Lorne Michaels Admits Infamous SNL Eddie Murphy Crack Was a Mistake

On Tuesday, Martin Short interviewed Lorne Michaels. It happened right here in Lalaland at the Beverly Hilton, as part of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s ongoing “newsmakers” luncheon series.

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Since FishbowlLA will go to its grave wondering how spectacular the 2011 Oscars might have been if Eddie Murphy had remained at the host-helm, we couldn’t help but zero in on the last paragraph of a report by senior Hollywood Reporter TV writer Lacey Rose:

Michaels confessed that he had made that mistake [making fun of one of “his own”] years earlier with former cast member Eddie Murphy, who at that time had had a string of box office disappointments. Though SNL had stayed away from some of Murphy’s more personal stumbles, he and his writers had David Spade take a [“Hollywood Minute”] jab at his professional fumble. “I figured it was kind of a clean hit. I didn’t really think about it; but Eddie did,” he said to big laughs…

Hmmm. To all those big laughers in the audience, think for a moment how you would feel if your current employer broadcast, tweeted or Facebooked – after you departed the ranks – how lame your script coverage/Excel spreadsheets/etc. were. Not so funny now, huh?

Murphy was absolutely right to be pissed, though he perhaps went a bit overboard in how he expressed those hurt feelings. And it’s good of Michaels to admit all these years later, when he really does not have to, that it was a dumb sketch move.

In case you’ve forgotten, below is some hilarious, mimicked audio from SNL’s Jim Breuer recounting how it all went down.

Update (February 23, 2015):
Following SNL:40, Spade headed to Las Vegas to perform with Ray Romano. During a radio interview, he mentioned that at the anniversary show, he and Murphy connected. From a report by Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke:

“He [Murphy] did come up to me after rehearsal the first night. We had a cocktail party, and he said, ‘Hi.’ I’d seen him once before that and he was nice and I said, ‘Are we all good?’ And he said yes. So he knows I was just doing what I had to do to get on the show. We’re both sorta different people now. I don’t know. He’s done jokes like that.”

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.