Eddie Murphy was slated to do a Bill Cosby impression during "Saturday Night Live's" 40th-anniversary show, but turned down the gig at the last minute so as not to "kick" the embattled comedian "when he was down," another former "SNL" member revealed Wednesday.

Cosby thanked his fellow comedian for turning down the role, his spokesman told NBC News, "I am very appreciate of Eddie and I applaud his actions."

Murphy was expected to play Cosby during a "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skit with the category "Potent Potables" alluding to allegations Cosby spiked women's drinks and raped them, Norm Macdonald tweeted. But Sunday, the day of the show, Murphy backed out.

"He knew the laughs would bring the house down. Eddie Murphy knows what will work on 'SNL' better than anyone," Macdonald tweeted. "Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down."

Kenan Thompson wound up playing Cosby, and Murphy made a brief, awkward appearance on the special without cracking any jokes.

Click for more from the New York Post.