Eddie Murphy Recalls Bill Cosby Viewing Him As Threat In Comedy

Bill Cosby

Comedian Eddie Murphy claims Bill Cosby viewed him as a “threat” in the comedy space and “gave him a hard time” in the 80s.

On a recent episode of The New York Times‘ The Interview podcast, host David Marchese asked Murphy if it was true that late comedian Richard Pryor once gave him a “hard time” early in his career.

“No he didn’t. When did Richard Pryor give me a hard time?” the Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F actor responded, adding, “Bill Cosby gave me a hard time.”

Murphy said it is a “myth” that he and Pryor — who died in 2005 at age 65 and costarred with Murphy in 1989’s Harlem Nights — “didn’t get along.” Meanwhile, according to Murphy, Cosby, now 86, claimed to take issue with “language” Murphy used in his routines.

“Language was the way he could come at it,” said Murphy. “It wasn’t so much language; it was the times that we were in. This is back when it was, you know, one Black person at a time was getting in the mix.”

“When I come on the scene, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby were like, ‘Oh, this is the new s— that’s coming up?’ If there’s a new thing coming on, that’s a threat to whatever their thing is,” explained Murphy. “That’s what Bill Cosby had.”

Bill Cosby Stand Up in 1964

The actor said Pryor, though, “could look at me and see I was, ‘Oh, he’s my reflection, and that kid’s trying to be like me.’ So he wasn’t threatened. Bill Cosby was like, ‘Is this the new way it’s gonna be now? They’re gonna be onstage grabbing their d— and talking all crazy?’ So he could come at me with ‘Oh, the language!’ when it was more: ‘It’s one at a time, and is this the new guy who’s gonna knock me out of the spot?’ That’s what was going on back then.”

Eddie Murphy The Big Laff Off Stand Up in 1981

To Murphy, he didn’t see the comedy landscape like that at the time. He said on the podcast, “They were competitive in that respect. I wasn’t even thinking about them like that — I was puppy-dogging both of them when I met them.”