David Spade Uncomfortably Revisits His Feud with Eddie Murphy
Eric André is an unusual choice for a guest on the SNL-themed Fly on the Wall podcast, mainly because he’s never appeared on the late-night sketch show. But no SNL stories of his own just freed the mischievous André to stir up shit with the hosts, David Spade and Dana Carvey. In particular, he was keen to learn more about Spade’s dustup with Eddie Murphy, despite Spade’s palpable discomfort around the subject.
The prodding started with André asking, “Who was the guy that would come into SNL, and you guys are all like, ‘Oh fuck, so-and-so’s here. It’s going to be a long, long week.’”
Carvey started with the usual stories about Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney or Paul Simon dropping by to see Lorne Michaels, but André soon lost interest and poked Spade instead. “Didn’t Eddie Murphy call you when you made fun of Boomerang one time?” he asked. “You go, ‘Oh look, a star has fallen,’ and Eddie Murphy hounded you for like a week.”
“That’s a sort of trimmed-down version,” Spade gulped, attempting to change the subject back. “I thought your question a minute ago is who kind of freaked you out if they came to the offices?”
But André didn’t let the Murphy story go: “Did you write that joke, or did somebody write that joke for you and you're like, ‘Don't shoot the messenger?’ How did you get out of it?”
The “don’t shoot the messenger” defense was a revelation to Spade. “I should have said that. I didn’t even think of saying that,” he marveled. Unfortunately, noted Carvey, the idea came a quarter-century too late to do Spade any good.
Here’s a less trimmed-down version of the spat from Spade’s memoir, Almost Interesting: “So I’m sitting in my dumpy office, and I realized that Eddie Murphy had put out two back-to-back flops,” he recalled about working on his “Hollywood Minute” bit on Weekend Update. Spade told the falling star joke, got “sort of a laugh” and forgot about it. At least until Monday afternoon when an NBC page told Spade that Murphy was on the phone for him.
“My heart stopped. WTF?”
Spade told the page to take a message, but Murphy kept calling back. When Spade offered that he was in a meeting, the page broke the bad news: “He says he knows you’re not in a meeting, because it’s 5:45 p.m. and the Monday host meeting is at 6 and it’s never on time. He says call him back right now, or he’s driving in from Brooklyn to talk to you in person.”
Spade had no choice but to call Murphy, who essentially ripped Spade a new one. “David Spade, who the fuck do you think you are?!! Honestly? Who. The. Fuck. Going after ME?? You dumb motherfucker! I’m off-limits, don’t you know that? You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me. Talking shit about me??”
Spade felt terrible — he’d worshipped Murphy, a bigger comedy star than he could ever hope to be. What else could he do? “I took my beating.”
Back to Eric André, who’s been known to make a famous person uncomfortable himself. “I’m just channeling my 13-year-old id when I’m razzing celebs on my show,” he said. “I’m not really making fun of celebrities.”
Finally, someone who got where Spade was coming from all along. “I was just making jokes!”
“It’s a joke,” agreed André, a man who understands such things. “It’s just a joke.”