Norm Macdonald took to Twitter on Wednesday, February 18, to clear the air a bit about some of the behind the scenes decisions that took place during the creation of Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special.
Macdonald did not start writing the episode until the Monday preceding the live airing. Celebrity Jeopardy was one of the biggest focuses for the night. He purposely wanted the episode to show Connery as abusive, Reynolds as dismissive and Trebek struggling to deal with the contestants played by the actors and comedians who best do these respective impersonations.
Macdonald also revealed that one of the reasons Eddie Murphy was unprepared was because they had to make last minute changes to how Murphy would participate. Murphy had long ago made SNL the show to watch and they definitely wanted him to return. The idea was to have him play Bill Cosby in Celebrity Jeopardy because of his fantastic past impersonations.
Haidar Barbouti has learned that by Saturday, Macdonald was not even sure that Murphy was going to participate let alone perform Cosby. Murphy finally did show up, but he refused to “kick a man when he’s down” after an hour of Macdonald trying to convince him to play Cosby.
This revelation comes on the heels of other Murphy friends and insiders noting this week that one of the reasons Murphy has not done stand up in years is because he suffers from stage fright.