bill Cosby on ‘SNL 40': ‘There’s Nothing Funny About It’

“If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people,” comedian reveals in new interview

Eddie Murphy is opening up about his decision to turn down returning to “Saturday Night Live” to play Bill Cosby during a sketch for the show’s 40th anniversary.

“It’s horrible,” he told The Washington Post. “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.’ ”

In February during the airing of the show, Murphy appeared on stage briefly, but did not play Bill Cosby during a “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch, which he reportedly was originally slated to do.

According to Norm Macdonald, who co-wrote the sketch, Murphy entertained the idea of portraying Cosby at first. Murphy changed his mind the day before, saying he felt “uncomfortable.”

“He knew the laughs would bring the house down,” Macdonald tweeted. But, he added, Murphy decided “the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down.”

For his part, Murphy agreed that the sketch was hilarious.

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

Kenan Thompson eventually played the embattled comedian in the sketch, which also featured Will Ferrell, Macdonald, Darrell Hammond and Kate McKinnon.

You can watch it below: