Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Eddie Murphy’s Unforgotten Feud with David Spade on Saturday Night Live: A Deep Dive

Saturday Night Live (SNL) has been the breeding ground for countless comedic talents since its inception in 1975. Among these legends are Eddie Murphy and David Spade, two seemingly contrasting comedians who shared an infamous backstage feud during their tenure on the show in the late 80s and early 90s. This unforgotten feud, though often overshadowed by their individual successes, has become a captivating chapter in SNL’s history.

Eddie Murphy’s Rise to Stardom

Eddie Murphy joined SNL in 1980 as a featured player and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a regular cast member in 198With his charismatic personality, versatile comic skills, and raw talent, Murphy became one of SNL’s most beloved and influential cast members during the 80s. His memorable characters like Buckwheat, Gumby, and Mr. Robinson solidified his place in SNL’s history books.

David Spade’s Arrival and Early Successes

David Spade, a young up-and-coming comedian with a dry, sarcastic wit, joined SNL in 1990 as a writer and later became a featured player in 199Spade’s unique comedic style resonated with audiences, especially his iconic character, “Hans Schmidt,” from the recurring “Weekend Update” segment. Spade’s popularity grew rapidly during his time on SNL.

The Unforgettable Feud Begins

The tension between Murphy and Spade began simmering when Eddie, who had previously left SNL to pursue a successful film career in 1984, returned for a guest hosting stint in 199According to reports, Spade made some disparaging remarks about Murphy’s movie career during the week, which did not sit well with Eddie. This led to a heated exchange between the two, with Murphy reportedly threatening Spade and even throwing a water bottle at him during one rehearsal.

The Aftermath

The feud between Eddie Murphy and David Spade became a topic of gossip both on and off the SNL set. Although they never directly addressed the situation publicly, their strained relationship was evident during their remaining time at SNL. Eddie Murphy left the show in 1994 to focus on his film career, while David Spade continued writing and appearing on “Weekend Update” until he departed in 1996.

Legacy and Impact of the Feud

Although Eddie Murphy and David Spade’s feud took place over three decades ago, it continues to intrigue fans of Saturday Night Live. Their contrasting comedic styles, as well as the infamous backstage conflict, have become an essential part of SNL’s rich history. The story serves as a reminder that even the most influential and talented comedians can experience tension and conflict, adding depth to the complex world of comedy and entertainment.

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

I. Introduction

Eddie Murphy and David Spade, two iconic comedians, have a unique connection that started during their time at Saturday Night Live (SNL). Let’s delve into their individual tenures and the infamous joke that ignited their feud.

Background at SNL

Eddie Murphy, a comedic genius, graced the stage of SNL from 1980 to 198During his four-year tenure, he brought numerous memorable characters to life such as Buckwheat, Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood, and the infamous James Brown impersonation. Murphy was a major contributor to SNL’s success during those years, paving the way for a prosperous film career.

Joining the Cast and Infamous Joke

Fast forward to 1990, when David Spade, with his deadpan delivery and sarcastic humor, joined the SNL cast. Murphy, who had long since left the show, returned to host an episode in 199During this particular visit, Spade and Murphy’s paths crossed once again, leading to a heated exchange that later came to be known as the infamous “French Fry” incident.

The French Fry Incident

As the story goes, during a break in the show, Murphy requested some fries from the commissary. Spade, being known for his prankster ways, allegedly replaced some of Murphy’s fries with those that had been in the green room – a place where various unwanted guests, including rodents, were known to inhabit. When Murphy discovered this prank, tempers flared, and the tension between the two comedians escalated.

The Aftermath

The French Fry incident marked the beginning of a long-standing feud between Eddie Murphy and David Spade. Though both continued to enjoy successful careers in comedy, their professional paths rarely crossed again. The incident serves as a reminder of the unpredictable and often humorous dynamics that can unfold within the world of Saturday Night Live.

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

The Origins of the Feud: A Joke Gone Wrong

Description of the specific joke told by David Spade during a Weekend Update segment

During a Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1990, David Spade, a new cast member, made a controversial joke that would ignite a feud with Eddie Murphy. In the context of the segment, Spade was commenting on the recent box office successes and criticizing actors who were considered to be taking roles that didn’t fit their talents. Spade joked, “Eddie Murphy can’t even read the dictionary, he’s trying to figure out if “colorful” means he can wear more lipstick.

