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The 'Racist' SNL Joke That Ruined Eddie Murphy & David Spade's Relationship

"Saturday Night Live" has featured many controversial sketches and jokes over the decades, some of which have stirred up real-life drama. In 1995, Eddie Murphy took offense to a joke David Spade made about his horror movie flop "Vampire in Brooklyn," in which the latter insinuated that the movie killed Murphy's career. "Look, children, it's a falling star. Make a wish," Spade said while showing a photo of the "SNL" alum. Let's just say that Murphy didn't see the funny side, as he felt the bit was racially insensitive.

While speaking to The New York Times, Murphy explained that the joke caused a rift between him and Spade. Furthermore, he felt that he was being attacked by a show he helped popularize. "Most people that get off that show, they don't go on and have these amazing careers. It was personal. It was like, 'Yo, how could you do that?' My career? Really? A joke about my career? So I thought that was a cheap shot. And it was kind of, I thought — I felt it was racist."

"Vampire in Brooklyn" certainly isn't one of Eddie Murphy's biggest movies of all time, but the comedian nonetheless took the joke about his career rather personally. That said, Spade also understands why "The Nutty Professor" star reacted negatively to the "SNL" bit.

David Spade recalls Eddie Murphy's reaction to the joke

David Spade discussed Eddie Murphy's reaction to the joke in his memoir, "David Spade is Almost Interesting." The "Tommy Boy" star noted that Murphy called his office and chewed him out afterward, claiming that he was responsible for Spade's success. Rather than pouring more fuel on the fire, the "SNL" alum tried to understand the situation from Murphy's point of view.

"I've come to see Eddie's point on this one," Spade wrote. "Everybody in showbiz wants people to like them. That's how you get fans. But when you get reamed in a sketch or online or however, that s**t staaaangs. And it can add up quickly."

Fortunately, the joke didn't have any real weight to it. Murphy's career bounced back strongly following "Vampire in Brooklyn," as he's continued to star in some of the best comedy movies of all time and is still going strong in 2024 thanks to "Beverly Hills Cop 4: Axel F." It's just a shame that one silly "SNL" joke led to a fractured relationship between the actor and one of his Hollywood peers.