Here’s What Caused the Long War Between Eddie Murphy and David Spade

In a new book, Spade breaks down their decades-long feud.

Eddie Murphy can really hold a grudge. In his forthcoming memoir, Almost Interesting, David Spade discusses that time his reading a joke about Murphy’s career trajectory on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” earned a verbal ass-whipping from the comedy legend and fellow SNL alum.

According to Perez Hilton, who appears to have gotten an advance look at the manuscript, the joke that frosted Murphy was told during a segment in which Spade riffed on celebrities. And to be honest, it does seem a little cold: Murphy’s face was flashed on-screen and Spade smirked, “Look, children! It’s a falling star. Make a wish.”

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Murphy was not happy. Hilton quotes from the memoir:

“David Spade, who the f*ck do you think you are?!! Honestly? Who. The. F*ck. Going after ME?? You dumb m*therf*cker! I’m off-limits, don’t you know that? You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me. Talking sh*t about me?”

It’s not easy to remember someone’s exact words decades later, but it sure easy to imagine hearing that smackdown in Murphy’s distinctive voice.

As Murphy acknowledged in a Rolling Stone interview, he ended up coming to terms with it. “I don’t hate David Spade,” he said, “I’m cool with him.” 

For his part, Spade writes in his memoir that he eventually understood why Murphy had been so hurt, writing that “when you get reamed in a sketch or online or however,” it’s painful.

“And it can add up quickly,” Spade continues. “Then before you know it you’re a punch line—just look at Vanilla Ice and five hundred million others. Eddie was mad. No one had dared go after him. And he wanted it to stop there.”

The real feud, it sounds like, was between Murphy and the show that gave him his start in show business — and that he wound up saving from a close brush with late-night death. If it’s true that the shade in Spade’s sketch originated with the show’s writers, that might explain why Murphy had no interest in going along with the writers’ plans for the show’s 40th anniversary special.

We’re glad to see things are good between Spade and Murphy now, but we won’t be looking for any kind of Joe Dirt meets The Nutty Professor mash-ups anytime soon.

Photos by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty