‘I felt it was racist’: Eddie Murphy says David Spade made racist joke about him in 1995

News & Politics

Comedian Eddie Murphy said that he was subject to a lot of “cheap shots” in his career including racist treatment, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Murphy said it was a “whole different world” when he was popular in the ’80s; he was selling out arenas and starring in movies like “Beverly Hills Cop.”

The 63-year-old said that the press was “relentless” on him, and “a lot of it was racist stuff.”

“It was a whole different [time], there was no black Hollywood, there was no rappers … it was the ’80s, and it was just a whole different world,” Murphy told David Marchese from the New York Times.

Murphy explained that some of the negative press he received hurt his feelings, particularly a joke by comedian David Spade on “Saturday Night Live,” a show that Murphy notoriously revitalized during his tenure from 1980-1984.

“That hurt my feelings; that hurt my feelings like, you know when David Spade said that s*** about my career on ‘SNL.’ It was like ‘yo it’s in-house, I’m one of the family and you f***in’ with me like that?’ It hurt my feelings.”

‘I play all these different characters and that’s what you say about me?!’

“A couple of movies of yours flopped,” host Marchese attempted to recall on “The Interview” podcast.

“One movie,” Murphy interrupted. “‘Vampire in Brooklyn.’ It came came out, and it flopped, he showed a picture of me up on the news, and he said, ‘Hey everybody, catch a falling star!’ and it was like hold on, hold on, this is ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I’m the the biggest thing that ever came off that show. The show would have been off the air if I didn’t go back on the show.”

The 1995 joke in question by Spade was made during his “Hollywood Minute” segment where he said, “Look, children, it’s a falling star. Make a wish,” with a picture of Murphy on-screen.

“You got somebody on from the cast making a crack about my career, and I know that he can’t just say that,” Murphy continued. “A joke has to go through these channels. So, the producers thought it was okay to say that and all the people that have been on that show you never heard nobody make no joke about anybody’s career,” he went on.

“Most people that get off that show, they don’t go on to have these amazing careers; it was personal, it was like, ‘Yo, how could you do that to — what?! Ah! My career? Really? A joke about my career?!’ So, yeah I thought that was a cheap shot, and it was kind of racist. I felt it was racist.”

The “Coming to America” star said it “worked out great” in the long run, stating that he is on good terms with Spade and “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels.

Other examples Murphy gave of mistreatment in the press included him being misquoted in writing:

“Ronald Reagan was the president, and it was that America. You would do interviews and be like ‘I didn’t say that, I don’t talk that way.’ They would be writing it in this weird, ghetto … I don’t know what it I was.”

Murphy added that even black outlets that he thought would be on his side criticized him for “The Nutty Professor” movie.

“Even black folks, you get cheap shots from your people … I remember Ebony magazine instead of talking about the movie and my performance and all that they said ‘maybe there’ll come a day when a black man can play a professor and he doesn’t have to be nutty.’ I was like, what the f***?! That’s the review of my movie? That’s the review of that? I play all these different characters and that’s what you say about me, and it’s us, and it’s me?! Yeah, that hurt my feelings.”

The comedian spoke for about an hour on the podcast and is currently doing press for “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.”

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