Murphy, returning to host the sketch show for the first time in 35 years, took a shot at Cosby in his opening monologue, joking, “If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have took that bet.”
Then, imitating Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show character once known as America’s Dad), Murphy quipped, “Who is America’s Dad now?”
In a statement posted to Cosby’s official social media on Sunday, the former comedian’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt slammed Murphy for joking about the convicted sex offender.
“Mr. Cosby broke color barriers in the Entertainment Industry, so that Blacks like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and et al., could have an opportunity to showcase their talents for many generations to come,” he 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.”
Wyatt went on to accuse Murphy of contributing to “the destruction of Black Men in Hollywood” before inviting the actor to a “meeting of the minds” to uplift black people.
In September 2018, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison — five months after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee in 2004. Cosby’s conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault came after Andrea Constand claimed Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in his home. His defense denied the accusations, as well as similar allegations made against him by more than 60 women.
Wyatt has previously said that Cosby faced “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States,” likening it to when “they persecuted Jesus.”
In his heyday, the family-friendly Cosby was a staunch critic of Murphy’s profanity-laced act, a fact the latter often lampooned in comedy specials like 1987’s Eddie Murphy Raw. As Cosby continues to serve his sentence, Murphy is earning Oscar buzz for his role in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name.
See Murphy’s joke about Cosby during his SNL monologue below: