Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Eddie Murphy accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and for the first time in 28 years, told jokes on stage. At the event, according to The Washington Post and other news outlets, Murphy joked at length about Bill Cosby, and even did an impression. Murphy had recently refused to participate in a sketch mocking Cosby during the SNL 40 celebration even though he admitted that the sketch was funny. Murphy said in an interview last week that he had refused to participate in the sketch about Cosby for SNL because, “if you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people. You’re hurting him. You’re hurting his accusers.” He must have had a change of heart though, because Sunday night he told jokes, did an impression and made cracks about Hannibal Buress, drugging women, and the fact that Cosby was a prior recipient of the Mark Twain award.
Scores of comedians came out to honor Murphy as an American Comedy Icon, and watch him break his 28 year sabbatical from stand up, including Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, Arsenio Hall, Jay Pharoah, Kathy Griffin, Joe Piscopo, Trevor Noah, Kevin Nealon and Tracy Morgan. Morgan who called Murphy his comedic hero, received a standing ovation.
The prize honors those who have made significant contributions to humor in the tradition of writer and satirist Mark Twain. Past recipients of the prize 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 and most recently Jay Leno.
The tribute will be televised on November 23 on PBS.
Eddie Murphy working the red carpet before racing to the theater at Kennedy Center for his Mark Twain Prize. pic.twitter.com/5IGgWFOrYX
— Judy Kurtz (@JudyKurtz) October 19, 2015