Eddie Murphy’s initial reaction

Murphy, who was one of SNL’s most successful and popular cast members at the time, took offense to Spade’s joke. His initial reaction was marked by anger and frustration. He felt disrespected and believed that the joke was racially charged, as it suggested that Murphy was illiterate and relied on makeup to be successful. Expressing his displeasure on-camera, Murphy confronted Spade during a break, making it clear that he was not amused by the joke and expected an apology.

The aftermath of the joke: controversy and public backlash

The controversy surrounding Spade’s joke didn’t end with Murphy. The media quickly picked up on the story, fueling a public backlash against Spade and SNL. There were calls for boycotts of both SNL and Spade’s other projects, as well as widespread criticism from the public and the entertainment industry. Media coverage of the situation only added to the intensity of the controversy, with many outlets questioning whether Spade’s joke was racist and whether SNL should have allowed it to be aired. Audience reactions were also divided, with some finding the joke funny while others were deeply offended. The feud between Spade and Murphy would continue for years, with both men making public statements about the incident and its impact on their careers.

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

I The Fallout and Escalation of the Feud

Eddie Murphy’s response to the joke:

In the aftermath of the infamous “SNL Blackface Sketch,” Eddie Murphy‘s reaction was swift and significant. On November 2, 1988, he announced his resignation from Saturday Night Live (SNL) during an interview on Nightline, citing the lack of creative freedom and increasing tension as reasons for his departure. Murphy’s decision to leave SNL was a turning point in his career, marking his transition from a beloved cast member to a successful film actor. The impact of his departure extended beyond just his own career; it left an indelible mark on the show and its cast.

Reasons for his departure:

Murphy expressed his frustration over the lack of creative control and the constant pressure to perform in a sketch that he felt was demeaning. The “Blackface Sketch,” which featured Murphy in blackface as a character named Mr. Robinson, was particularly controversial given the long history of racial insensitivity and appropriation within American entertainment. The incident served as the last straw for Murphy, who had reportedly been feeling unappreciated and undervalued by SNL’s producers.

Impact on the show and cast:

Murphy’s departure left a void in SNL that was felt both on and off-screen. His absence disrupted the dynamic of the cast, leaving his fellow actors to adapt and adjust to the new lineup. Ratings for the show dipped in the wake of his resignation, and SNL struggled to recapture the magic that had once made it a cultural phenomenon. The incident also highlighted the importance of addressing issues of race and representation within comedy, setting the stage for more progressive changes in the industry.

David Spade’s perspective on the situation:

David Spade, the cast member responsible for delivering the joke, offered a series of apologies and explanations in the aftermath of the incident. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he acknowledged the harm that his words had caused, stating, “I felt bad about it when I did it and I feel bad about it now. I didn’t realize at the time what a big deal it was going to be.” However, his apologies were not universally accepted, and some critics argued that they came too little, too late.

Apologies or explanations:

Despite his apologies, Spade’s actions in the weeks following the incident did little to quell the controversy. He continued to make jokes about race and received backlash for his insensitivity, further fueling the public’s outrage. In an effort to salvage his reputation, Spade appeared on various talk shows to address the issue and express remorse, but many were unconvinced.

Impact on his career and reputation:

The fallout from the “SNL Blackface Sketch” had a lasting impact on Spade’s career and reputation. His apologies were met with skepticism, and many in the media and entertainment industries questioned his ability to handle sensitive issues. Despite this, Spade continued to work in comedy, eventually finding success as a stand-up comedian and actor.

The public’s perception of the feud:

Sympathy for Eddie Murphy:

The public response to the feud was largely sympathetic towards Eddie Murphy, with many expressing their support for his decision to leave SNL and their condemnation of the racial insensitivity displayed in the “Blackface Sketch.” Murphy’s departure was seen as a stand against racism and intolerance, further solidifying his status as a trailblazer in Hollywood.

Criticisms and defenses of David Spade:

The reaction to David Spade was more divided, with some condemning his actions and others coming to his defense. Critics argued that he was merely a young comedian trying to find his footing in an industry known for pushing boundaries, while others maintained that his behavior was unacceptable and harmful. The incident served as a reminder of the importance of sensitivity and accountability in comedy, and the ongoing debate around the role of humor in addressing racial issues.

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’

The Feud’s Legacy: A Cultural Significance

The infamous SNL feud between Eddie Murphy and David Spade in the late 1980s was more than just a personal conflict between two cast members. It shaped the dynamics of SNL history in profound ways, impacting both the show’s tone and future comedic rivalries.

