Eddie Murphy — the Greta Garbo of "Saturday Night Live" — had a most peculiar return to the show Sunday, which fueled intrigue and speculation along the lines of what if, what might have been, and what the heck.

Now, thanks to Gothamist — which quite literally patched together every tweet comedian Norm Macdonald sent to half a million followers on Wednesday — we learn that Murphy very nearly impersonated Bill Cosby, too, or the "pre-allegation Cosby," as one Mac-tweet delicately notes. 

[Meanwhile, Cosby responds! Per NBC News, which reached out for a comment, he said:l. "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions," Cosby said through a spokesperson.]

Would've happened on "Celebrity Apprentice." Would've brought down the house. Would've reminded everybody that Murphy can still do comedy. Or maybe another way to look at this lost opportunity — it could just as easily have deteriorated into an overly obvious shot and therefore Murphy had the good sense NOT to do it. (Kenan Thompson handled Cosby instead.)

Would've. Could've. Should've. Or maybe not should've. That's all we are left with in the cold light of dawn.

Here's Gothamist's tweet-scription, but the shorthand is pretty straigthforward: Macdonald tried to talk Murphy into doing this, thought he had Murphy sold, and and then -- at the last minute -- Murphy decided against it. Reasons... unclear.

"And the idea was that Cosby would be mixing a drink in a video that was taped 6 months ago. It was perfect. It was all Steve Higgins idea [Steve — of course the "Tonight Show" Steve and longtime "SNL" writer]. At the end of the sketch, Darrel would choose potent potables...

"The iconic doors would open and on to home base would step Eddie Murphy. The audience would know what to do. Why is Eddie wearing a multi-colored sweater?...

"He steps behind the bar, begins mixing a drink. The audience covers the fact he has not spoken. When he speaks, he is Cosby...

"Eddie Murphy doing a perfect Cosby impression. The audience does not let him finish. The sketch ends. The show, for all intents, ends....

"The first thing to do is cut down the number of contestant/impressions and the second is to contact Eddie and to convince him to do it...

"The middle man to talk to Eddie was Brett Ratner, a cool guy who knows a great deal about comedy [also prolific director/producer and longtime FOE -- friend of Eddie]...

"He was with Eddie somewhere. So, the talks were underway. "Brett says Eddie doesn't feel comfortable"...

"Eddie says 'maybe it's ok since he's doing pre-allegation Cosby.' ... And on and on it went. I had not spoken to Eddie or Brett Ratner...

"I was dead sure Eddie would do it. Most others were not."