One of the top highlights from Eddie Murphy’s first hosting stint on Saturday Night Live in 35 years came in the opening monologue where he brought back his Bill Cosby impersonation while taking a shot at the disgraced comedian.
“If you told me 30 years ago that I’d be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have took that bet,” Murphy said, adding in Cosby’s voice, “Who is America’s dad now?” (you can watch the monologue above).
Cosby’s team was not amused. On the official Instagram account of The Cosby Show star, now serving a 10-year sentence for sexual assault, his publicist Andrew Wyatt on Sunday night posted a strongly worded statement slamming Murphy.
“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,” Wyatt wrote. “It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to SNL and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby. One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave.”
There is a long history between the two comedians. In Murphy’s 1987 standup film Eddie Murphy Raw, he talked about getting a call from Cosby in which Cosby berated him for cursing on stage, blasted his parenting skills and labeled him a bad role model to his kids.
Wyatt proposed another conversation. “Hopefully, you will be amenable to having a meeting of the minds conversation, in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down together,” he said. (Read the full post below.)
In addition to his monologues, which featured surprise appearances by fellow comedy stars Chappelle, Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan, in his SNL return Murohy reprised a number of popular characters from his days as a casting member, including Mr. Robinson, Gumby and Velvet Jones.