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Eddie Murphy recalls 'racist' David Spade 'SNL' joke that sparked feud

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Eddie Murphy recalls 'racist' David Spade 'SNL' joke that sparked feud


Eddie Murphy is looking back on some of the “cheap shots” he’s had to endure throughout his career, including one that sparked his longtime feud with David Spade.

The Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F star was asked if he felt like he’d ever been treated unfairly over the years by the press and his costars in a new interview with The New York Times.

“Back in the old days, they used to be relentless on me, and a lot of it was racist stuff,” Murphy replied, noting that at the time “there was no Black Hollywood. There was no rappers, hip-hop. It was the ‘80s.” 

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Eddie Murphy; David Spade.

Kevin Mazur/Getty; Taylor Hill/WireImage


While he acknowledged that it was a “whole different world” as he rose to prominence as a comedian then, he admitted that it stung when Spade said “s-–- about my career” on Saturday Night Live a decade later. 

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

The actor, who starred on SNL from 1980 until 1984, was referring to a 1995 “Hollywood Minute” sketch in which Spade showed a picture of Murphy before quipping, “Look, children, it’s a falling star. Make a wish.” Murphy told the Times that the jab was a response to his 1995 film Vampire in Brooklyn tanking at the box office. 

The dig took him by surprise. “It was like, ‘Hey, hello. This is Saturday Night Live,’” he said. “I’m the biggest thing that ever came off that show. The show would’ve been off the air if I didn’t go back on the show, and now you have somebody from the cast making a crack about my career?” 

Murphy was also miffed that production greenlit the remark. “I know that he can’t just say that — a joke has to go through these channels — so the producers thought it was okay to say that,” he said. “All the people that have been on that show, you’ve never heard nobody make no joke about anybody’s career. Most people that get off that show, they don’t go on and have these amazing careers. It was personal.”

He continued, “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, I thought — I felt it was racist.”

Spade addressed the fallout from the joke in a 1997 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Chris Rock told me, ‘Spade, Eddie’s got his biggest movie in 10 years, a beautiful wife, and he still can’t shake the fact that you took a swipe at him,’” he said at the time. “I said, ‘Tell him three words that’ll change his life: Let it go.’”

However, Spade admitted that he’d come to understand why the joke rubbed Murphy the wrong way in his 2015 memoir, Almost Interesting.

“A jab like the one I had directed at Eddie can be the thing that starts to turn public opinion against someone,” he wrote. “I try not to think of the casualties when I do rough jokes, but there are consequences sometimes. I know for a fact that I can’t take it when it comes my way. It’s horrible for all the same reasons. I’ve come to see Eddie’s point on this one. Everybody in showbiz wants people to like them. That’s how you get fans. But when you get reamed in a sketch or online or however, that s— staaaangs.”

Speaking with the Times, Murphy said he and Spade are now on good terms. “In the long run it’s all good, worked out great. I’m cool with David Spade, I’m cool with Lorne Michaels. I went back to SNL,” he said, referring to his appearance on the show’s 40th-anniversary special in 2015. “It’s all love, but I had a couple of cheap shots.”



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