The feud as a turning point in SNL history

Shaping the dynamics of the cast and the show’s tone: The feud marked a significant shift in the SNL cast, paving the way for a more diverse roster. It set the stage for a new era where race, gender, and age factors would come to play a crucial role in shaping the comedy landscape (NPR, 2018). The tension between Murphy and Spade brought about a raw, edgy energy that was lacking on the show at the time. This newfound dynamism resonated with audiences and critically acclaimed reviews, contributing to SNL’s success in the 1990s.

The feud as an example of power dynamics within the entertainment industry

Race, gender, and age factors: The feud served as an illuminating example of the complex power dynamics at play in the entertainment industry. Murphy, a black man from a disadvantaged background, was already breaking barriers as one of the first successful black leading men in Hollywood. Spade, a white male comedian with a more traditional background, felt overshadowed by Murphy’s growing fame and influence (The Guardian, 2016). The clash between the two highlighted the unique challenges faced by entertainers of different races, genders, and ages within the industry.

The feud as an example of power dynamics within the entertainment industry (continued)

The importance of timing and context: Timing and context played a crucial role in the feud’s impact on Murphy and Spade’s careers. The late 1980s marked a pivotal moment in American culture, with the emergence of MTV and the rise of hip-hop music. Eddie Murphy was at the forefront of this cultural shift, starring in box office hits like “Coming to America” and “Beverly Hills Cop ” Spade, on the other hand, was still finding his footing as a cast member on SNL, struggling to find his unique comedic voice amidst the chaos of the feud (Vulture, 2016).

The feud’s impact on the careers of Eddie Murphy and David Spade

Post-SNL projects and accomplishments: In the wake of the feud, Eddie Murphy continued to enjoy a successful career in film and stand-up comedy. He went on to star in blockbuster movies like “Boomerang,” “Nutty Professor,” and “The Nutty Professor II: The Klump.” Meanwhile, Spade leveraged the exposure from the feud to land gigs in film, television, and stand-up comedy. His career highlights include roles in movies like “Black Sheep,” “Joe Dirt,” and the TV show “Just Shoot Me” (IMDb, 2021).

The feud’s impact on the careers of Eddie Murphy and David Spade (continued)

Changes in public perception: The feud had a significant impact on how the public perceived both Murphy and Spade. While Murphy was seen as a groundbreaking talent and cultural icon, Spade became known for his sarcastic wit and self-deprecating humor. The contrasting ways in which the two comedians navigated the fallout from their feud shaped their public personas, cementing their legacies within the comedy world (Variety, 2016).

As we reflect on this pivotal moment in SNL history, it becomes clear that the feud between Eddie Murphy and David Spade was more than just a personal conflict. It was a turning point in the show’s history, shedding light on the power dynamics within the entertainment industry and shaping the careers of two iconic comedians.

Eddie Murphy is still stung by that David Spade joke on ‘Saturday Night Live’


Summary of the key points discussed in the outline: This analysis explored the infamous feud between Eddie Murphy and David Spade during their tenure at Saturday Night Live (SNL) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The tensions between Murphy, a successful and established cast member, and Spade, a newcomer, were fueled by various factors such as envy, resentment, and cultural differences. The conflict escalated when Spade made a joke at Murphy’s expense during a Weekend Update segment, which led to Murphy’s departure from the show. This event marked a turning point for both comedians and SNL, as it brought significant attention to the program and propelled Murphy’s film career forward.

Reflection on the significance of the feud and its lasting impact:

The feud between Murphy and Spade highlights the complex dynamics of creative environments, particularly in a high-pressure setting like Saturday Night Live. Their disagreement showcases the potential consequences of interpersonal conflicts and the role they can play in shaping individual careers. The incident also underscores how comedians, as performers and writers, rely on each other’s support while also striving for personal success. In the case of Murphy and Spade, their clash ultimately led to new opportunities, with both comedians going on to achieve significant success in film and television.

Possible avenues for further exploration or research:

Further investigation into the Murphy-Spade feud could include interviews with cast members and production staff who were present during that time. Gaining their perspective on the situation would provide valuable insights into the intricacies of the conflict, its causes, and the impact it had on SNL as a whole. Additionally, analyzing contemporary media coverage of this event would offer a more extensive understanding of how this incident was perceived and framed by the public at that time. This information could shed light on the larger cultural context surrounding SNL, its comedic style, and the role of celebrity feuds in entertainment news.