Sunday night, thanks to a Game Six win by the Cubs, Bill Murray showed up to accept the Mark Twain Award at the Kennedy Center. It’s the top comedy honor a performer can receive in the United States. His beloved Cubs had already secured the pennant, leaving him free to enjoy the evening’s honors, but Murray made it very clear that “If the Cubs hadn’t won [Saturday] night, I would have had to be there. Because honestly, I do not trust the media to report the story.”
Of course we weren’t there, but there were reports that Murray showed up wearing a “Chicago Cub blue” bow tie to accept his award. And if you’re wondering how Murray handled being ‘honored’, according to reports, he immediately handed his award to someone in the front row to “pass around.” He also admitted to being uncomfortable with all the accolades and called the evening’s events a squirm-a-thon.
Some of the presenters at the Kennedy Center included Aziz Ansari, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Kimmel (in a wig channeling Jason Schwartzman) Ivan Reitman, and long time close friends Steve Martin and David Letterman. Well, as of close friends as anyone can be considering Murray’s odd ways- a fact which Martin alluded to in his videotaped segment. In fact, most of the presenters ribbed Murray about his unusual qualities including that he has no agent, no publicist, and is notoriously difficult to reach.
The highlights of the night, according to media reports were a touching tribute by a very beardy David Letterman, and Murray’s own nod to older brother Brian Doyle-Murray who joined Second City first, blazing the path for Bill to follow. “The only reason I’m here is because of the guts of my brother Brian,” Murray said to loud applause. “He’s been waiting a long time to hear that.”
Of course you don’t need us to tell you that Murray is a legend for his tenure at Saturday Night Live, a slew of brilliant movies, his love of the Cubs, golf, and of course his mythical penchant to make unexpected public appearances.
The Mark Twain prize honors those who have made significant contributions to humor in the tradition of writer and satirist Mark Twain. Past recipients have included Richard Pryor, who won the very first award in 1998, Carl Reiner, Bob Newhart, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Jay Leno and last year, Eddie Murphy.
The event was taped and will broadcast this Friday October 28th on PBS, check your local listings for channels and times.